Champion Download: A Few Minutes with Racers Edge Motorsports

Champion Download:  A Few Minutes with Racers Edge Motorsports

Led by Jon Mirachi, Racers Edge Motorsports is one of North America’s most successful race teams.  They hit a major milestone with their 100th win this season.  They have over two dozen wins and three championships coming in just the last six seasons.  

The team entered the 2022 season with an Acura NSX GT3 for Mario Farnbacher and Ashton Harrison to compete in the Pro-Am class within the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS.  This turned out to be an epic battle between Racers Edge, CrowdStrike Racing and Wright Motorsports with the championship going down to the final race at Indianapolis.

SRO: What were your expectations entering 2022? 

JOHN MIRACHI: Actually, I had high expectations and expected to do as well as we did. Mario is a successful, experienced Pro (two-time IMSA champ in the NSX) and knowing Ashton's capabilities from working with her at the HPD Driver Academy, I knew we would be very competitive for the championship.

ASHTON HARRISON: My expectations were to win the championship, I just hadn’t told anyone that. I wanted to perform well, and take full advantage of working full time with a driver like Mario and a team like Racers Edge, and I wanted to show Honda/HPD Racing what I could do as a driver.

MARIO FARNBACHER: For me, this season was a new experience, because I hadn’t raced in the sprint format of SRO before, and then I also had a new team and new teammate. I knew the car, but there were still a lot of things to learn with the different format. So I went into the season without any expectations; I didn’t think we’d win right out of the box. Getting on the podium was my first goal. But ultimately, over the season, after NOLA for example, I started realizing what potential we had and what we could build on. That definitely changed from our first weekend to the second, and after that, the championship became the target. 

SRO: What was your favorite on-track moment? 

ASHTON HARRISON: For me driving, it was passing Charlie Luck coming out of The Kink at Road America, because I had really bad aero and we were going so fast in that corner that I just took the risk and went for it, and it really worked out in that moment. My favorite moment when Mario was driving was also at Road America, when we were watching in the pits as he took the lead from Bill Auberlen. We’d all been anxiously watching him for 20 minutes as he stalked the BMW, and then when he made the pass, we all freaked out anyway. For us as a team, I’ll never forget being in the pits at our first race at Sebring, when our fueler, Dave, earned his nickname. He was the OG, and it stuck with him all season.

MARIO FARNBACHER: My favorite moment was definitely the sweep of Road America and to clich the 100th win for Racers Edge Motorsports. I think that was pretty special to see Jon so emotional about that milestone. And also, the championship win in Indianapolis. Those were the two best moments of the season. But so were the champagne wars on the podium with Ashton, to just blast her so she couldn’t see anything.

JOHN MIRACHI: There were many great ones, but hands down it was when Ashton crossed the finish line at Road America, claiming our 100th victory as a team. That was a very special moment to me as it represented more than just a single win, or championship, but more like a lifetime achievement. A realization of how much success we've had for all the effort and sacrifice.

SRO: Any memorable off-track adventures?

ASHTON HARRISON: I really enjoyed traveling with Mario throughout the year, before the races and after. We had great weekends where we got to celebrate with the team after winning a race, and those times to bond were so fun. We were more than just a team at the track, we were family off the track. During the season, we don’t often get those times to just chill and decompress and laugh when we aren’t working. So those times were special, too. But really, my biggest accomplishment was convincing Mario to come to The Farm Sanctuary with me during our weekend at Watkins Glen, and to actually pet the goats and the cows.  

MARIO FARNBACHER: As a race car driver, you and your teammates, you have bonds, you know? If you have a bad weekend, you hang out together, and if you have good weekends, you celebrate, too. And of course, you share those moments with the team. After Watkins Glen, after our rough weekend at VIR and then getting on the podium after having some issues with the tires, we all sat around the fire pit at Seneca Lodge on Sunday night. Those are some of the best times, to bond with the team and enjoy the family atmosphere, and those are just as important to me, too.

SRO: What does this championship mean to you? 

MARIO FARNBACHER: The championship means a lot, obviously. I’m also extremely happy for Ashton. Remember where we came from with the Academy last year. This was all completely new to her - the GT3 car was brand new, and then we had the first race together here in the Indy 8 Hour last year, which added to her experience in the car. But she still had a long way to go. Starting from the first race in Sonoma until now was a huge, huge step for her. So I’m really, really proud of her, that she made a big step in her career, and now she’s a champion. Also proud of the Racers Edge crew, thank you to them for the hard work this season, and also to Acura and Honda/HPD for all of their support. I’m just thrilled- we had a great season, and to end it with a championship, I’m super happy.

JOHN MIRACHI: Winning any championship is special, but what stands out on this one is winning it with a driver that a year ago was a student of ours at the HPD Driver Academy. What a validation for the HPD program and how well it works, to have a student win a major professional championship in their first season after completing the program. Ashton and this championship hold a special place for me.

ASHTON HARRISON: This is huge for my career, and another history making moment that I’d never imagined I could accomplish. It’s very personal for me, but also special because of working with Acura, Harrison Contracting, Racers Edge and Wayne Taylor Racing, and of course with my dad all along the way.

SRO: Who are the unsung heroes who helped make this happen? 

JOHN MIRACHI: Everyone on the team! Seriously, everyone's role is important, but to single out a couple of the senior staff, our team engineer and shop manager Jim Pattin, who has been with us for 20 years, deserves a ton of credit. He is really talented, meticulous and no one is better at setting up a car. Nick Pattin, Jim's brother, has been with us for over ten years and is in charge of the car's mechanical preparation. His experience and attention to detail gives us all the confidence in the car's reliability and safety. Beyond that is a group working with them that works together really well - everyone shares a common goal and work ethic - creating a chemistry for success.

ASHTON HARRISON: There are so many people behind the scenes who made this happen. For sure my dad and my husband, who have been behind me throughout my career. My dad, for sure- he’s had this part of him that always believed I could do it, and although I doubted myself at times, he’s been there to remind me of the support around me so I could continue to push through those moments to make myself better. Wayne Taylor and Travis Houge have been by my side since 2019 and have put me in positions to help me grow tremendously every single year. They’re always in my corner and I’m so thankful for them. My coach, Tom Long, has been with me for ten years. He was there with me when I took my first drive in a Spec Miata, and I’m sure I was not even a safe driver to ride right seat with, but he took the risk anyway. Those key people have been there through all of it, so I’m just so thankful to have them around me.

SRO: What can you tell us about 2023?

JOHN MIRACHI: While we can't announce our 2023 race programs yet, we will be continuing to be an Acura Motorsports/HPD partner team, operating the HPD Driver Academy and ultimately we'll have some race programs to announce.

SRO:  Thank you.