Joining The Racers Group for a remaining season of the Pirelli world Challenge will be Jerry Kaufman and Kyle Tilley. The pair will race with TRG’s Aston Martin V8 Vantage squad for SprintX GTS races, debuting in April at VIRginia International Raceway.
In 2016, The Racers Group (TRG) won the SprintX GTS Team and Drivers’ championship, a new format for the PWC series. Kaufman, from Mooresville, N.C. raced with his driver coach Tilley, of Bath, England, throughout 2016. The duo’s on-track teamwork is formidable and bodes well for a win. In 2013, Kaufman was the National Champion BMW driver, winning two races overall, six class wins, and the rookie of the year title. The driver has since focused on perfecting his race craft and in 2016 competed in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge with Tilley. Now, Kaufman looks forward to driving the powerful Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
“Aston Martin has built the car to beat in GT4 worldwide by combining V8 power with great handling you would expect from a european sports car,” says Kaufman. “It’s a terrific venue with one of the best tracks in the country with fast turns and long straights. It should be a great start to the season.”
Kaufman and Tilley met through an SCCA endurance race team in 2015. Kaufman was ready to move to the pro level and his friendship and working relationship with Tilley continues to result in steady strengthening of his driving skills.
Tilley is a second-generation racing driver with elite-level open and closed wheel experience. He’s earned a championship in the British Formula Ford series, taking 11 wins, 9 pole positions and 12 fastest laps in 12 races. Since moving up to the pro racing level five years ago, he’s achieved impressive stats: 40 pole positions, 29 wins, and 2 championships in 70 races. Now, as both a driver coach and co-driver for Kaufman in TRG’s Aston Martin program, his focus is on a strong debut in Virginia.
“I am thrilled to be joining The Racers Group for 2017,” said Tilley. “Not only is it exciting to make my debut in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX GTS Championship this season, I get to do it with the most successful sportscar team in history and my close friend Jerry Kaufman.”
Source material - TRG-AMR
New season. Same spirit. Aston Martin Racing is back with a trio of V8 Vantage GTEs, fighting once again for honours in the world’s premiere endurance racing series; the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
While the team’s challenger may be familiar to motorsport aficionados, the team is proud to announce that Daniel Serra (BR) will join Aston Martin Racing for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. While this year will see Serra take his debut in the WEC, the Brazilian has already completed countless laps in the team’s V8 Vantage GTE throughout an intensive testing and development programme with tyre supplier Dunlop. The Brazilian will race alongside both 2016 European Le Mans Series champion and AMR stalwart Darren Turner (GB) and 2016 British GT champion Jonny Adam (GB).
Serra said, “What an amazing opportunity it is to be joining Aston Martin Racing in 2017. Having worked with the team last year in testing, it’s great to now step up and have the chance to help fight for strong results, in what is going to be a really competitive field in this year’s WEC. I’d like to thank the team for this opportunity and I cannot wait to start working with Darren and Jonny. Both are real professionals on and off the track and I hope we can bring the fight to our rivals this season”.
New Zealander Richie Stanaway (NZ) also returns to the Aston Martin Racing fold for 2017, joining last year’s championship-winning pair Marco Sørensen (DN) and Nicki Thiim (DN) in the #95 ‘Danetrain’.
Stanaway said, “It’s great to be back at WEC this weekend and to be back with the team for this season. Obviously it’s going to be a little different driving with the Danes this year, but having worked with these guys over the past few years, we already understand each other really well. Both Marco and Nicki are ultra-quick and I’m hoping we can be challenging for victories straight away at Silverstone, Spa and then for the big one at Le Mans”.
Both Serra and Stanaway will join the team’s #97 and #95 crews respectively for the 6 Hours of Silverstone and 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, prior to the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Talking of both appointments, Aston Martin Racing Team Principal Paul Howarth said, “I’m hugely excited to have both Daniel and Richie on-board with the team this season. Both of them bring with them the speed and consistency that we look for in any driver here at Aston Martin Racing. While Richie has of course raced with us for many seasons, Daniel is also well known within our operation. We are a team with big ambitions following our championship successes last year and while the competition will undoubtedly be tough, it is our objective to be on the top step of the podium at Le Mans in June”.
Returning for the 2017 season, the V8 Vantage GTE continues to sport its striking Stirling Green and Lime livery. With motorsport firmly engrained in Aston Martin’s DNA, this iconic livery now remains the hallmark for the marque’s new performance brand, AMR.
Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month by Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer, all Aston Martin models will be treated to an AMR derivative, beginning with the Rapide AMR and Vantage AMR Pro models revealed by Aston Martin Racing drivers Thiim and Sørensen.
