More AMR Vantage GT4 success with the Iberian Supercar Series visit to Estoril

More AMR Vantage GT4 success with the Iberian Supercar Series visit to Estoril


Turning a further page within our notes from the weekend, the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 contingent also did themselves well within the Iberian Supercars Series return to the racetrack for only the second time of the season so far at Estoril.

Like the season opener from Jerez at the end of May, their thirty-eight strong grid was well populated with both the new Evo and 17A variations of the Vantage GT4 workhorse.

Five cars from the Racar team, one from the Araujo Competicao team and a further solo runner from the Mirage Racing squad all their cars compete across the GT4 Pro, GT4 Am and GT4 Bronze classes over their two allotted races.

At the end of race one, there were strong performances from both the #2 and #3 Racar drivers of Manuel Giao and Francisco Cruz in GT4 Pro whilst young racer, Stephan Suslov took a spirited P5 in Bronze and Ruben Vaquinhas took a P3 in GT4 AM.

That improved later into race 2 of Sunday where Mathieu Martins secured the GT4 Pro class win, Suslov improved to take the bronze class win and Pedro Bastos Rezende secured the full set with a GT4 Am class win.

The series now takes an extended summer break before reconvening at Valencia in late September.

Photo credits – Teams / series
Monday, July 15, 2024 |
Vantage GT4 crews also power their way to podium finishes in North America

Vantage GT4 crews also power their way to podium finishes in North America


The Aston Martin Racing powered trail to the podium within the GT3 ranks was preceded in North America by those within the GT4 ranks as both the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Aeries and VP Racing Sportscar Challenge went out their business from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

With six such AMR Vantage GT4’s listed within the Michelin Pilot Challenge and a further two within the supporting VP Racing Sportscar Challenge, four of those crews would go onto earn class podium finishes at the end of their respective races.

The headlining team was this time the #19 Van Der Steur crew of Rory Van Der Steur and deputising driver Scott Andrews who put costly errors in previous rounds firmly behind them to come home second overall in GS (GT4) at the end of their two-hour race. Previous round winners, the #46 Team TGM car of Paul Holton and Matt Plumb had to be contented with a P3 finish this time around as both Aston Martin powered crews secured the top three positions within the GS Drivers Championship table with four rounds still to go.

Further down the order, the #88 Archangel car of Todd Coleman and Aaron Telitz had to settle for P7 in class just in front on the solo runner AMR Vantage GT4 Evo of #71 Rebel Rock Racing and Frank DePew and Robin Liddell.

The #45 Ruckus Racing of Scott Blind with Andrew Davis and the #64 Team TGM car of Ted Giovanis and Hugh Plumb rounded off the AMR contingent in P18 and P19 respectively although the #64 crew did earn themselves a somewhat lonely visit to the Bronze Cup podium being the sole entry this time around for which they retain a commanding lead at the top of that table.

Then within the two races of the VPRSC, it was another Bronze Cup double glory for the #45 Ruckus Racing entry of Scott Blind as he earned himself both a P6 and P4 overall finishes within the GSX class but also a P2 and P1 within his sub–Bronze Cup class. The #71 Rebel Rock AMR of DePew would finish P10 and P9 in class – P6 and P4 in Bronze Cup.

Those results take Blind up to P4 within the overall GSX Drivers table and up to P1 within the GSX Bronze Drivers Championship with four rounds still to go.

Photo credits – Teams / series / social media
Monday, July 15, 2024 |
Heart of Racing badged AMR's hit the podium in both North and South America this weekend

Heart of Racing badged AMR's hit the podium in both North and South America this weekend


Aston Martin’s new Vantage GT3 recorded its second win in as many races in the IMSA WeatherTech SportCar Championship – North America’s most prestigious endurance series – thanks to a brilliant GTD class victory at the Canadian Tires Motorsport Park [Mosport] for partner team The Heart of Racing [THoR].

