Road Atlanta Pre-Race
JOHNSON SET TO BOOKEND ROOKIE SEASON IN SPORTSCAR WITH ROAD ATLANTA
23-Year-Old Paralyzed BMW Driver Buttons Up 2016 Rookie SportCar Season with Road Atlanta 150 Race
BRASELTON, GA, Sept. 27, 2016 – American paralyzed BMW driver Michael Johnson & JDC Miller Motorsports will close out the 2016 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season this weekend with the Road Atlanta 150 at Road Atlanta in rural Georgia. The race marks the end of Johnson’s rookie season and completes his transition to SportsCar racing.
“I'm very excited for the final race of the season this weekend at Road Atlanta,” said Johnson. “I've raced here in the past so I'm feeling very comfortable coming back to a familiar track for a change. I'm getting used to driving this BMW 228i M Sport. It's such a fun car. We haven't had good luck the last few races so hopefully we can finish with a great result to close out the season.”
Johnson’s rookie season in SportsCar has been a relatively smooth transition for the 23-year-old Michigan native, presumably given the help of his Cape Town South African teammate and co-driver, Stephen Simpson. However, the pair had to recover following a disappointing weekend in Austin at Circuit of the America’s.
“The race at Circuit of the Americas didn't produce the results we were all looking for,” said Johnson. “All the practices and even qualifying went really well and we felt ready for the race. On the start of the race, there was a turbo issue so I had to come in and get it checked out. I got back out in the rear of the field for the restart. I went from 27th to 13th in the first 40 minutes of the race. I ended up have a fuel line break and ran out of fuel. It's such a bummer to end the race like that when I was driving so well. We will all regroup and get ready for the finale at Road Atlanta!”
The pair will take to the 2.54-mile, 12-turn course to bookend the 2016 season with opening practice on Wed., Sept. 28 at 10:10 a.m. A second practice session will follow on Thurs. morning with qualifications to close out Thurs. at 4:45 p.m. The Race will be contested on Fri. at 12:25 p.m. (ET).
The pair’s BMW is of course specially equipped with hand controls, provided by GuidoSimplex, due to Johnson’s paralysis. The car features a complicated brake, gearshift and throttle system, with which Johnson uses his hands to control systems other drivers manipulate with their feet.
In addition to primary backing from Universal Coating, Johnson’s racing efforts are also supported by: Arai Helmets, OMP, and BraunAbility® Wheelchair Vehicles & Wheelchair Lifts.