This past weekend GRIIIP engineers Gil Zakay, Gilad Agam and Tom Schuster and drivers Yarin Stern and Miguel Matos flew into Austin Texas for the Sports Car Club of America’s (SCCA) Super Tour event hosted by The Circuit of Americas. Everyone expected a solid week of race prep and competitive racing. What was unexpected was the gamut of weather that Texas would provide!
Two days before, race prep was underway! The sounds of machinery filled AF1 Racing’s service department, the large area acting as a surgical center for two partially disassembled race cars. Surrounding the cars were GRIIIP engineers and AF1 Racing’s owners. The work space is complex and chaotic but progress was made as the cars were corner balanced, aligned and camber set.
On Thursday the cars were taken to Circuit of the Americas, where GRIIIP ran a 2:08.65 last time out. The air was a crisp 24 degrees Celsius as the cars warmed up. Drivers Stern and Matos climbed aboard and began to make a few laps before adjustments were made. As the day continued the temperature dropped, requiring adjustments to the aero and ride height in an effort to provide more downforce for the cold tires.
The cold would not relinquish its hold on the track for the next few days as temperatures settled in at 2 degrees Celsius. The drivers fought not only to stay warm themselves, but to keep heat in the tires. The freezing weather didn’t dampen Friday’s performance as Stern was able to click off a 2:09.2 and Matos was not far behind with a 2:12.2. They earned the P1 and P2 in their group and P5 and P9 on the starting grid.
Saturday’s temperatures hovered around freezing, but with the added joy of rain. Since the forecast for the actual race was also rain, the drivers decided to use this as a practice time. Hoosier wet tires were added and Matos managed a time of 2:22.8. Stern managed a 2:24.4 through the tricky terrain.
The start of the race was also the start of more rainfall as drivers attempted to get any heat at all into their tires. Matos’ run was short lived as a Prototype 1 car lost its rear end on turn one of lap one and ricocheted off Matos’ front wheels. The crash caused a bend in front suspension that would later be finished off by uneven payment along the back straightaway. Stern stayed in the fight and managed to go from 5th place on grid to 1st on podium winning not only his class but the overall win beating out Formula Atlantic and Prototype 1 drivers alike!
“The race itself was amazing,” Stern said. “I really love the circuit. I started fifth and had a very nice fight with the Formula Atlantic car [Flinn Lazier] overtook him and managed the tires from there.” Once again GRIIIP has proven their ability to produce a world class racecar!
Author: James Elkins
Editor: Kate Callard