Sonoma Showdown as IndyCar, World Challenge Titles On the Line

AERO Sustainable Paint Technology well represented at Sonoma Raceway

SONOMA, California (September 14, 2017) - With a championship still up for grabs, the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season will race to a close this weekend with the annual visit to Sonoma Raceway. The 2.385-mile, 12-turn wine-country circuit will also play host to the season-finale Pirelli World Challenge event for both the GTS and GT class machines as well as the penultimate event of the 2017 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA season. 

While each of the three championships racing this weekend have different cars, different rules and different fields of drivers, one thing will be consistent across each of the three events as AERO Sustainable Paint Technology will have strong representation in each.  AERO Sustainable Paint Technology is used extensively in motorsports. For customer teams, AERO™ ultra-durable paint films have proven to offer a competitive advantage over those using traditional paint or other methods of covering cars. 

The track is also the home of Simraceway racing school and race series, which features a full fleet of F3 machines, all of which gleam in the California sun shine thanks to AERO Sustainable Paint Technology.

Sunday’s IndyCar race (Live on NBCSN beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET) will see two teams, one of them with an expanded line-up, look to utilize their AERO advantage come race time.

AJ Foyt Racing, which moved to AERO Sustainable Paint Technology as part of an ongoing focus on performance, has enjoyed an uptick in results through the second half of whats been described as a rebuilding year with drivers Carlos Munoz and Conor Daly. The two drivers both arrive in Sonoma looking to close out the 2017 season on a high note in their ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet.

For just the second time this season, RLL Racing will be a two-car entry as team lynchpin Graham Rahal is joined by IndyCar debutante Zach Claman DeMelo for the season finale event. The squad has long utilized AERO, and with Rahal having scored second in the 2016 edition of the Sonoma event, heads into the event with a positive outlook. 

“Expectations are always high going into race weekend but I think we have been good on the road courses this year overall,”said Rahal. “The 2017 season has been a great one for us overall. Getting the two back-to-back wins in Detroit, a pole and starting third the next day was a highlight for me. We just need to keep working hard like we have been and put the United Rentals / SoldierStrong Honda up front. We’ve got one race to go and it’s important to us to finish off strong and try to get in the top five in the championship. We’ll see how it plays out. We are focused on going out and winning the race which would put us in the best case scenario.”

While targeting a return to the podium, the team will also look to add to their strong results in the fundraising side of the effort, having raised nearly $150,000 for Veterans thanks to the Turns for Troops initiative with United Rentals.

DeMelo, Rahal’s young (19 years old) teammate, finished fifth in the 2017 Indy Lights standings on the strength of four podiums and hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. DeMelo has one test day behind the wheel of an IndyCar at Sonoma Raceway, and will get the chance to test again on Thursday ahead of the event weekend. 

The Pirelli World Challenge crowned their SprintX champions in the previous round at Circuit of the Americas, with Michael Cooper of Syosset, N.Y. locking up the title with his AERO-liveried No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. along with co-driver Jordan Taylor of Orlando, Fla.

Cooper will hope to add the Overall GT title to his 2017 record, but he might have to keep a keen eye out for his Cadillac teammate—four-time GT series champion Johnny O’Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga. O’Connell, who races in his “Rocket Red” No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. that carries AERO Sustainable Paint Technology, has yet to win this season and he will be focused on changing that stat at Sonoma. 

The GTS Class will see Team Panoz, which arrives in wine country with a six weekend podium streak, look to add to the win tally for driver Ian James in the No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT. James has nabbed four wins this year with triumphs at Road America (twice), Mid-Ohio and Utah.

Rounding out the weekend will be the first-ever visit to the track for the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA. Young American pilot Corey Fergus still has a shot at the IMSA GT3 Challenge Championship in his No. 00 Moorespeed/US LED/Byers Imports. Both rounds of the double-header race weekend are slated to be streamed live on IMSA.TV

With several rounds of sprint sports car races on tap, an IndyCar title on the line, and an incredible backdrop, the event is a bucket-list weekend for race fans.