The 2022 IMSA GTD champion and former Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy graduate Roman De Angelis (CDN), along with Spencer Pumpelly (USA), delivered an accomplished victory in the #27 THoR Aston Martin Vantage GT3, at Mosport. It was the second time in three years that De Angelis had won his home event. The team led most of the race and maintained a healthy advantage over rivals, even withstanding the pressure of a late-race Full Course Yellow to bring home THoR’s and the British sportscar manufacturer’s first GTD class win with the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

This follows Ross Gunn (GBR) and Alex Riberas’s (ESP) maiden victory with the car in the GTD Pro class at the previous round, three weeks ago, at Watkins Glen. The Briton, this time partnered by Mario Farnbacher (DEU), finished fifth in the GTD Pro class at Mosport, bringing the Aston Martin works driver within 60 points of the class lead (350 are awarded for a win), with four rounds left to race this season.

The win marked the 13th IMSA victory for the Aston Martin Vantage in the GT classes and was the eighth time THoR had won the GTD class since it first entered IMSA with the famous Wings in 2020. In total, THoR crews have raced Aston Martins to IMSA podium positions no less than 26 times in four and a half years, while another partner team Magnus Racing, has added a further three podium finishes from its exclusive Endurance Race programme.

“This was a great day for the Heart of Racing team and another fantastic win for Vantage,” said team principal Ian James, who was racing the team’s FIA World Endurance Championship [WEC] Vantage LMGT3 in Brazil. “Winning in IMSA, at the Canadian Tires Motorsport Park, was an awesome way to start the day, and a well-deserved reward for all the hard work this year from everybody on the #27 crew. Then we finished second, equalling our best result, in WEC. It’s a great feeling to be on the podium again and hopefully there will be many more moments like this to come!”

James and his WEC THoR co-drivers Riberas and Daniel Mancinelli (ITA), so nearly made it a glorious double for the brand and the team in the 6 Hours of São Paolo, after a fiercely competitive performance brought them closer than ever before to claiming a maiden win in the series.

Starting ninth in the LMGT3 class, James raced up to third by the end of his opening double-stint, handing over to Mancinelli, who fought past rivals on track to place the Aston Martin firmly in second place. When the leading Lamborghini retired, the race became a straight fight between the #92 Porsche and Riberas, now in the #27. But a late-race Full Course Yellow meant the Spaniard ran out of time and was forced to settle for second place.

Adam Carter, Head of Endurance Motorsport, said: “The new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is really hitting its stride now, and to see it win its class with The Heart of Racing for the second successive IMSA race is extremely satisfying. The team also came very close in WEC, once again demonstrating race-winning pace just as it had in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, last month. It feels like if the competitive level can be maintained, a first WEC victory with Vantage is within our grasp in 2024.”

The next round of the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship takes place at Road America (USA) on 4 August, while WEC now takes a summer break before returning to the Circuit of the Americas (USA) for round six of the championship on 1 September.

Source material - AMR
Photo credits - AMR / Team
Monday, July 15, 2024 |
Another decent weekend for the Vantage GT3 and GT4 platform in British GT (updated)

Another decent weekend for the Vantage GT3 and GT4 platform in British GT (updated)


Whilst an overall race win again illuded the new Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 this weekend, the two one-hour sprint races of the British GT Championship around the Snetterton 300 circuit did at least provide multiple class podium finishes for the two attending AMR Partner teams.

With the Beechdean AMR team sitting this one out, the AMR mantel was being carried by the two Vantage GT3 cars of the Blackthorn AMR team whilst the locally based Forsetti Motorsport team did likewise within GT4.

Thankfully, the rain of Friday night and Saturday morning had long since passed the Norfolk track as both of Sunday’s races took place under ideal conditions although the day did remain overcast and breezy.

Qualifying would see each driver set their respective starting positions and parity was established for race one as both the #10 and #87 Blackthorn cars would start P4 within each of their Silver-Am and Pro-Am classes respectively as would both Forsetti GT4’s would start P2 within their Silver and Pro-Am classes.

