Staying out of trouble earned Stoner Car Care team their first Bronze Cup podium in Michelin Pilot Challenge

Staying out of trouble earned Stoner Car Care team their first Bronze Cup podium in Michelin Pilot Challenge

 


Survival was the name of the game Saturday at Road America, as the Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing team avoided the trouble that caused five caution periods to bring its Aston Martin Vantage GT4 home in second in the Bronze Cup and 14th overall in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge’s Road America 240.

With ambient temperatures near 90 and track temps over 100, drivers Rob Ecklin, Jr. and Ramin Abdolvahabi knew they had a challenge ahead in the No. 09 Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage GT4 – with their usual Stoner Car Care Aston Martin sidelined with a differential issue, the team recalled the iconic colors back into action on Friday afternoon.

With past IMPC races as a benchmark, the team knew a four-hour race at the vaunted Wisconsin road course would hold nonstop action – and more than a few incidents. The game plan as always was to play it smart, making judicious passes and taking advantage where they could as they sought their first Bronze Cup victory (for Bronze FIA-rated drivers).The action commenced from the drop of the green, as 39 cars diced for position. Abdolvahabi, starting 23rd, got the worst of it on lap one – hit from behind and from the side in turn three. 


Assessing the damage, he and the team determined that the car was not badly damaged, so Abdolvahabi continued. The first caution came only 20 minutes into the race, and the team made a strategy call to save time, calling Abdolvahabi into pit lane for left-side Michelin tires and fuel.

"On that first lap, one car shut the door on me and we made contact, which sent me into another car," said Abdolvahabi. "Then he hit me from behind. I'm just glad I was able to keep it on the road and keep it going, we're lucky we didn't get spun around. But that's the sort of thing that happens in such close racing! The car just wasn't the same after that - the steering was fine, but the toe seemed a bit off. We just didn't have the pace."

The race went green, yellow, green, yellow in rapid succession over the next hour, but Abdolvahabi made smart moves and took advantage of a round of late pit stops to move up to P14. He held steady throughout the final minutes of his stint, handing off to Ecklin with just over two hours remaining.


But shortly thereafter, it was Ecklin’s turn to get tagged from behind in what was rapidly becoming a game of bumper cars. He fought the ill-handling car but still laid down steady laps, climbing from P22 up to P16 with 40 minutes remaining. When the checkered flag flew, Ecklin was second in the Bronze Cup standings and P14 overall.

"Staying out of trouble was key today - those were some hard hits out there today,” said Ecklin. “I couldn't feel anything technically wrong with the car, but it was just off pace. I couldn't gain time anywhere. So it was a matter of managing fuel and keeping the car on track. This is a very physical track to race on for four hours, so while we're disappointed not to get the Bronze Cup win, we're happy to have brought the car home."

"Rob and I really wanted P1 in Bronze Cup," said Abdolvahabi. "The strategy was spot-on, but all those hits just took us out of contention."“Finishing on the lead lap after four hours, with a wounded car from lap one on, with some good strategy along the way, I’m pretty happy with that,” said Automatic Racing team manager David Russell. “Driver changes were good, crew work was excellent, and we survived it with a whole car – and in this race, that’s a positive outcome.” 


The Stoner Car Care team continues to support End Alzheimer’s Racing, carrying decals on the car to help their efforts to raise funds and awareness.

Next up for the Stoner Car Care team will be the Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix from VIRginia International Raceway.

Source material - Stoner Car Care
Monday, August 08, 2022 | Read more...
A revised nine AMR Vantage GT4 car effort gets ready for ADAC GT4 Germany from the Nurburgring

A revised nine AMR Vantage GT4 car effort gets ready for ADAC GT4 Germany from the Nurburgring

 


After a brief summer break since their last round at Zandvoort on the Dutch coast, the German ADAC GT4 Germany Series is back in action this weekend with their fourth round from the Nurburgring.

For the nine Aston Martin Racing powered teams that entered round three, it was an emphatic display from the #24 PROsport Racing car of Mike David-Ortmann and Hugo Sasse who converted two outright pole positions into two overall race wins to elevate themselves up the Drivers Championship leader board. 


There were also further podium finishes for the #7 Dorr Motorsport Aston Martin of Ben Dorr and Romain Leroux who finished just behind the #24 car each time as well as the #48 PROsport Racing car of Yevgen Sokolovskiy and Christopher Rohner who finished third and second in their own Trophy class.

This time around in Germany, we still see nine Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4’s but with a small twist in who.