With the team committed to a further five seasons in FIA World Endurance Championship, Aston Martin is better placed than ever to provide excitement both on and off the track.
Aston Martin Racing returns to competition at the season opening 6 Hours of Silverstone over 14-16 April, with the official series’ test ‘The Prologue’ taking place this weekend (1-2 April) at Monza, Italy.
A record breaking grid of 33 cars have been confirmed for the opening round of the new (for 2017) European GT4 Northern Cup series that starts at Misano, Italy this weekend.
Amongst the grid of many Porsche Cayman's, McLaren 570's, KTM X-Bow's, Maseriati's, etc shall be two Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4's belonging to Belgium team Street Art Racing and UK team Academy Motorsport.
Rejoining the championship for Street Art Racing is 2016 Am Champion Jerome Demay in the teams colourful #007 car - he will be joined by Royal Automobile Club of Belgium team driver Denis Dupont as they also move up to the Pro category.
Committing to their first full season in this championship is the British Academy Motorsport team of Matt Nichol-Jones and Will Moore with their #62 car. Moore and another former team mate, Dennis Strandberg saw out the series finale at Zandvoort last year narrowly missing out on an podium finish and they obviously liked what they saw.
Having shaken down their car this week at the British GT Media Day at Snetterton on Tuesday at least the team will only have a 'few' decals to swap!!
Track action starts on Friday afternoon with the first free practice, followed by the second practice session at 6.20 pm. Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon with the start of Race 1 at 9pm. Race 2 will get underway at 2pm on Sunday afternoon.
Both races will be streamed live HERE
SAR Photo Credit - FFSA GT
This weekend sees those entered into the 2017 World Endurance Championship attend the official two day Prologue (test) at the Autodromo Di Monza, Italy and for Aston Martin Racing that means shipping out three V8 Vantage GTE cars and at least eight drivers.
Like the banner above says it is of course a new season and the team has evolved slightly over the winter from last season.
The most notable changes are the loss of the Young Driver management team for the 2016 GTE Championship winning #95 Dane Train of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen who now resort back into the race operational control of the AMR team and the driver swap confirmation of Jonny Adam now permanently pairing with Darren Turner in the #97 car.
The team enters the 2017 season off the back of some significant winter and tyre development testing at circuits including Sebring, Paul Ricard and Motorland Aragon. Wee will have to wait to see which way the #98 GTE Am car of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda will in regards to tyres as they did of course see out 2016 with Michelin but were at the Aragon test in back in March testing last years GTE Pro Championship winning Dunlop's.
The main question regarding the GTE Pro cars will of course be the extent of the Balance of Performance applied to the cars by the FIA prior to the first round of the championship at Silverstone in a couple of weeks time. Lets just hope that last year's race by race adjustment is a thing of the past!
News released by the team today have confirmed Richie Stanaway will indeed be joining the #95 crew for the first two rounds of the WEC as well as at Le Mans but in a surprise move, they have also confirmed that Dunlop tyre development drover Daniel Serra will make up the third driver role in the Turner/Adam #97 car - great reward for an individual who has put so much time and effort into developing the Dunlop AMR confidential tyre to such a successful degree in just over a season.
Additionally, and in tradition with AMR supporting the parent brand - all the factory GTE cars will bear a livery similar to that shown upon the recently released AMR inspired road cum track cars.
Tuesday saw the SRO hold the annual Media Day event for their British GT Championship at the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk.
In typical UK weather style, the proceeding day's clear blue skies and sunshine had been replaced with a dank grey morning shrouding the circuit in thick (but at least) clearing fog that would hold up the proceedings on track and those travelling to the track for about an hour.
#TeamAMR arrived with a somewhat reduced force in comparison with previous years with just four cars from three teams. 2016 GT3 Champion Jonny Adam was at the circuit early along with his Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 and a couple of engineers from TF Sport whilst co-driver Derek Johnston was apparently enjoying the delights of the A14 on a foggy Tuesday morning travelling the notorious stretch between Huntingdon and Cambridge - he would eventually arrive just in time for the start of the first session!
Sadly, neither the team's other car nor Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer were not at the circuit and the #1 car would run only limited laps during the first session before all departed the circuit just after lunch with pressing engagements for some elsewhere in Europe this week.
Speaking with Derek Johnston in the paddock he couldn't praise the efforts of his driver coach highly enough, speaking about Adam being on a whole new level of professionalism and commitment what with his reinstated factory drive in the WEC and continued Blancpain duties with Ahmad Al Harthy.
