Lawson Aschenbach believes that Lone Star Racing is “primed” for success in the team’s comeback to IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition.
Aschenbach has joined forces with Gar Robinson for a five-race program in the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3, which returns to GT Daytona class competition for the first time in more than a year.
It comes amid the debut of the new-for-2019 IMSA WeatherTech Cup, which encompasses all of the two-hour and 40-minute, as well as the 100-minute Detroit race, on the GTD calendar.
For Aschenbach, whose two full-season sports car programs did not continue into this year, it resulted in a challenging off-season in attempting to return to the wheel on a regular basis.
He said his past connections from the SRO Motorsports America paddock helped put this new deal in motion.
“I know Gar from World Challenge and had gotten to know their guys, along with John Donavan as well,” Aschenbach told Sportscar365.
“We always kept the lines open and had been talking and this thing came about, it seemed like a great opportunity for all of us.
“I was looking for a seat and Gar was looking for some endurance experience, especially in IMSA. All the pieces fit together.
“I think it’s going to be a good program.
“We’re really impressed with [team manager] AJ Peterson and this whole Lone Star program.”
Aschenbach and Robinson got their first laps in the Mercedes GT3 in a test at MSR Dallas last month and walked away with a positive feeling for both the team and car.
The four-time World Challenge champion likened it to the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R he drove in Pirelli GT4 America competition, a series that Robinson currently still participates in, and ironically with the same Pratt & Miller-built car.
“The [Mercedes] itself is a blast to drive,” Aschenbach said. “It’s a new car for both of us; we haven’t driven this GT3 car. But it actually brings me back to a lot of the stuff I’ve done with GM.
“It’s a front-engined race car and handles very similar to those. So I know felt right at home right away.
“Everything back from the [Pontiac] GXP.R, the Cadillac and a lot of the Pratt & Miller stuff, it’s kind of got that feel to me.
“I think I took to it pretty fast and Gar did as well. I think we’re primed to do very well.
“The important thing is this first weekend is to really just get everybody together.
“We have a lot to learn. A lot of these guys have been racing the last couple months already and have a lot of experience so we have a lot of catching up to do.
“But I know we can do it. We just have to keep our head down, push forward, and I think we’ll be alright.”
Full Sprint Cup Campaign Not Ruled Out
While confirmed for all but the Lime Rock Park and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Sprint Cup rounds, Aschenbach said they haven’t completely ruled out contesting the entire schedule if they emerge in championship contention.
The rounds at Mid-Ohio, Detroit and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park all preceded Lime Rock, which is the first race its slated to miss.
“We’re taking our time right now and will see what happens and we’ll go from there,” Aschenbach said.