During the plethora of post season prize giving ceremonies over the last few days, Aston Martin Racing, their drivers and customer teams have each received accolades for their services to and achievements in motor racing during 2016.
Today saw AMR factory driver and European Le Mans Series Champion Darren Turner receive the Colin Chapman Trophy from the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) at their annual Award lunch at the Grand Connaught Rooms in central London.
The award is presented to ‘an individual who has shown great team spirit’, in recognition of the part Turner has played in the success of Aston Martin Racing.
It was with great sadness to read today that Motorbase Performance have elected to take a step back from any GT programme in 2017 in favour of their more coveted and successful BTCC endeavours.
Although disappointing, todays news comes as no real surprise with the team having endured difficult season's in both the Blancpain GT Series with the Oman Racing squad of Ahmad Al Harthy, Jonny Adam and Devon Modell and the British GT Championships Ross Wylie and Phil Dryburgh this year.
We can be assured that the David Bartrum team will have made this decision on a strict business criteria rather than any emotional impulse and with the team having spent nearly twice as long in BTCC than in GT it may have been an easy choice.
“We’ve enjoyed five fantastic years racing in the GT world – taking both the overall Driver and Team Championship crowns in the British GT Championship and podiums in the Blancpain Endurance Cup and Gulf 12 Hours;” explained Bartrum. “We’ve raced with and against some great people in that time and it’s by no means the end of sports car racing for Motorbase, but I feel that it’s the right time for us to regroup and to put all of our efforts into building on last season’s BTCC success.
This news and the teams early withdrawal from next weekends Gulf 12Hr event, despite finishing last years event in third place, may simply be done to the team loosing out on Omani sponsorship money as Ahmad Al Harthy looks to continue his motor racing elsewhere and in other platforms? It may also mean that Aston Martin Racing have no racing presence in the prestigious Blancpain series in 2017!
Details of one chassis sale can still be found HERE
They will be missed and we hope that they return to GT racing soon.
Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey / Peter May
With two weeks after having elapsed since the #95 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE crossed the finishing line in Bahrain to claim not just the race but also the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers, the Young Driver AMR crew were in Vienna last night to claim their spoils.
Within the grand setting of the Imperial Hofburg Palace for the 2016 FIA Prize Giving Ceremony drivers Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorenson were again joined by team principle Jan Struve as they collected their awards from Jean Todt.
Photo credits - FIA
Sadly, it appears that Speedworks Motorsport are looking to off load their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 that they used to great effect in the Creventic International Endurance Series.
Having secured the SP3 Championship with the car back in 2015 with John Gilbert and Devon Modell the car has not seen on a competitive race since the Dubai 24 in January 2016 when a promising run was eventually thwarted by terminal technical issues.
Despite the team testing with the car in October the car is now being offered for sale in its bespoke endurance running format on the Racecars Direct website - details HERE
Hopefully someone will snap this up and get it entered into the 24H Series sometime soon.
Due the sheer number of trophies to be awarded, the Tower of London found itself as a worthy venue for the SRO's annual Night of the Champions presentation gala last night.
With TF Sport's Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 acting as a rather apt sentry on the door the function formally concluded the season for all three SRO sanctioned series, the British GT, European GT4 and Blancpain GT Series for 2016.
With the British GT championship having the greater Aston Martin Racing car participation and first up on the itinerary, it was TF Sport together with Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston who collected the GT3 Team, GT3 Drivers and Pro Am Championships. Johnston also collected the Gentleman Drivers Trophy whilst Adam was declared the fastest GT3 driver (as if we didn't already know!).
What a year 2016 has been for TF Sport with both this and further European success.
After claiming the GT4 Championship for the last two seasons, Beechdean AMR and Jack Bartholomew just missed out on the triple having to settle for the runners up position after a somewhat bumpy season with first Jordan Albert and latterly Ross Gunn, one who certainly helped him secure the GT4 Silver Drivers title. Bartholomew is due to announce his 2017 plans soon.
Unfortunately, with only one AMR participant within the ranks of the Blancpain GT Series there was
little celebration to be had but over in the European GT4 Series it was the Belgium Street Art Racing and Jerome Demay who secured the Am Driver Championship. That team is now looking to involve itself with a two car package in both Pro and Am classes in both of the SRO's (new for 2017) GT4 North Europe and GT4 South Europe Series.
In a break with the traditional mystery, Aston Martin Racing have this week revealed the location of their now annual winter test for mid February 2017.
Normally shrouding in mystery, the AMR factory WEC cars, drivers and team will all be making their way down to the Algarve International Circuit in Portimao, Portugal for an extensive two day pre season test. They will be joined by many (presumably) of their Customer teams who will benefit from a test with the support and technical assistance of the factory team on site - an opportunity that happens only once a year.
Having last made the same journey for the same reason back in 2014 many of the teams will next year be working on their preparation to defend either their World, European or National GT titles!
2016 European GT4 Am champions, Street Art Racing are looking to secure a driving line up for next years corresponding North and South championships with possibly two Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4's.
Securing the Am Driver Championship with Jerome Demay at the last round of the SRO European GT4 at Zandvoort back in early October, the Belgium team now look to extend their racing operations with their proposed participation within both European GT4 Series (South new for 2017) in either Pro or Am class
Interested parties should contact team manager Damien Hellebuyck at firstname.lastname@example.org
Having had little time to recover from the celebrations that followed the championship(s) winning drive of the #95 Young Driver AMR crew on Saturday, the team and both GTE Pro cars were back at work on Sunday for the championship's now annual 'Rookie Test'.
Eight drivers finally made the teams driving roster for the one day, two session test after Ahmad Al Harthy and Khaled Al Qubaisi were granted last minute entries and having pounded around the Bahrain International Circuit all weekend long in an LMP2 it was Alex Lynn who stole the GTE honours in the morning session (and indeed the event) half a second up on fellow GP2 driver Jordan King.
Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup Team winners Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey also had their first experiences of the GTE platform in readiness for what will hopefully be their full season ELMS entry next year as they build up to their automatic LM24 entry. Yoluc's best time over the two sessions would have placed him mid table in Saturdays race having enjoyed the most number of laps (51) in the AMR camp so that is promising.
Having not set foot in the GTE since this time last year at his AMR Academy final assessment (excluding his run up the hill at Goodwood) Ross Gunn ended his afternoon 40 laps second in the table overall proving that he is a talent worth nurturing.
Photo credit - Adrenal Media