Having raced at Zandvoort as a one-off, the Team Speed Monkeys car of Jacob Riegel and Marc de Fulgencio is not amongst this weekend’s provisional entry list (obviously), but the numbers have been made up with a third car from PROsport Racing.

Again, we see both the #24 and #48 full season cars as listed above, but we also see the addition of another (as yet) un-numbered car for German drivers Leon Wassertheurer and Donar Munding. Wassertheurer is already a contender within the ADAC GT4 Germany Series having competed with the W&S Motorsport team in one of their Porsche’s whilst Munding steps across to GT4’s for the first time having competed previously in various LMP3 series.


Other returning entries include the #99 Team Speed Monkeys car of Paul Aural K├Ânig and Konstantin Lachenauer after their series debut together in Holland, the #6 Racing One entry from Tom Wood and Euan McKay as well as the remaining Dorr entries for #69 Phil/Indy Dontjie, #95 Simon Connor Prim/Nico Hantke and the #97 car for brothers Sandro/Juliano Holzem.

Championship wise, Phil Dorr and Dontjie still lead the overall table by five points from both Sasse/David-Ortmann and Ben Dorr and Romain Leroux with Wood/McKay some thirty-one points behind them. 


In the Junior Class, Sasse leads Leroux and Ben Dorr by six with Sokolovskiy in joint third in the Trophy class with Dorr Motorsport thirty points ahead of PROsport Racing the teams table.

Photo credits – ADAC GT4 Germany / Teams
Tuesday, August 02, 2022 | Read more...
Stoner Car Care Aston Martin back in Michelin Pilot Challenge this weekend at Road America

Stoner Car Care Aston Martin back in Michelin Pilot Challenge this weekend at Road America

 


The challenge is set for the Stoner Car Care Racing fielded by Automatic Racing team this weekend: prepare for some of the hottest temperatures yet this season as the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge is set to feature the second endurance race of the season, the four-hour Road America 240.

Drivers Rob Ecklin, Jr. and Ramin Abdolvahabi, veterans of numerous races at Road America, look to capture that elusive Bronze Cup victory as they return to the legendary Wisconsin circuit with their No. 09 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin Vantage GT4. The Bronze Cup recognises the top drivers in the Grand Sport (GS) class who are in the FIA-rated Bronze category, denoting drivers who are not full-time professionals – but who are fully dedicated to improving their racing craft.


The Michelin Pilot Challenge series traditionally contests two four-hour endurance races each season, with the first at Daytona in January. This year, the second endurance race makes its debut at Road America, bringing a unique set of challenges to driver, team and equipment – especially given the expected temperatures in the 90s.

Teams often add a third driver for the endurance events but like Daytona, the Stoner Car Care team will stay with its usual two-driver lineup this weekend – though in dramatically different weather conditions than they saw in January.


“We contested the four-hour race at Daytona with just Ramin and I, so we know what to expect,” said Ecklin. “Though of course, the weather will be very different this weekend! We’re looking forward to the chance for more track time at Road America: it’s such an iconic track in terms of history and location.

“The key for Saturday is strategy and looking at how to manage that with two drivers,” continued Ecklin. “Fuel stops, yellows, and of course, the driver himself – ideally, you change drivers halfway, but this is a very physical track and with the heat, that’s the biggest challenge. You have to rest where you can on the straights, because you’ll need it on the tight sections. And some of these corners are pretty loaded, G-force wise. It will definitely be an endurance test.”


The team conducted a two-day test with both drivers two weeks ago at VIRginia International Raceway and came away with solid setup for the Road America weekend. Automatic Racing team manager David Russell has a plan in place, but knows that plans can rapidly change, especially in an endurance event.

“We had a good test two weeks ago at VIR, so we definitely feel ready,” offered Russell. “As Rob said, there isn’t a big difference in pre-race prep for a four-hour race, but it is a strategy change – especially with only two drivers. We have that planned but of course, looking at probable pace and tire degradation – we can’t look at historical data regarding Road America caution periods, though, because of the longer race. We’ll stop at least three times, if not four, and we have to factor in where to place the driver change, working from the end of the race backwards. Obviously though, racing usually does not go to plan!”


Russell also looks forward to an added “family” dynamic this weekend on the Stoner Car Care team.

“This is a special weekend for a lot of reasons,” said Automatic Racing team manager David Russell. “Two of our team guys, Ryan and Aaron Szyjakowski, are from Milwaukee and their dad Joseph will be out here helping this weekend! It’s going to be a lot of fun to have them all involved.”