As relatively clean start would see good pace within the GT4 class whilst the #87 of Giacomo Petrobelli would move up to P4 on track whilst the #10 car of Matt Topham would drop to P10 overall just ahead of the pit stop window.

Missing their time marker by just a second was enough to destroy the chances of the #10 car as Jonny Adam would be forced to serve a drive through penalty whilst the sister #10 car moved up to P7 once the #87 pitted to serve that penalty.

The two Forsetti cars meanwhile were again running strongly, not strong enough to contend with the race leading Ginetta but with silver additional time for the #7 car of Jamie Day and Mikey Porter and success time penalties for the #47 Pro-Am car of Marc Warren and Will Orton – the running order would change by the time the pit window closed.

How it all panned out was for the #10 Vantage GT3 of Matt Topham and Josh Rowledge to win their second visit to the podium with a Silver-Am P3 finish (the #87 car would finish P12 overall (P8 in class) whilst the two Vantage GT4 runners would scope more championship points by finishing P4 overall for the #7 car (P2 in Silver Cup) with the #47 finishing P5 overall in GT4 (P3 in Pro-Am).

Just a couple of hours later, it was time to do it all again with the second driver per car this time taking the start.

Again, it was an orderly queue through the opening sequence of corners as the #10, #7 and #47 Aston Martins all started from similar grid positions of race one with the #87 car of Adam uncharacteristically down the order in P10 overall having also lost laps in Qualifying due to track limits.

There was opening drama for the Race 1 winning Ginetta and chasing BMW effectively took each other out of the race at only the end of the opening lap and that allowed each Forsetti GT4 crew to otherwise concentrate their efforts on chasing the pacey #90 McLaren Altura from their 3rd and 4th in class as both Rowledge and Adam struggled up front towards the rear of the GT3 pack.

At the start of the pit window, the #87 car of Adam was P11 overall and the #10 car of Rowledge was still P14 but the two Forsetti cars were still P3 and P4 albeit with the ‘lesser’ Pro-Am pairing within the #47 car ahead of the silver classed #7 car.

With just over a quarter of an hour remaining, a Safety Car was called to retrieve a second car stranded just off track on the infield and whilst that counted off for a lot of race time remaining it also closed the pack up again for the final five minutes.

Whilst good for the two AMR GT3 crews ahead looking to pass for position, it wasn’t so good for the two AMR GT4 crews looking to defend as there was the inevitable contact between cars at the restart.

Fortunately, not affecting the four Aston Martin Racing powered runners, the quick run to the flag saw the #87 car eventually finish P7 overall (P6 in class) with their sister #10 car finishing P12 overall (P4 in class).

It was better however in GT4 as the #78 car scooped another P2 overall (P2 in class) with the #47 crew improving to take another P3 overall finish to win their Pro-Am class again.

The next round of the Championship takes the teams back to Donington Park at the start of September.


The application of several post race penalties and event disqualifications have improved the finishing positions with the #10 car moving up to P6 overall / P3 in class till in race one with the #87 car now being listed as finishing P11 overall - P7 in class. The #7 Forsetti car is now listed as P3 overall - P2 in class with the #47 now listed as finishing P5 overall - P3 in class.

Race 2 sees the #10 car now P9/P4 and the #87 now P5/P4. In GT4, the results stay the same for both the Forsetti GT4 crews.

Forsetti Motorsport were also later confirmed as 2024 GT4 Teams Champions.

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey (podium shots) 

Sunday, July 14, 2024 |
Double podium in class for #35 Walkenhorst AMR in GT Masters

Double podium in class for #35 Walkenhorst AMR in GT Masters


Broad smiles finally got etched onto the faces of both Chandler Hull and Nico Hantke as the Walkenhorst Motorsport Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 finally got a round of the German GT Masters Series to write home about.

