Mid race incident ends Stoner Car Cares AMR efforts at Laguna Seca

Monday, September 13, 2021

A promising weekend came to an abrupt halt for the Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing team in Saturday’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120, as a mid-race incident ended the day early in Round 8 of the Michelin Pilot Challenge (MPC) season.

The team came into the weekend with an all new driver lineup - Weiron Tan (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) and Anderson Tanoto (Jakarta, Indonesia) behind the wheel of the iconic No. 99 Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
Tan, 26, has extensive sports car and open-wheel experience in Europe, Asia and the United Sates, and is the co-founder of Motorsport Services AMR Asia Ltd, the official Aston Martin racing representative and exclusive distributor in Asia. Tanoto, 32, began his racing career in 2018 and has competed in competed in several Asian sports car series. With the global pandemic affecting racing series across the globe, neither driver had raced in nearly a year ahead of their MPC debuts.
Tan competed at WeatherTech Raceway in the Road to Indy junior open wheel series in 2015, so the team focused on getting Tanoto familiar with not only on the track’s tricky 2.238-mile, 11-turn configuration, but the Aston Martin GT4 and Michelin tire as well. Tanoto took the wheel for qualifying and placed the Aston Martin in the 15th starting position in the Grand Sport (GS) class.
“Anderson really stepped up to the plate and took a good swing at it,” said Automatic Racing team manager David Russell. “He set a personal best through the three sessions right there at the end. Both drivers have done an impressive job really attacking the weekend, given the steep learning curve.”
“We’re feeling good to be back in it after a long break, of course we’ll try to push for the best results possible,” said Tan. “But for now, I’m enjoying every single moment of it.”
Tanoto began flexing the Aston Martin’s muscles at the drop of the green, including putting a wheel in the dirt while making a move for position in Turn 11 on the first lap. Into 13th by lap three, Tanoto continued on a steady pace, easily holding his own in a pack of drivers with far more experience on the challenging track. When a full course caution flew just over 45 minutes into the race, he dove into pit lane for fuel, tires and a change to Tan.
Once the field sorting itself out after pit stops, Tan took the restart in 16th position, making a move into 15th at the drop of the green. But on the second lap of green, Tan came together with a competitor going up the hill into turn one, flattening his left rear tire and causing left rear suspension damage that ended the day with the team in 20th position. 
While disappointed with the outcome, both team and drivers came away from the weekend with a positive outlook and a determination to work together again.
“The car was great,” said Tanoto. “Clearly, the Aston Martin really excels. Unfortunately, we had that incident but that’s racing – the highs are high and the lows are low. But I really enjoyed the weekend. IMSA is a special place, and the series is so competitive. It’s all “elbows out” racing and we enjoyed that. We’ll definitely be back!”
“The weekend started off so well, it’s disappointing to have the race end that way,” said Tan. “I need to see the replay but I feel as though there was no room for the other car there. I defended my line on the front straight, and the track tightens going up the hill, I would have thought he would back off and not try to make it up the inside going into turn one. He hit the wall and bounced into us. It was really unfortunate, because we had such great race pace. The cars ahead were really stacked up and I think the cards were in our favor to play. But Anderson drove an excellent first stint, I wish we’d had a better outcome to show for it.”
“We had a tremendous amount of fun with those guys this weekend,” said Russell. “They’re an exciting group to have around, especially with the group of fans that came to see them race. We merged them into the team quite well and we’d love to have them back at some point. The car was quite good, they were quite happy with it, which is great considering how difficult it can be to nail the setup here. They’re part of the Aston Martin family and they did a great job – they’re bright guys, they studied up ahead of time, asked good questions and went into the race quite confident. We’re extremely disappointed that it didn’t work out in the end.”

Source material - Stoner Car Care
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