The Stoner Car Care team continues to support End Alzheimer’s Racing, carrying decals on the car to help their efforts to raise funds and awareness.


The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge 240 from Road America takes the green flag Saturday at 2:15 p.m.

Source material – Stoner Car Care
Monday, August 01, 2022 | Read more...
Five Astons for the second running of Nashvilles Music City Grand Prix in GT America

Five Astons for the second running of Nashvilles Music City Grand Prix in GT America

 


Unlike last year when there were just two cars competing amongst the combined GT3 and GT4 entry list sees this weekend’s GT America only visit to the Nashville Music City Grand Prix feature a more than healthy five Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 attendance.


Undoubtedly the street circuit layout dissuading several of the Gentleman driver only series entrants from travelling to Nashville, we do again see the #2 GMG Racing AMR of Jason Bell as well as the #25 Heart of Racing car of Gray Newell who took that bold choice to attend last year.


They will be joined this time around by the #50 car of Ross Chouest, the #55 Accelerating Performance Aston of Moisey Uretsky as well as the #888 Zelus Motorsport entered car of Sean Whalen amongst the recorded 31 cars on the provisional entry list.

If we recall correctly, the inaugural event last season was heavily affected by long periods of caution that all be destroyed the event in contrast to the spectacle that race organisers had intended within their two forty-minute races.


With the season having started way back at the end of February around the streets of St Petersburg, these two races form rounds nine and ten of a season that will end to events at Road America, Sebring and finally at Indianapolis to end the year in October.


As usual, the two races will be streamed live via the series social media channels.

Photo credits – Teams / GT America
Monday, August 01, 2022 | Read more...
Another gruelling Spa 24 for Beechdean AMR but their best result to date

Another gruelling Spa 24 for Beechdean AMR but their best result to date


Beechdean AMR scored their best result of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season in the most gruelling edition of the 24 Hours of Spa in living memory last weekend. 

The team from High Wycombe finished 10th overall with their #95 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 driven by Danish World Champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen plus local hero and former Spa 24 Hours race winner Maxime Martin.

But the result only tells a small part of the story of a race that will go down in history as one in which reaching the chequered flag represented something of a triumph.

Working their way forwards through Thursday’s practice sessions, the #95 Vantage made it through to the two-lap ‘Superpole’ shootout that determined the polesitter and qualified 16th in class thanks to Belgian hero Maxime’s efforts.

The race began in typical Spa fashion with several cars sustaining instant damage, but both the #95 and #97 Vantage GT3s began off strongly with Nicki and David on driving duties. A slew of Full-Course Yellow and Safety Car periods upset the rhythm of the race through Saturday afternoon and into the night and meant that adaptability became even more of a factor than normal at Spa.

While the current series Balance of Performance (BoP) meant that the Vantage could not match some of the other models at Spa on pure pace, a combination of flawless driving by Nicki, Marco and Maxime and a sensational strategic plan meant that as the sun came up on Sunday morning, with 10 hours left, #95 lay a staggering fourth overall.

For the next eight hours the position of the car fluctuated around the top 10 based on where the pit cycle was at any given moment, but as the various strategies began to converge with three hours left, the car’s fortunes took a nosedive. Side-by-side contact at Eau Rouge between Nicki and the eventual race winner at a time when they were battling for third led to the Dane spinning wildly through 540 degrees up the hill and coming to a standstill for a moment.

While no damage was sustained – other than to a set of tyres – it was the incident that dropped #95 out of victory contention. Marco and Maxime combined over the rest of the race to take 10th spot in both the Pro Cup and overall. The sister #97 Vantage was entered – for the first time in 2022 – in the Silver Cup, having switched from the Gold Cup less than a week ahead of the event when Team Principal Andrew Howard’s business commitments left him unable to race.

Team regular Theo Nouet therefore had three new co-drivers in Canadian Roman de Angelis and British duo David Pittard and Charlie Fagg; the quartet qualifying 13th in class and 43rd overall. David moved up seven places overall by the end of his first double-stint; the car lying 10th in class when Theo was fired off the track and into a race-ending incident against the Les Combes tyre barrier in the third hour.

Having elected to miss the event himself due to his ongoing business commitments, Team Principle Andrew Howard added “Firstly I want to say how proud I am of every member of the team, who gave everything they had and more at Spa. Fundamentally we didn’t have the pace in the car to win the race, but thanks to some incredible driving by Nicki, Marco and Maxime – who were right on the limit the whole way – and some exceptional decisions by the Beechdean AMR team with the strategy, we worked our way into the top three with a couple of hours to go. 

