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Preparation Name of the Game for Stoner Car Care Racing Aston Martin Drivers

Preparation Name of the Game for Stoner Car Care Racing Aston Martin Drivers

02.09.2020: Preparation is always key to a successful race weekend. But how do you prepare for a four-hour endurance event while also managing a high-stress, full-time profession?

Preparation is always key to a successful race weekend. But how do you prepare for a four-hour endurance event while also managing a high-stress, full-time profession?



For the five drivers competing with the Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing team in Sunday’s four-hour VP Racing Stay Frosty 240 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, balance is key.


 
Ramin Abdolvahabi (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Brandon Kidd (Syracuse, NY) and Tom Long (Charlotte, NC) will take the wheel of the No. 09 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin Vantage GT4.



The other side of the tent will see Gary Ferrera (Houston, Texas) and Kris Wilson (Palmer Lake, Colo.) return to the iconic No. 99 Invisible Glass Aston Martin colors – and to the racetrack that hosted the team’s 2019 highlight.
Akhil Rabindra, then an Aston Martin Academy driver, set a new Grand Sport class qualifying record last season at Road Atlanta in the No. 09 Aston Martin, lapping the 2.54-mile circuit at 1:25.715-seconds, 2.611-seconds quicker than the previous mark set in 2018.



As professional drivers and driving coaches, Long and Wilson can be found either racing or coaching most weeks of the year. But Abdolvahabi, Kidd and Ferrera all return to their regular professions between race events – Abdolvahabi as a prominent spine and cranial neurosurgeon, Kidd as a financial advisor, and Ferrera as the chief financial officer of the largest ATM owner/operator in the world.



How they juggle race prep and their professional lives is an inside look into the balance required for the Bronze or Silver-rated drivers to maintain both their business acumen and the racing prowess necessary to compete on this level.
Ferrera would ordinarily be flying to company offices across four continents, but with the current COVID-19 travel restrictions, now spends most of his time on video calls with his team or his peers leading a company that owns or manages nearly 300,000 ATMs around the globe.



“It’s hard – it’s got to be second fiddle most of the time,” said Ferrera. “Normally I would do much of my race prep on airplanes.  I’ll review video and look at data for those uninterrupted hours. I need to disconnect from work somehow in the evenings, so I’ll often look at video in the evening, and I’m usually visualizing the track as I fall asleep.



This is the same thing my son does with his tennis game—you have to play at a subconscious level. I also work on the racetracks via iRacing, though they don’t have the Aston Martin GT4. It helps with goal setting – Kris will lay down a quick time and I’ll do everything I can to get as close to that time as possible.”



Paired with Wilson, his driving coach, Ferrera began racing with the team two years ago. A former Sergeant in US Army Special Operations and Intelligence, he relishes being on a different kind of team.



“At least nobody’s shooting at me here,” continued Ferrera. “Yes, it’s a dangerous sport, but I do this for enjoyment. I want to do well, but I get more enjoyment out of seeing the team guys’ reaction when we do well. It’s like being back in the military, where it’s all about the team.”



Kidd has been racing since age 11, graduating from karts to late model stock cars and the ARCA series, and joining the team last season. He graduated from Syracuse University in 2014 and currently works as a financial advisor, focusing on budgeting, retirement planning and, these days, “a great deal of hand holding.”  



“It’s been an interesting time to be a financial planner,” said Kidd. “Not in my lifetime have we seen the market drop as much as it did as quickly as it did. That had people really panicked, but it was all about staying the course, and now the market has recovered. Just like endurance racing, it’s all about pace!”



Like most drivers, Kidd uses his racing simulator to stay sharp between races – especially this year, with a seven-month gap between his last race at Daytona.



“I’m on the sim at my house just about daily, to keep my hand/eye coordination up to speed,” continued Kidd. “I use iRacing, but I also use Assetto Corsa Competizione which is based on the European circuits, but it has more GT4 cars so I think it’s more realistic for someone racing a GT4 car.



I also look at on-board video, which helps at Road Atlanta since I’ve never raced there before. I’ve also spoken with Tom Long – I did a couple of the IMSA iRacing series with him, and we talked about setups, since he knows this car. I’m really looking forward to being back with the Stoner Car Care team and I’m really happy to be back in a race car.”



The four-hour VP Racing Stay Frosty 240, part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Challenge TireRack.com Grand Prix, takes the green flag Sunday at 12:10 p.m. Eastern. The race will be broadcast live in the U.S. on NBC Sports Gold’s TRACKPASS, while international viewers can watch via IMSA.tv. IMSA Radio will also be available at IMSA.com. NBCSN is scheduled to broadcast a two-hour race recap on Tuesday, September 15 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern (check local listings).





Sunday Group Management - photos Stoner Car Care

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02.09.2020 / MaP

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