It was one year ago at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta that PF Racing made its debut in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, and everyone took note.
Why? Well, it’s hard to miss the bright pink livery covering every inch of the No. 40 Ford Mustang GT4 co-driven by James Pesek and Jade Buford.
"We started that with Watkins Glen last year," said Buford. "Basically, (James’) dad was fed up at people running into our cars. It happened to be October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) as well that we did it, so it was fitting."
Michelin Raceway isn’t just where PF Racing made its IMSA debut, it’s also where the team ran its first-ever race.
"Me and my dad, we started in Trans Am three years ago and here was our first race," Pesek said. "We did a few races with GT4s that year and then we did a full season in World Challenge. We debuted last year here and then decided to go full season."
It’s been a year of ups and downs for the No. 40, but four top-10s – including one top-five finish – is reason for optimism, especially for Pesek and the team as they complete their Pilot Challenge rookie season this Friday at the season finale, the FOX Factory 120.
"Here, the whole team contributes to the result of a weekend," said Buford, a longtime Pilot Challenge competitor. "It’s much more important to have the whole team around you. The whole team has been learning and progressing and building pretty much every race. We’ve had some bad luck, which resulted in some of our not-so-great finishes, but other times we’re usually one of the top five cars, speed-wise. It’s just putting all the pieces together. It’s just a matter of time before we finally are consistently on the podium."
Both drivers are comfortable on the 2.54-mile Michelin Raceway circuit, something that might help the team earn its first podium finish of the year.
"I like the old-school feel to it," said Pesek. "It has the feel of Road America, Watkins Glen, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, that old-school course that goes with the flow of the land. It has that feel to it."
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season-ending race, the FOX Factory 120, goes green on Friday, Oct. 11 at 1:25 p.m. ET. The race can be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary, with live updates on social media using the hashtag #IMPC.
Fans also can vote for the final time this season for the Forgeline Spirit of the Race driver, tweeting at IMSA Radio with the hashtag #ForgelineSOTR.
The NBCSN broadcast of the FOX Factory 120 will air on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. ET.