Competing at the Nurburgring this weekend over what was a 250th race anniversary event for the series saw both the #34 car of Denis Bulatov and Mike David Ortmann compete within the overall Pro class as well as the #35 Pro-Am classed car of Hull and Hantke amongst the field of nineteen cars for this third round of the season.

Running a longer race format race of eighty minutes on Saturday in celebration to the series anniversary, the race suffered a delayed start as a guesting entry collided with the pit lane barrier on the warmup lap before finally getting underway behind perhaps the biggest pace vehicle ever seen within a GT class race!

Whilst running as high as fifth overall, the #34 would finally finish P9 overall (P4 in class) at this double pit stop punctuated race but the #35 would finish at the season best so far in P12 overall – that was P2 within Pro-Am for their first podium finish of the season.

Sundays second race of the weekend was a shorter affair being only forty minutes in length (but the race distance of the weekend was still the usual two hours) as they got underway under bright summer sunshine again.

Still a pit stop punctuated race, Bulatov was unable to wrestle his Aston Martin up higher than P8 whilst Hull again adopted the cautious route in the opening laps towards the rear to move up to P17.

At the end, the #34 again finished P9 overall (P8 in class) whilst the #35 car improved to P11 overall earning themselves a repeat visit to the Pro-Am podium having scooped their second P2 finish of the weekend.

Their next race weekend will be from Spa Francorchamps at the end of August.

Photo credits – Teams / Series / social media
Sunday, July 14, 2024 |
British GT all set for two sprint races tomorrow from Snetterton

British GT all set for two sprint races tomorrow from Snetterton


An interesting day at Snetterton today as the British GT Champion grid embarked upon the first officially timed sessions of the weekend that makes up their fifth round before heading into races six and seven of the 2024 season tomorrow.

Slight changes to the Aston Martin Racing powered contingent as the #97 Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3 of Andrew Howard and Jessica Hawkins was missing through prior commitments with the team owner.

That still left the pair of Blackthorn AMR Vantage GT3’s of both Giacomo Petrobelli/Jonny Adam within the #87 car and Matt Topham/Josh Rowledge aboard the #10 car as well as the two Forsetti Motorsport AMR Vantage GT4’s of both Mikey Porter/Jamie Day aboard the #7 and Marc Warren/Will Orton aboard the #47 car.

Testing again on Friday in dry but windy conditions saw continuation of the performances found by all four cars at the previous round at Spa Francorchamps (even though the #87 car suffered technical failure) to post best lap times towards the head of the screen even though the GT3 runners were struggling with grip.

Torrential overnight rain again washed any rubber laid to welcome todays early runners with a very green Snetterton 300. Free Practice was at 09:30 and with an already damp track, the low hanging grey clouds threatened to dump yet more rain on the circuit.

Tentative opening laps from all, grip was again clearly an issue as only few cars within both classes appeared to be pushing the envelope before most cars sat in their boxes for at least ten minutes before coming out for the final quarter. Eventually, light rain did finally arrive – although not hard enough to effect set up but enough to again make the track more than ‘interesting’ in the words of Warren at the end of session.

The next session, now called Pre-Qualifying went much the same way although the cloud base had lifting, temperatures were rising, and the track was now dry. This time, all runners were on a charge as only four cars were able to circulate without exceeding track limits to have the lap time deleted but the Mercedes and Lamborghini’s were again the pick of the bunch in GT3 and the McLaren Artura and Lotus Emira quickest in GT4.

Finally Qualifying time after lunch and with this round being two-hour long sprint races on Sunday, each driver per car would Qualify their cars respective grid position per race. Starting as usual with the GT3 Am drivers, both Petrobelli and Topham went out first with the Italian eventually finishing fifth quickest (P4 in Pro-Am) with a lap time deleted whilst Topham went clean to finish P9 overall (P4 in Silver-Am).

Next up were the Pro’s with Adam and Rowledge doing the business and in a much more competitive field finished P14/P10 for the #87 of Adam and P14/P4 for the #10 car of Rowledge.

