The Aston Martin entry #7 by Trent Hindman and Alan Brynjolfsson. (IMSA photo)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The No. 7 Volt Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 Team has strung together three consecutive top two finishes and finds itself a 130-point lead at the top of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS)- rating again.
But is there a trip wire when this high-flying team heads to Tioga Downs Casino Resort 120 for Watkins Glen International later this week?
Last year, drivers Trent Hindman and Alan Brynjolfsson finished eighth and then seventh on back-to-back race weekends at The Glen at the demanding, undulating circuit. Both riders answered the question of whether The Glen could ruin their championship ambitions with a resounding “no”.
“Historically, Watkins Glen is a very good track for the Aston Martin,” said Hindman. “It’s a really good car in medium and fast corners. We get a lot of power, so we get great runs over those steep climbs there.
“Last year we had a super fast car for those consecutive weekends at Watkins Glen, especially in the four hour race. We made a mistake as a team and received a drive-through penalty. It was just a miscommunication and put us out of the running.”
Brynjolfsson said the team called Hindman into the pits due to a quick strategic decision and the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 entered the service lane in the wrong way. The subsequent drive-through penalty in the last 30 minutes wiped out the team’s 20-second advantage over the GS field.
“We kind of threw that away,” Brynjolfsson said. “The Aston Martin is good at high speed corners and there’s a lot of that at Watkins. I’m very confident about the car and the driver at Watkins.”
Lessons learned in 2021 will be used effectively in 2022. After a top-10 finish at Daytona International Speedway to open the season, the No. 7 Aston Martin clinched a win between second-place finishes at Sebring International Raceway and Mid-Ohio at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in late April Sports Car Course.
“At Daytona we finished seventh, but we were literally one car in 18th because we were so slow on the outer bank,” said Brynjolfsson. “We didn’t stand a chance, so we feel like we hit way above our weight at Daytona. When we followed that up with a second, first, and second, it was like, ‘Wow!’
Both drivers credit John Wright, owner of Wright Motorsport, for this quick win early in the season.
“I’m fortunate to work with Wright Motorsports,” said Hindman. “John is one of the brightest minds in the business. He’s just really good at keeping everyone in check, staying on track and focusing on the overall goal – a championship. He added a lot of confidence. We are seeing the result of that leadership and that direction on the track.”
Brynjolfsson, who starts every race before handing the car over to Hindman, echoed the thought.
“This is my sixth year in the series, always aiming to win the championship, and for the first time – for the first time – it feels great to be in first place,” he said. “Nothing beats experience. Every year we get better and better. The biggest change was moving with Wright Motorsports and a top team. All the little things make a difference, like putting the drivers in the right mood psychologically.”
So, 2021 Watkins Glen is in jeopardy. This time Volt Racing is aiming for another podium and maybe a triumph.
“Watkins Glen is the epitome of a bold American racetrack,” said Hindman. “You have a lot of height differences. You have some really fast corners.
The walls are close – that light blue kind that’s staring you straight in the face the whole time. It keeps you on your toes. There really is nothing that compares. I love it there and look forward to returning with a strong car, a strong co-driver and a strong team.”
Brynjolfsson, Hindman and No. 7 Volt lead Eric Foss and the No. 56 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 by 130 points in the GS classification. Foss is racing with Kenton Koch in a 28-car GS field this week.
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