Ultimately Nicki had the spin as a result of the contact with the car that won. He could have backed out when the two cars were side-by-side, but we’d decided as a team that if we were going to have the best chance of a good result, we had to – as he says – ‘Go hard or go home’. We had to take risks and we’ll take the consequences on the chin when they don’t pay off. Spa is the ultimate 24-hour race and this year’s event was ferocious. 


All things considered, a top-10 finish – our best result of the year – feels like a success. A podium, honestly, would have felt like a win. We rolled the dice with both cars, but naturally I’m hugely disappointed for the crew of #97. This race chooses who wins and who crashes and it decided it wasn’t going to be the race for that car. David, Charlie and Roman were all new to the team for Spa and each one settled in brilliantly. Some of that was down to the work Valentin Hasse-Clot did with them, so he deserves praise for the way he dealt with having to step out of the car when we switched it to the Silver Cup late-on. 

There are two races left of the Endurance Cup so what we need to do now is to reflect on the performance of the Vantage GT3 within the current environment and make an assessment going forwards on what’s best for the team.”


The next round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup takes place at Hockenheim in early September.

Source Material - Beechdean AMR
Photo credits - Red Firecracker

Monday, August 01, 2022 | Read more...
Win one - lose one as two Aston Martins return for Michelin Pilot Challenge from Road America this weekend

Win one - lose one as two Aston Martins return for Michelin Pilot Challenge from Road America this weekend

 


With the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship of course comes the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series in support as forty GS and TCR based cars travel to battle again at Road America for their eighth round of the season.

Featuring another healthy grid, we welcome back the two Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 crews of the #7 Volt Racing of Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman as well as the #09 Stoner Car Care car of Rob Ecklin and Ramin Abdolvahabi after they elected to sit out the fast and tight circuit of Lime Rock Park last time out.


Since the last round however, we have also had it confirmed from multiple sources that the #12 Corsa Horizon crew of Manny Franco and Josh Hurley will not be competing again within the series this season for what has been described as a personal preference from the teams customer racer.

That is a great shame considering just how far they had come since their audition within the series at no other venues than Daytona having never raced that car before!!


Last time out at Lime Rock, the sole Aston Martin of Brynjolfsson and Hindman brought home their car for another podium finish in second overall to extend their overall GS Champiosnhip lead from the Mercedes of Eric Foss and Christian Szymczak after they endured another lowly points finish there.


There two hours race will start of Saturday at 14:15hrs local

Photo credits - Teams
Monday, August 01, 2022 | Read more...
Still much to race for by Heart of Racing as IMSA reconvenes at Road America

Still much to race for by Heart of Racing as IMSA reconvenes at Road America

 


Despite their disappointments from the events of last weekend at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, it will be just a couple of days off for the Heart of Racing team before being back on an aeroplane to be ready for the latest round of the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship from Road America.

Whilst the team’s GTD Pro drivers of Ross Gunn and Alex Riberas did eventually get to race out the Spa 24 having been hobbled by two early punctures and then front-end damage, their GTD driver Roman De Angelis sadly didn’t to race as his #97 Beechdean Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 got eliminated very early in the proceedings with another driver behind the wheel.


His co-driver, Maxime Martin was also there in Belgium as he helped his #95 Pro class Beechdean AMR crew come home in tenth after another physical round of the GT3 flagship event around that iconic circuit.

This weekend’s events in Wisconsin however, continue a rich vein of success for the team having secured a number of class wins and podiums over recent rounds as both crews celebrated a P2 finish in their respective classes at the last round of the Championship at Lime Rock Park.


With just Road America and the final round of the Sprint Cup from Virginia International Raceway, De Angelis is now right back in contention to defend his 2021 crown with now being just 212 points behind the Championship leading BMW crew. Then in the overall Championship, the #23 GTD Pro crew of Gunn and Riberas have now elevated themselves up to forth in the table some 271 points that classes leading Porsche crew with these next two races remaining.

This weekend’s race sees a return to the normal five classes with just five cars competing again within the GTD Pro class and eleven cars within the GTD class.


There is still much to race for but sadly for us, we will be away so won't be able to watch it this time!!
Monday, August 01, 2022 | Read more...
So nearly a perfect double for the D'Station Racing team in Super Taikyu

So nearly a perfect double for the D'Station Racing team in Super Taikyu

 


It was something of a successful visit to Sugo for the D’Station Racing team this weekend at their latest round (and their first round together) for the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 and GT8R crews in the Japanese Super Taikyu Series.