Principle objective - successfully defend their GT3 titles (obviously!)
Sharing the garage alongside TF Sport were BGT returnees Academy Motorsport with the single AMR V8 Vantage #62 GT4 of Matt Nichol-Jones joining forces again with Will Moore.
The #62 car also ran limited laps over the first and middle session either side of lunch as both the car and drivers are also competing within the SRO sister series - the European GT4 Northern Cup Championship that kicks off this weekend in Misano, Italy having last raced together in Europe in the now defunct Euro Series by Nova in 2015.
That left the two cars from MacMillan Racing - the return of the teams #42 GT4 from last year now in the capable hands of Will Phillips and Dane Jan Jonck and the teams (new for 2017) V12 #24 GT3 for James Littlejohn and Jack Mitchell, who himself steps up from the teams GT4 car. Both cars are now being prepared by the Prodrive factory.
Both cars are entered into their respective class's Silver Cup Championship although the team made it no secret that they will want them to be battling for both class and overall race wins.
Following the 'trend' that soon became apparent during the day, both of these cars also only ran limited laps over the first two sessions with each driver completing only about ten laps per session. Why? - we are not really too sure as the day was (as confirmed by Mitchell) their first test since the collective AMR test in Portimao back in February but tyre availability and part lifespan was given as a reason.
Then, there are no prizes for damaging your car unnecessarily in pre season testing!!
Amongst the crowd was spotted a certain John Gaw from Aston Martin Racing chatting freely amongst the MacMillan Racing management team ahead of his travel across to Monza where the European Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championships are holding their Prologue Tests this week. It was good to see that an obviously very busy man can take time out to support his Partner Teams in other championships!
Whilst it was disappointing not to see the five, full season entries at the test or those who were there to run for the majority of the time but at least it is not very long until the start of the 2017 season proper - over the Easter weekend in fact at Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire in just over two weeks time.
See you there!
The first of the 2017 VLN series of races returned to the Nordschleife today with the four hour
ADAC Westfalenfahrt race.
Commanding an extremely impressive 41 car entry just for the test, the ELMS is certainly a sportscar series running on high after rejuvenating itself a few years ago after the series had ‘lost its way’. That increase in demand is admittedly down to the introduction of the LMP3 category in 2015 but demand for GTE places has remained largely constant.
Seven GTE cars are listed as attending next weeks test, amongst them of course are the #99 crew of the 2016 ELMS Champions – Beechdean AMR’s Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and newcomer to the series Ross Gunn.
Having last ran together at the Aston Martin Racing Winter Test in Portimao in February, they will be eager to bake to business in the subtly reliveried V8 Vantage which is presently en-route to the circuit.
Joining them across the garage bay will be series newcomers and fellow AMR Partner Team, TF Sport with their own beautifully liveried #90 V8 Vantage affectionately named 'The Honey Badger'. Entering the series in order to uphold their ACO invitation to run in the 2017 24Hours of Le Mans by virtue of winning last years GT3 Le Mans Cup Team Championship this event will be a major step up the GT racing ladder for both Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey.
After the necessary Series checks and media photographs, the 3.6mile circuit will see four – three hour test sessions being made available to the teams over the two days (morning and afternoon) with a two hour ‘into the night’ session on Tuesday evening.
The six round 2017 season of course starts at the WEC opener at Silverstone over the Easter weekend of 14/15th April with a return to the Italian circuit in mid May for round two. The series concludes in Portimao, Portugal at the end of October.
The 2017 British GT Championship hits the tracks for the first time next week in its collective form with its annual Media Day presentation, again at Snetterton, Norfolk next Tuesday (28th March).
With a couple of other European series also winding up to the start of their respective season over this week and next forcing their attendance else where, a slightly reduced entry list for Tuesday’s event has therefore been published.
TF Sport return with their quartet of drivers they supported last year with 2016 GT3 Champions Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston in the #1 car and Mark Farmer and Jon Barnes back in the #11. Both cars will be again competing in the Pro/Am championship and although present at the test, both cars will not be running on track.
That car will be supported by the return of the team’s #42 V8 Vantage GT4 for Will Phillips, as he swaps from the Ginetta platform and young Dane Jan Jonck as he steps up from single seaters.
Of course, Tuesday’s event is not just for the benefit of the accredited series media as the does also include three, one hour test sessions on track for both the GT and British F3 entry.
Track action starts at 09.00 through till lunch and again from 14.00 till 17.30 and entry is FREE
The first round of the British GT Championship is over the Easter weekend of the 15th and 17th April at Oulton Park.
Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey / AMR / Academy / BGT