Sears Point: AIM Autosport preview

AIM Autosport completes the longest trip of the season this week, traveling more than 3000 miles from team headquarters in Woodbridge, Ont., to Sonoma, Calif. En route, the team competed in a Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen...

AIM Autosport completes the longest trip of the season this week, traveling more than 3000 miles from team headquarters in Woodbridge, Ont., to Sonoma, Calif. En route, the team competed in a Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen International in New York, then stopped at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah, for a two-day track test. Preparations are now underway for the Aug. 25 Rolex Series race at Infineon (formerly Sears Point) Raceway in Sonoma.

Brian Frisselle of Lynchburg, Va., and Mark Wilkins of Toronto will drive AIM's No. 61 Lexus-powered Riley Mk XI. They'll have extra support from guests of the team's primary sponsor, Exchange Traded Gold, including World Gold Council chief executive officer James Burton and Exchange Traded Gold founding partner Stuart Thomas. The California race will be a homecoming for Burton, who previously held executive positions in the state.

"It's great to have Stuart and Jim come out for the event. We will put on a good race for them," Wilkins said. "We had a good test at Miller last week and we're really starting to figure out this car. Without the support of the Exchange Traded Gold guys, it wouldn't be possible to compete with all these great teams. At this point in the season, we're closing in on being able to run with the front guys and that's where we want to be, that's our goal."

fast and physical

The 2.52-mile Sonoma road course is demanding, but AIM's drivers are up to the challenge, bolstered by two strong races in the past month and a productive test last week.

"I'm excited for Sears Point," Frisselle said. "The AIM car could be better than it ever has been. We had our second test of the year and Mark, Burt [Frisselle, who alternates races with Brian] and I learned things about the car and where it needs to be to be competitive. The high-speed elements of Salt Lake and Sonoma will translate pretty well. Sonoma is one of my favourite tracks and I know it suits Mark, as well. It's high-speed and challenging. It's going to be a tough race, but I think it's going to be a good race for us."

Wilkins agreed:

"Sears Point is a very technical track and it requires a good chassis to be quick. It's fatiguing because there isn't a lot time to rest; it's a really physical track. You've got a lot of high-speed corners, so the aero balance is important. It has a lot of different corners -- there are slow, hairpin corners and fast sweepers -- and there are a lot of transitions. You have get the car to be good in the transitions in order to roll the speed through them.

"We have really been developing the car the last few races and both Brian and I are feeling more confident in the whole package. Every time we're in a better position to figure out the car more quickly and that's what we need to do when we're competing with guys who have years of experience in these cars at these tracks."

-credit: -- aimautosport.com --

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mark Wilkins , Brian Frisselle