Jonsin, Long and Sandberg Raced No. 9 “No Limits” Aston Martin Vantage GT4 Alongside Automatic Racing Regulars Rob Ecklin and Ramin Abdolvahabi in the No. 09 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin Vantage GT4 at IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Daytona Opener
Jonsin’s First IMSA Action in Seven Years Coincides with Release of Motorsport-Inspired Album “Fueled By 808 Vol.1” Featuring a Song Unveiled at Each 2023 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Race
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (February 2, 2023) – Automatic Racing and co-drivers Jim Jonsin, Tom Long and Brett Sandberg scored a competitive top-five finish Friday in the season-opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge four-hour race at Daytona International Speedway in the No. 9 “No Limits” Aston Martin Vantage GT4. The solid result in the top-tier Grand Sport (GS) class marked a successful return of the flagship Rebel Rock Productions program and Jonsin after a seven-year absence from IMSA competition.
“This is like a big victory for all of us,” Jonsin said. “You have to pinch me! I couldn’t believe some of the driving I was dealing with out there. This series has incredibly talented drivers. Racing amongst those folks out there was very challenging and awesome. It was a privilege to be able to get up front like that and then hand off the car nice and clean to Brett and watch him do his thing. Ending it off by watching Tom get in the car and finish with a P5 was indescribable. The ‘No Limits’ Aston Martin Vantage GT4 prepared by Automatic Racing has been amazing.”
It was an important week on and off the track for Jonsin, an accomplished and Grammy Award winning record producer, songwriter, DJ and music industry businessman. Friday also saw the release of his latest song, “No Limits,” featuring Kid Rock, Jimmie Allen and Austin Mahone and Striking Matches. Jonsin plans to release one song at each round of the 2023 Michelin Pilot Challenge for a season-long, 10-track collaboration featuring various artists. A complete album of the season’s songs, Fueled by 808 Vol. 1, will be released at the end of the year through Jonsin and Rebel Rock Productions on the EMPIRE label.
Russell is a long-time IMSA, GRAND-AM and international sports car racing competitor as both a team owner and driver. Friday’s top-five finish was the best GS showing for Automatic Racing, which is based in nearby Orlando, at Daytona since Gary Ferrera and Kris Wilson co-drove to a second-place finish in the No. 99 Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage GT4 in 2019’s season-opening four-hour race at Daytona.
“I am proud of Jim, Tom, Brett and everybody on the Automatic Racing team who never stopped working on both of our Aston Martin Vantage GT4s all week,” Russell said. “We knew from last week’s Rolex Roar test we would have some competitive pace but the race itself always presents a new set of challenges. We persevered through every single one and to start the year with a top-five finish in a field of this caliber is something to be proud of and build on.”
Shaking off a challenging qualifying session on Thursday, Jonsin started Friday’s race from 28th on the grid and quickly began to move the front. Driving a “double stint,” Jonsin was behind the wheel of the No. 9 for nearly 90 minutes and for two pit stops. He cycled to as high as second place during the first round of stops and dashed to the pits the second time to hand off to Sandberg just out of the top-15.
Sandberg continued to improve through his mid-race driving shift and handed the “No Limits” Aston Martin off to Long who quickly joined the top-five battle in the final part of the race. The team’s professional driver, Long maneuvered through more than one daring overtake and arguably pulled off the best move of the race, splitting a pair of competitors for a pass that moved the No. 9 into third place. Masterfully managing worn tires, Long continued the fight to the finish in fourth place and was just edged at the checkered flag in a photo finish that showed the “No Limits” Aston Martin in fifth by a scant .007 of a second.
“I am so proud of the entire Automatic Racing team,” Long said. “To be part of Jim Jonsin’s ‘No Limits’ campaign with the Aston Martin has been so much fun. Daytona is always a special event. It’s very rewarding to come home with a top-five finish. I wouldn’t have minded being on the podium – we were there for a little bit near the end – but I’m really looking forward to keeping the campaign going. Make sure to download and stream the ‘No Limits’ song as often as possible! It’s a catchy one.”
Jonsin and the Rebel Rock squad competed alongside longtime Automatic Racing co-drivers Rob Ecklin and Ramin Abdolvahabi in the No. 09 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Ecklin and Abdolvahabi advanced through the running order like their No. 9 teammates and overcame a penalty and some mechanical issues to secure a 17th place finish.
Next up for Automatic Racing and its pair of Aston Martin Vantage GT4 teams is Round 2 of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at Sebring International Raceway, March 15 – 16.
Mahone was among the strong contingent of guests attending Friday’s IMSA race in support of Jonsin and the team. “We had Austin Mahone out here watching the race as well,” Jonsin said. “I’m stoked and I’m thankful.” Vic Martin, one of the main writers of “No Limits” – which is now available across all streaming and popular music download platforms – also made the trip to Daytona to cheer on Jonsin and his teammates.
The new “No Limits” release had a presence throughout the weekend’s featured 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona that followed the Pilot Challenge race last Saturday and Sunday. The song was frequently played on the NBC Networks television broadcast of the day-long race as a “bump” leading into and out of commercial breaks. Current plans call for other songs from the Fueled by 808 Vol. 1 project to have similar airplay on NBC IMSA race broadcasts later in the season.