Then came the so far flying Aston Martin Vantage GT4’s from the Forsetti stable with both Warren and Porter up first within the #7 and #47 cars. By now perfect track conditions and not all dashing out with the pack gave both cars ideal track positioning as Porter claimed P2 overall behind the pace setting DTO Ginetta and with Warren coming home somewhat dissatisfied with his own performance P10 overall and P2 within their own GT4 Pro-Am class. 

That was rounded off with both Day and Orton looking to beat those performances and whilst neither could claim pole position, the #47 again stole the march on the #7 by beating them again to claim P4 overall (P2 in class) and with Day finally finishing P6 overall and P3 in class.

That all sets Sunday’s two races up rather nicely, but with both Forsetti cars having to serve additional time within pit lane during race 1, that will be a tough ask even for them.
Saturday, July 13, 2024 |
Italian GT Endurance back in action with L&A Infinity amongst them

Italian GT Endurance back in action with L&A Infinity amongst them


The Italian GT Endurance Championship returns to the track this weekend for its second round of the season as Mugello plays host to an impressive thirty-seven car grid.

Amongst them will be the L&A Infinity (formerly Lazarus Corse) Aston Martin Racing team as their prepare their older 16A variant of the Vantage GT3 for their drivers William Alatalo, Jorge Lorenzo and Mahaveer Raghunathan.

At the opening round of the Endurance side of things from Vallelunga, the #5 crew scored three points within each of the rounds opening races to sit eighth within the GT3 Pro-Am class.

Photo credits – Italian GT
Thursday, July 11, 2024 |
Walkenhorst back on ADAC GT Masters duties - but with a twist this weekend

Walkenhorst back on ADAC GT Masters duties - but with a twist this weekend

Two of Walkenhorst Motorsport’s Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3’s will be back in action again this weekend around the Nurburgring as the ADAC GT Masters Series runs an anniversary special to mark its 250th race.

Usually running a two one-hour race format over the Saturday and Sunday of the race weekend, the series have tweaked the goal posts just a little this time around to see an eighty-minute race on Saturday before a forty-minute race on Sunday – so still the same track time as always!!

Race one will demand two driver changes, tyre change and refuel during one of them within the permitted timeframe whilst race two will require just one.

Both the #35 car of Chandler Hull and Nico Hantke as well as the #34 car of Denis Bulatov and Mike David Ortmann will be in attendance within (still) an undisclosed grid as the #34 looks to capitalise upon gains made during the last round from Zandvoort and for the #35 just to make gains after having endured something of a trying season after the previous two rounds so far.

Results so far leave the #34 crew down in seventh within the overall drivers Championship table whilst the #35 crew are in thirteenth.

Track action started today with testing ahead of Free Practice 1 and 2 tomorrow before Q1 and race 1 on Saturday with the same again on Sunday for race 2.

Photo credits – Team / Series
Thursday, July 11, 2024 |
Long time no see São Paulo with the WEC

Long time no see São Paulo with the WEC


Four weeks after the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship is back in action again this weekend with only their second fly away round of the season so far in Brazil.

Four rounds of the eight-round season now under their belts, the thirty-seven full season entry still face another complete day of motor racing ahead of the before the chequered flag finally comes down on season 12 in Bahrain in late October.

Casting our minds back to the action at the Circuit de La Sarthe – that was not really one to remember in the end as the #777 D’Station Racing AMR Vantage LMGT3 of Satoshi Hoshino, Erwan Bastard and Marco Sorenson eventually finished P9 in class after the #27 Heart of Racing AMR Vantage GT3 of Ian James, Alex Riberas and Daniel Mancinelli exited the race in the early hours of Sunday morning with that scary image of the car rolling onto its roof after a heavy contact with the tyre wall at Indianapolis.

Thankfully, Mancinelli was otherwise OK as he picked himself out of the wreckage of what was left of his car, and we understand that that chassis has now been replaced and rebuilt (alongside the D’Station Racing car) at the Prodrive facility in time to be flown to Sao Paulo for this weekend’s events.

