Lone Star Racing Stays Front-Row Perfect With Second-Place Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT Qualifying Run at Lime Rock Park Saturday in No. 80 ACS Manufacturing Mercedes-AMG GT3
Mike Skeen and No. 80 ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing Team Three-for-Three in 2018 Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT Front-Row Starts. Skeen and Scott Heckert to Co-Drive No. 80 ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in Memorial Day Monday’s Same-Day Doubleheader at Lime Rock
LAKEVILLE, Connecticut – Lone Star Racing stayed front-row perfect in 2018 Pirelli World Challenge SprintX qualifying Saturday at Lime Rock Park where Mike Skeen drove the No. 80 ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 to the second fastest overall lap time in a competitive 20-minute GT qualifying session.
The outside-front-row qualifying run was Skeen’s second straight this season in Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT competition. He qualified second one race ago at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) and started the front-row streak with Lone Star Racing with a pole-winning qualifying run in the season-opening event weekend at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in March.
Skeen will start second on the grid in Memorial Day Monday’s first one-hour race, which kicks-off the only same-day doubleheader on the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT schedule. SprintX GT Round 1 is scheduled to start at 11:25 a.m. EDT with SprintX GT Round 2 round closing out the weekend at 4:05 p.m. EDT. Both races can be seen live at stream.world-challenge.com.
“It’s always good to be able to start up front,” Skeen said. “Especially here at Lime Rock, a small track where it is really hard to pass. Hopefully we can get a nice clean start and stay out of trouble, get into a rhythm and let things kind of play out nice and smooth. It would be great, especially in race one, to bring home a good result and clean race car so we can transition right into race two.”
Skeen and Heckert co-drove to victory in the most recent Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT race at VIR last month. The win was the first all-pro driver victory for Lone Star Racing and came in just the second weekend of competition together for Skeen and Heckert on the No. 80 team.
“The team is just clicking,” Heckert said. “Everything seems to be running on all cylinders. Even if we unload maybe just not quite right with the setup, we know as drivers how to relay the information to the engineers and get it turned around really quickly. That is probably what is the most impressive so far. Mike did a fantastic job putting the car on the front row. Once again, it’s another good spot for us to start in Monday’s race one.”
In total, Skeen, Heckert and the No. 80 ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing team have earned the VIR win and second and third-place podium finishes at COTA in three of the year’s first four Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GT races. They head into Memorial Day Monday’s doubleheader third in the SprintX GT Pro driver and team championship standings.
“We feel pretty confident,” said Lone Star Racing Team Manager AJ Petersen. “Everything is coming together. We started the weekend off a little rough but we have been able to circle back and make our corrections. So far, so good.”
Friday and Saturday on-track sessions were run in warm and dry conditions, but the weather is known to change quickly this time of year in the Northwest Connecticut region that is home to the 1.5-mile Lime Rock Park road course.
“It is supposed to be a little cooler but not raining on Monday,” Skeen said. “Either way, I think we are good with it. We should be pretty good if it’s wet. It might be an advantage for us if it rains, it certainly won’t hurt us if it does, but we don’t necessarily need it. We obviously have good pace here in the dry, and that might make it a cleaner race for everybody.”
Lone Star Racing’s solid results so far this season have come after years of hard work, planning and bringing together this season the right mix of crew and team members.
“We are a very small and close-knit team,” Petersen said. “We have guys that do multiple jobs each race weekend, but we are finally starting to hit our stride as everybody zeroes in on their exact roles and responsibilities. It’s a family atmosphere, and that is where our team owner Dan Knox, all of our families and ACS Manufacturing really set the tone for our success and how we go racing together.”
“Clean and green” would be the best kind of races for the No. 80 ACS Manufacturing/Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 team on Monday. “Historically, Lone Star Racing has always had a good long-run car, and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a really good long-run car,” Heckert said. “Everything is a little different at Lime Rock, because you use the left-side tires so much, but I think consistency over each 30-minute stint should be really good.”
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.