No. 80 ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Team Brings Pole-Winning and Double-Podium Momentum to Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Weekend at VIR
– Mike Skeen and Scott Heckert Co-Drive No. 80 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 on VIRginia International Raceway “Home Track”
– Duo Coming Off of Dual-Podium and Pole-Winning Performance One Race ago at Circuit of The Americas
– Skeen in Line for Repeat VIR and 2018 Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT Pole Positions
DANVILLE, Virginia – Lone Star Racing and team drivers Mike Skeen and Scott Heckert bring the momentum of a pole-winning and dual-podium performance one race ago to their “Home Track” of VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) this weekend where the North Carolina-based duo will co-drive the No. 80 ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT Championship doubleheader at VIR, April 27 – 29.
Driving together for the first time in what was the 2018 debut race for Lone Star Racing last month at Circuit of The Americas (COTA), Skeen won the pole in the No. 80 Mercedes-AMG GT3 and then joined Heckert in earning second and third place podium finishes in that weekend’s pair of Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT races.
The team’s front-of-the-pack performance should continue this weekend at VIR where Lone Star Racing has always been quick and Skeen and Heckert will compete on a track not far from their respective North Carolina homes in Charlotte and Mooresville.
“VIR is my favorite track in the U.S., and not just because it is close to home,” Skeen said. “It is a great challenge as a driver, produces some excellent racing and is a great facility to visit. Lone Star Racing showed great speed at VIR with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 last season and I am sure we will do at least as well coming off of a strong run at COTA.”
Heckert has race-winning experience at VIR in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East stock car competition.
“I think VIR is a great spot to build on our success from COTA,” Heckert said. “Although I’ve only had experience here in a NASCAR stock car, I know the track and Mike is an expert around the place. We really gelled as a team at COTA, and working together like that will bode well for this weekend. Building on that further will be our goal.”
Skeen drove the No. 80 to the SprintX GT Pro class and overall pole at COTA and was also the top qualifier driving for another team in last year’s Pirelli World Challenge race at VIR. If Lone Star Racing selects him to qualify again on Saturday, Skeen could pull off a rare “double-double” with consecutive poles in a season and in successive years at a venue.
“It’s always confidence-inspiring coming off a pole position at the last event,” Skeen said. “Knowing that I held that same position at VIR last season is another real boost going into the weekend.”
The COTA weekend was Heckert’s first time in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the U.S. but he had previous experience in the car in European competition last season.
“The Mercedes-AMG GT3 is such a well-balanced car,” Heckert said. “So, as usual, I believe it’ll shine with its stability and speed over the course of a stint at VIR.”
Skeen competed in the No. 80 ACS Manufacturing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in last year’s IMSA race at VIR, co-driving with Lone Star Racing team owner and driver Dan Knox. “The Mercedes-AMG GT3 always does well under braking and through high-speed corners,” Skeen said. “The VIR layout has a great flow that suits the car very well, and I expect us to make good time, particularly through the fast uphill esses.”
On-track action at VIR began with a Thursday test session with official Pirelli World Challenge SprintX competition starting today with morning and afternoon practice runs. Saturday begins with a 20-minute qualifying session at 9:40 a.m. EDT to set the starting lineup for the first of the weekend’s two one-hour races that afternoon at 1:25 p.m. EDT. Sunday’s second and final race of the weekend is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. EDT.
– Skeen sees some similarities between COTA and VIR that should help Lone Star pick up right where they left off last month in Texas. “We made some great progress with the car at COTA and I was happier than ever before with where we found ourselves in the setup window,” Skeen said. “We found a great balance that I think will transfer well to VIR since the two tracks share some important characteristics. After building on his experience with the team at COTA, I’m sure Scott will have another good weekend at a track he knows much better as well.”
About Lone Star Racing: Based at Motorsport Ranch within the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area in Cresson, Texas, Lone Star Racing is competing in the No. 80 ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the second season in 2018. Lone Star Racing and its team members have won races across North America spanning sprint and endurance racing formats. The crew has worked together on many different teams and various types of cars, developing a strong bond and proven capability that gives them a competitive and winning advantage. Lone Star Racing competes with the support of primary partner ACS Manufacturing, Inc. (www.ACSManufacturing.com). Look for Lone Star Racing and team owner/driver Dan Knox on Facebook and follow the team on YouTube at Lone Star Racing, on Twitter and Instagram at @LSRTeam and on the official team web site at www.LoneStarRacingTeam.com.