Having been forced to skip all the preceding rounds thanks to the conflicts within their World Endurance Championship programme, the AMR Vantage GT3 crew of Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Tsubasa Kondo qualified their #777 car in seventh whilst their Vantage GT8R crew of Max Orido, Kenji Hama, Tatsuya Hoshino, and Jake Parson would start this five-hour race from P21 overall and P2 in their own ST-1 class.


Starting on a dry track under warm sunshine, early gains under race pace were quickly taken by the #777 car as the first signs of rain appeared around the circuit just fifteen minutes in as an early FCY for a stranded car showed most cars with their windscreen wipers on but there certainly wasn’t any sign of cars jumping into the pit lane for wets at that stage.

As the sun returned and the race approached half distance, both the #777 and #47 D’Station cars were circulating second in the respective classes as the rains returned, this time with a vengeance with just an hour remaining.


With forty minutes remaining, the #777 car took the lead of the race from the #62 Nissan GT-R as the track became wetter by the lap but then one error later, the Aston was again behind in second before a last lap pass after a late FCY sealed their return to the series for the #777 car with an overall race win as well as a class win for the #47 car.


A post-race penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag however would earn the #777 car a 50 second time penalty which relegated the car to second overall.

Photo credits – D’Station Racing
Sunday, July 31, 2022 | Read more...
A small return to racing success for the Aston Martin crews in GT4 European Series at Spa Francorchamps

A small return to racing success for the Aston Martin crews in GT4 European Series at Spa Francorchamps


The fourth round of the GT4 European Series concluded at Spa Francorchamps earlier today with an improvement in results for just a few of the eleven Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 powered teams entered.

With all bar a couple of these teams succeeding with any decent result at the last round of the season from Misano at the end of June had the Racing One, AGS Events, Prosport Racing and the Racing Spirit of Lemans teams all desperate for success at this weekend’s two race from Spa in order to make up for that lost ground in their respective Am, Pro-Am or Silver Cup classes.

For some however, their season long troubles continued as both the #7 and #80 AGS Events Racing cars technical woes for drivers Noah Andy/Hugo Conde and Tom Verdier/Ruben Del Sarte had them all struggling for any competitive lap times in during either Qualifying session on Friday after the whole grid had lost out on their first Free Practice session thanks to barrier damage in the earlier GT3 session and a continual supply of red flags interrupted each session up until the start of race one.

Eventually starting the first race under the setting sun of Friday evening, Kenton Koch’s #5 Racing One AMR was the highest placed Aston in P11 going into the opening hundred metres of the race but an errant Alpine going around Les Combes for the first time collected the American to tap him into a spin where subsequent front-end damage would quickly see that car retire from the race by the end of the opening lap.

For Nico Verdonck and his #25 Prosport Pro-Am entry, he would be served with a 30 second stop and hold for his apparent VIP laps earlier in the weekend being considered as ‘testing’ by the stewards and therefore – against the rules!

With cars in the gravel being the theme of the meeting, another such incident brought out the first FCY after just ten minutes of racing and at the restart a pacey looking #7 AGS car of Andy pinched a little too much of La Source to be contacted by another car, sustaining damage that would end each other’s participation.

That caused another brief FCY just ahead of the pit stops with Gus Bowers being one of the first to stop with his once championship leading Spirit of Race AMR alongside the #80 AGS car that would also retire from the race and with the #24 Prosport car of Hugo Sasse suddenly dropping from P6 overall before to P28 after their stop!

By the chequered flag, the #10 Spirit of Race car of Bowers and Konstantin Lachenauer were the highest placed Aston finishing P8 in class whilst the AGS Events team did have something to cheer as the #89 Am car of Wilfried Cazalbon and Julien Lambert came home for another class podium in P29 overall – P3 in class.

Saturday morning second one-hour race was equally as chaotic with at least six cars being taken out in another first lap/first corner incident (including the #10 Racing Spirit car of Lachenauer with the Safety Car being immediately called for.

Nearly half the race length was lost to the clean-up operation before the race eventually got going just a couple of laps before the opening of the pit stop window with so far just the #80 AGS car another confirmed retiree.

