Phillips, Ecklin make CTSCC Sebring debut with Automatic Racing

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The 2.5-hour race was shaping up well until a cooling issue ended the team’s day early.

SEBRING, Fla. – Steve Phillips and Rob Ecklin both made their debut at historic Sebring International Raceway on Friday, driving the No. 99 Automatic Racing/Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The 2.5-hour race was shaping up well until a cooling issue ended the team’s day early.

#99 AutoMattic Racing Aston Martin Vantage: Rob Ecklin, Steve Phillips, David Russell, Charles Espenlaub
#99 AutoMattic Racing Aston Martin Vantage: Rob Ecklin, Steve Phillips, David Russell, Charles Espenlaub

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Phillips started strong in front of a huge Sebring crowd, gaining positions and turning consistently fast lap times around the 3.74-mile track. He pitted at the one-hour mark, and the Automatic Racing crew did a quick pit stop under green while Ecklin climbed behind the wheel.

Ecklin went out and continued the charge in the Invisible Glass Aston Martin until a cooling issue manifested. The team made the difficult decision to retire early.

“The car was great; everybody on the Automatic Racing crew did a fantastic job getting it ready. The car was perfect for us,” said Phillips. Getting to race at a track as renowned as Sebring was especially gratifying for him. “I’ve tried to get to all the historic tracks, and Sebring has been on my list. To be able to race here in a competitive car with a competitive team is great, and although we didn’t finish where we wanted to, we’ll be back!”

“It was a great race until our retirement! Every time we get out on the track, we’re a little better,” said Ecklin. “It’s fun to race at historic tracks like Sebring, and I enjoy the track more every time I go out on it. All of the bumps are a challenge, but it’s also a lot of fun.”

Automatic Racing competes at another historic track in May, when the series heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for round three. Phillips, Ecklin and the Invisible Glass Aston Martin will be racing there on May 3.

Automatic Racing

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About this article
Series TUSC
Article type Race reports
Tags rob ecklin, sebring, steve phillips, tusc

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