The crews are already at the circuit preparing both their garages and their cars for the track action that begins on Friday morning with the first of three Free Practice sessions.

The only change so far is the expected swap back from Hoshino within the #777 to that of Clement Mateu as the Frenchman’s deal with the Japanese team was to step aside to allow what later became Hoshino’s final racing visit to the event.

Championship wise, that DNF at Le Mans and a poor finish the round before at Spa Francorchamps has seen their early pace falter as they drop to seventh within the LMGT3 Driver table on half the points of the leader whilst the usual two D’Station drivers (Bastard and Sorenson) now sit in fourth thanks to the double points on offer at Le Mans. They are thirty-three points behind the leading crew.

The Six Hours of Sao Paula starts at 11:30 hours local on Sunday.

Photo credits – Teams / Kelvin Pope Firecracker Media
Wednesday, July 10, 2024 |
Eight AMR Vantage GT4 in Iberian Supercars next round from Estoril

Eight AMR Vantage GT4 in Iberian Supercars next round from Estoril


The greatest number of Aston Martin Racing powered crews running this weekend will be within the Iberian Supercars Series who will be running at Estoril with a mighty eight Vantage GT4 entries.

Starting what will only be their second round of their 2024 season so far, the SRO sanctioned series will be running this two-race weekend with another healthy GT4 grid of forty cars.

Racar Motorsport will be the busiest amongst all of them as they again field and AMR powered customer base five car (three within the GT4 Pro class and two within the GT4 Am class) whilst the Araujo Competicao team hosts two GT4 Pro cars with the Mirage Racing team again fielding their solo bronze class entry.

The opening race weekend of the season from Jerez back in late May fielding a collective best of P4 in race at the end of both forty-five-minute pit stop punctuated races.

Here’s hoping for something a bit better this weekend.

Photo credits - Series
Tuesday, July 09, 2024 |
British GT return to to their two sprint race format for this weekends visit to Snetterton

British GT return to to their two sprint race format for this weekends visit to Snetterton


Dispensing with the endurance rounds again sees the British GT Championship return to the UK for their fifth round of the season around the flat Snetterton 300 circuit for what will be two more-hour long sprint races.

Having opened the season with the same format at Oulton Park way back over Easter, subsequent rounds at Silverstone, Donington Park and most recently at Spa Francorchamps have seen the GT3/GT4 grid race the longer format of races with great success for the five Aston Martin Racing powered crews – particularly within the GT4 class.

This weekend, however, sees just four Aston Martin’s make their way up the A11 as the #97 Beechdean AMR of Silver-Am pairing Andrew Howard and Jessica Hawkins miss the event due to prior commitments (and not this time on Hawkin’s F1 side of the equation!)

This weekend’s entry list sees just thirty-three cars make the trip (compared to the thirty-six at the season opener) but with the usual full season protagonists still there including the two Vantage GT3 cars from the Blackthorn AMR and two Vantage GT4 cars from the Forsetti Motorsport teams.

Last month’s visit to Belgium was very much a bittersweet experience for the collective AMR runners as the #97 car of Howard was eliminated with damage at the opening corner whilst the #87 Blackthorn AMR GT3 of Jonny Adam and Giacomo Petrobelli suffered a late engine/transmission issue that robbed them of an otherwise podium pending position.

Whilst that was that the #10 Blackthorn AMR of Matt Topham and Josh Rowledge did secure their first Silver-Am pole position of the year which transferred into a P2 finish in class at the end.

The best results were however reserved for the GT4 class as the Snetterton based Forsetti team enjoyed another podium double for their #47 Pro-Am and #7 Silver Cup entries of Marc Warren/Will Orton and Mikey Porter/Jamie Day respectively.

Those results have seen the #10 car move up to P4 within the GT3 Silver-Am title chase, the #87 GT3 drop to P9 within the GT3 Pro-Am class whilst both Forsetti crews lead their respective drivers championships as well as the GT4 Teams Championship by nearly double the points to their nearest competitor.