Pits stop window over and it was just a chase down to the flag with the #24 Prosport car of Mike David Ortmann looking racy in fourth with both Koch and Tom Canning fighting it out in P9/P10 overall. With Ortmann getting baulked behind the guesting #3 BMW, he eventually got passed and up into third with also the #89 AGS and #18 Racing One Astons also fighting it out for Am class podium positions with just 15 minutes remaining.

At nine minutes remaining, another stranded car brought out the Safety Car making for a final lap dash to the flag with little margin between cars. That was in fact all that Ortmann needed as he passed for second overall at the front whilst Marcus Lungstrass passed Lambert for second overall in Am whilst the AGS crew finished just off the podium in fourth to make for another good weekend for them after their double DNF in Italy.

Race results are again yet to be verified but eyes have already moved onto the next round of the season from Hockenheim at the start of September.

Photo credits – GT4 European / Teams

Saturday, July 30, 2022 | Read more...
After an eventful build up - all set for tomorrows start to the 24 Hours of Spa

After an eventful build up - all set for tomorrows start to the 24 Hours of Spa


The darn day job gets in the way again of another busy week of track preparation from Spa Francorchamps in Belgium, this time for the flagship event of the SRO calendar and the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.

As reported earlier in the week, the tweaks to the Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Racing GT3 entries saw their #97 car swap from their Gold Cup classed full season GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup to that of a Silver Cup entry after Team Principle Andrew Howard stood down for personal reasons which allowed the AMR factory team to place both David Pittard and Charlie Fagg into the car with full season runner Theo Nouet and Spa 'guest' Roman De Angelis but all sadly at the expense of Gold rated driver Valentin Hasse-Clot.


With the team’s #95 Full Pro effort of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorenson and Maxime Martin remaining unchanged (unchanged apart from their brand new AMR Vantage GT3 being delivered to the circuit in lieu of their older old that turned out to be terminally damaged after Sorenson’s Free Practice crash at Paul Ricard earlier in the season), we also welcomed the American based Heart of Racing team to Europe as they entered a full Pro class entry of their own with drivers Ross Gunn, Charlie Eastwood and Alex Riberas behind the wheel.

The redevelopment of the Spa Francorchamps circuit over the winter months and the addition of various new and/or extended gravel traps around the circuit obviously proved ‘problematic’ for many of the sixty six runners as ALL the sessions so far this week have been blighted with multiple red flags brought about by crews again pushing the boundaries of the race track again and getting stuck all around the circuit on top of the usual number of incidents and accidents that this number of car drivers (of mixed abilities) has around a complex circuit layout such as Spa.


Fortunately, no obvious issues so far this week for any of the Aston Martin Racing powered crews as each ran through their own programme of works as best they could amongst the intermittent running before all headed in Qualifying last night.

The silver classed #97 Beechdean car was out first in Q1 being a four-driver crewed car as Pittard proved his worth finishing his allotted time with a P3 overall best time before all three cars came out for Q2. More red flags interrupted the running of that the second session as the #95 car came home in P11 nearly a second down to the session leader with the #23 Heart of Racing car close behind. The #97 car came returned a lap time suitable of a P45 overall finish but P13 overall in their class.


Q3 and another sub one second deficit to the leading car from the #95 Pro car whilst the #23 Heart of Racing car got hampered with the effects of another red flag interrupted session for them to finish P46 and just over two seconds down whilst the #97 Silver Cup car finished P49 overall and P15 in class after Nouet’s first ever Spa 24 Qualifier.

With the Qualifying session now heavily delayed into the pitch of a summer’s night around the Ardennes circuit, it was the last bash for all to go fast enough to attain a SuperPole Shootout position on Friday and Thiim did just that with a another sub one second deficit time to earn their place in the Shoot-out but sadly the #23 crew would miss out by only the slightest of margins such was the competition at the head of the Pro field.


Then for tonight’s top 20 Super Pole, countryman Maxime Martin was given the honours of qualifying the #95 Beechdean AMR car for Saturday’s race from his mid table start position in P13. This time and within the three laps that were possible, martin best time of 2:17:170 was still 0.949 of a second off the pace as that crew had to settle for a P17 starting position.

Beyond that, the #23 Heart of Racing AMR will start from (rather aptly) P23 in tomorrow’s race whilst the #97 Silver Cup car starts from P43 overall – P13 in class.


After the conclusion of the final support race just after lunch tomorrow, the green flag to this year’s 24 Hours of Spa drops at 16:45 hours local – and is bound to be eventful!!

Photo credits c/o of Kelvin Pope at Red Firecracker Photography
Friday, July 29, 2022 | Read more...