AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology was designed, from the molecule up, to meet the vigorous demands of the aerospace industry. The Boeing Company needed a lightweight, ultra-durable substitute for spray applied paints that could withstand harsh environments. The 10-hour endurance race at Road Atlanta, the final race in the IMSA Tudor United SportsCar Championship known as the Petit LeMans, brought just that: unrelenting rain and dangerous track conditions.
Nonetheless, AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology drivers had a competitive advantage with aerospace-grade liveries designed to protect against the harshest elements. And for the No. 75 Compass 360 Racing Audi S3 of Paul Horton and Kyle Gimple, the rain was hardly an issue. The drivers led their ST-class car through the field to grab the team’s first win for the season.
“It was pretty uneventful out there,” Gimple remarked humbly with a modicum of unintentional swagger. He and co-driver Horton led the ST pack for the final 52 minutes of the race, taking home their fourth and first career wins, respectively.
However, it was C.J. Wilson Racing’s Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer who took the class championship in their AERO™ Liquid Metal™ painted Mazda MX-5, with an eighth place race finish. The team has been a model for success all season long by avoiding incidents and getting their car to the finish. Team owner C.J. Wilson complimented the co-drivers, stating “The key to success is you can’t win the championship if you don’t finish.” McCumbee and McAleer managed to drive throughout the season with cool heads, leading to the series win in the ST class.
Compass 360 Racing teammates Jim McGuire and Nico Rondet co-drove their No. 74 Audi S3 to a ninth place finish overall, but succumbed to the dangerous track conditions on the penultimate lap. Rondet, driving the final stint (mostly blind with a fogged windscreen), had rocketed through the field in full-wet conditions bringing the car as high as fifth place. McGuire, who is president and CEO of AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology parent company, entrotech, later remarked “It was a fun race!” He, Rondet, and teammates Gimple and Horton drive the new AERO™ Liquid Steel and Orange livery.
In the IMSA series, AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology took another podium in the GTLM class in the truncated Petit Le Mans race. John Edwards, Lucas Luhr, and Jens Klingmann drove their BMW Team RLL Z4 GTLM to a second place overall and in-class finish. The drivers were able to take their car to the finish ahead ahead of the Prototype-class cars, exemplary of the pace and skill of the team. They were infallible in their AERO-painted cars, enduring the tricky track conditions.
Jens Klingmann remarked “I am still happy to have finished the race in P2 and am going home with a smile on my face” despite narrowly missing the manufacturers’ championship.
During the race, there were seven retirements and several pirouettes resulting from the heavy rain. Many cars finished the race with damages from contact with other cars, walls, or gravel tracks. These on-track incidents would benefit from the durabilty of AERO film-based appliques, which can help contain carbon fiber after contact. In dangerously wet conditions, carbon fiber shards strewn about the circuit creates an avoidable hazard to drivers.
In the GTD class, Scuderia Corsa moved to an AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology livery to help achieve a competitive advantage in the series. As a technical partner, Scuderia Corsa will keep their Ferrari 458 GTD at the forefront of innovation with the ultra-durable paint system. Furthermore, the technology will not only help the team trim down lap times, but will also help enhance aesthetics, resulting in better brand exposure for the team and its sponsors.
With the 2015 IMSA, Continental Tires, Pirelli World Challenge, and IndyCar series now in the past, the AERO™ Advanced Paint Technology team is looking into 2016, beginning with the hallmark season opener, Daytona. 2015 was a great year for teams who adopted the world’s only aerospace-grade paint film system. It helped drivers achieve an on-track advantage resulting in multiple poles, race wins, and even championship wins. Excitement and anticipation are already building for teams that choose to have a stronger, lighter, and faster livery.