Weather forecasts for the weekend presently show both Saturday and Sunday as being dry and possibly pushing up to 20 degrees on race day – so in other words, absolutely anything can happen and usually will!!

Photo credits – Jacob Ebrey / teams / social media
Tuesday, July 09, 2024 |
An Italian delight as the Aston Martins prove their pace in ELMS thriller

An Italian delight as the Aston Martins prove their pace in ELMS thriller


The third round of the European Le Mans Series from Imola in Italy yesterday produced one of the best rounds in recent memory as the forty-three cars spread across four available classes battled for position until the very end.

With two Aston Martin Racing Vantage LMGT3 powered crews amongst the eleven strong class, both the #59 Racing Spirit of Leman and #97 Grid Motorsport by TF were never far from the pinnacle of the action thanks to their recent change in Balance of Performance that changed the cars power to weight ratio around the curvy and undulating Italian circuit.

Early indications were good as both the #59 car of Derek DeBoer, Casper Stevenson and Valentin Hasse-Clot and the #97 car of Martin Berry, Lorcan Hanafin and Jonny Adam featured towards the top of the timing screen during the earlier private testing which extended into both Free Practice and Bronze Driver sessions where DeBoer headed the class in the latter.

In Qualifying, both DeBoer and Berry each took a crack at breaking the Iron Dames hold onto the front row position, with the #59 car holding top slot briefly before having to settle for second best with the #97 starting in fifth in the heat of Saturday afternoon.

Another Sunday morning start had seen overnight rain and thankfully cooler and cloudier conditions at the start of the four-hour race with the American DeBoer gaining quick ground over the #85 Iron Dames Porsche to lead the class into the first corner of the opening lap.

That lead was however short lived as a wide line from the Aston Martin allowed the Porsche to easily pass after just ten minutes with the #97 having an early scare with a spinning prototype immediately in front of it which brought out the first (of many) caution periods.

In a change of strategy, the #59 was able to ‘pass’ the #85 car again within pit lane but this game of cat and mouse was turned around again just after the first hour as the #85 passed the #59 literally two seconds before another FCY was enforced. That would see the minimum drive of the bronze rated drivers done with either Stevenson (silver) climbing aboard the #59 or Adam (platinum) aboard the #97 car for the middle stint at least.

Further cautions, interruptions and pit stop strategy had allowed both the #59 and #97 cars to catch the #85 on track to follow each other around the circuit on limiter which was kind of comical to produce a class 1-2-3 all in three car lengths.

With little under an hour to go, all the LMGT3 cars made their final stops with Hasse-Clot and Hanafin aboard their respective cars in a class chase to the flag. Whilst the Porsche elected for no tyres and the #59 offside only, the longevity of their equipment as well as driver skill would answer the ultimate racing question.

Further cautions and two inadvertent contact with the rear of the Porsche from the Frenchman thankfully didn’t take the class leader off track or earn the #59 car any penalties from Race Control but the Porsche was looking capable of retaining the lead despite the pressure being offered from behind.

Into the final ten minutes and the #97 had been caught and passed by the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari dropping the Grid Motorsport by TF Aston down to fourth in class as finally, the #85 crossed the line first by just 0.7 of a second to claim the win with the #59 Spirit of Leman AMR in second.

The #97 would however come under the scrutiny of Race Control after the chequered flag as Hanafin’s off track excursions were judged as exceeding track limits despite his black and white flag warning. For that, the car would get a retrospective 35 second time penalty in lieu of a drive through penalty which would take the car down to P5 within the results.

Championship wise, Imola’s results did the two Aston Martin crews no harm whatsoever as a consecutive podium finish for the #59 crew elevated them up to second in the LMGT3 Drivers Championship table with the #97 crew now up to seventh as the Series looks ahead to its next round at Spa Francorchamps in August.

Photo credits – Team / Series / social media
Monday, July 08, 2024 |