Optimum return to GT Open with their new AMR Vantage GT3

Optimum return to GT Open with their new AMR Vantage GT3

After months of patient anticipation, Wakefield based Optimum Motorsport have today finally confirmed that the team will be retuning to the International GT Open Series with both Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis behind the wheel of the team's recently acquired Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3.

Having previously raced in the series last year with the team's Audi R8 LMS in the Pro-Am Class, the Bronze and Silver rated driver pairing tested the new 2019 specification Vantage GT3 at Snetterton back in October where they are able to get in just a handful of laps each before the rains came. That presumably was still enough for them to commit to the car for their 2019 campaign.

Their own new AMR Vantage GT3 has only recently been delivered to the team and was taken for a shakedown test by Aston Martin Racing factory driver Jonny Adam out on Anglesey only last week.

Debuting in the GT Open Championship last year, Wilkinson and Ellis still managed two class wins aboard the older generation Audi (that Flick Haigh ran in the Michelin Le Mans Cup the year before) and rounded off the 2018 season on a high with a P2 class finish despite Wilkinson being under the weather at the final round in Barcelona - just a couple of days after testing the new Vantage!

A seven round 2019 lays ahead of the team, starting at Paul Ricard at the end of April, with a round at Silverstone in early September before concluding at Monza in mid October but before they the duo are expected to participate in the Championships two round Winter Test calendar.

Photo credits - GT Open / Pembrey Circuit

Monday, February 18, 2019 |
D'Station takes Aston Martin Racing Vantage goes back to Super GT

D'Station takes Aston Martin Racing Vantage goes back to Super GT

Not since the early days of Aston Martin Racing's V12 Vantage GT3 some five years ago has the British marque been represented at the Japanese Super GT Championship with the likes of the then Aspeed and Arnage Racing who both raced with chassis #003.

Yesterday mornings announcement from D'Station Racing confirms a rekindled participation for the Banbury based team within the top flight Japanese GT series with one of their brand new turbo charged V8 Vantages that will even see AMR factory driver Darren Turner feature in the driver line up for the longer Fuji 500 event with a team who have swapped allegiances from Porsche

What has been described as 'long term partnership' sees Aston Martin as a brand return to the Asian car markets in race form with D'Station Racing AMR at what could be a critical time for them having lost previous Partner teams Craft Bamboo and Miedecke Motorsport from the that particular theatre of racing.

The significances of yesterday's events was also hailed on social media by Aston Martin Lagonda's CEO Dr Andy Palmer as a significant event for the brand who basically race what they sell and who have gone through an extensive period of brand promotion and physical presence within the opening Chinese markets but also with more mainstream Asian locations.

This new full partner status team - D'Station Racing AMR will compete in the GT 300 class with full time and highly experienced Super GT drivers Tomonobu Fujii and Joāo Paulo Oliveira.

President of D'station Racing AMR Satoshi Hoshino said: “We are very proud to race with Aston Martin in the Japanese Super GT championship. As a team we believe the Vantage GT3 can lead us to great success and we are excited to be playing a part in the new Vantage racing story from the beginning of its career.”


President of Aston Martin Racing, David King added: “We are delighted to welcome D’station Racing to Aston Martin and to include it within our essential group of race partner teams that will compete with the new Vantage GT3 internationally. We’re very proud of the fact that an Aston Martin is once again racing in such a prestigious and important series as Japanese Super GT, and it is further evidence of our expanding motorsport and customer racing activities around the world. It will also help to further the message of our growing AMR Performance brand of Aston Martin road cars and services, and we see Japan as a very important market for this.”


On its own, this announcement is 'just another' new car being confirmed but as a whole 2019 already represents itself as being the biggest factory and customer team commitment with the new Vantage race platform ever experienced by the factory as GT3 sales already go beyond half the number of V12 Vantages ever produced over its six year lifespan. 

Indeed, the factory continues to work flat out to build and deliver all outstanding early orders for their new GT3 and GT4 cars in time for the start of the 2019 season. 

Photo credits - social media / D'Station Racing AMR / AMR

Saturday, February 16, 2019 |
R-Motorsport announce first DTM driver line up

R-Motorsport announce first DTM driver line up

Swiss based R-Motorsport today announce their first two drivers for their much awaiting entry into the German based DTM series in an Aston Martin Racing silhouette Vantage.

"I am looking forward to the new DTM season and the challenge to compete with the Aston Martin Vantage DTM car for my new team R-Motorsport," said Paul. "It will certainly be not easy to challenge our competition of experienced teams of big premium manufacturers with our comparatively small outfit. However my impression of our team’s professionalism and ambition is very positive and I’ll go into the preparation of the championship season with a good feeling. I can’t wait to drive the Aston Martin Vantage DTM car at the first test on the race track and contribute my part to the development of the new car."

"In Paul, we have secured the services of a knowledgeable and experienced driver with an impressive sporting CV," said Team Principal Florian Kamelger. "This signing is a key element in the development of our new Aston Martin Vantage DTM. His experience and natural speed should help us to quickly bring the new DTM car up to a competitive standard. We are aware that this is not going to be an easy task for us at R-Motorsport, because in the DTM we are facing competition from works teams who not only have the backing of well-known premium manufacturers but have also grown accustomed to success over the years. But it’s a challenge that we are happy to rise to, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming DTM season."

23-year-old Jake Dennis will make his debut in the top touring car series this season, driving R-Motorsport’s Aston Martin Vantage DTM car. The British driver has been a regular member of the squad since last year when he successfully competed with R-Motorsport in a number of races, including the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. In the three-hour race at Silverstone, Jake and team-mates Matthieu Vaxivière and Nicki Thiim secured the first pole position and win for the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 race car in what was only the team’s second race.

"Joining the DTM is a major step up in my career," said Jake. "It’s an enormous challenge which I readily accept, because I know that I must go up against tough opposition in order to prove myself and make progress as a driver at a high level. The DTM is the ideal environment for that, and I can’t wait to get the season started."

"Jake is very talented. He has already shown that previously in his GT3 races for R-Motorsport," said Team Principal Dr Florian Kamelger. "He achieved consistently good results last year and is now a regular member of our team. I know what he can do, so I think he will quickly make his mark in the DTM."

This year, R-Motorsport will be writing a new chapter in their nascent motorsport history as they enter their debut season in the DTM, in which Aston Martin will line up under its exclusive licence with the R-Motorsport. The team’s first two DTM races will take place on the weekend of 4th/5th May at the Hockenheimring, the traditional host venue for the season opener. These race outings will be operated by Vynamic which is a joint venture between AF Racing AG and HWA AG. "


Source material - R-Motorsport Press Release
Thursday, February 14, 2019 |
V12 Vantage GT3 wins again and again in South Africa

V12 Vantage GT3 wins again and again in South Africa

Thanks to the great work from the Facebook page Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 Chassis Number Tracker we can continue to keep ourselves up to date with various club racing teams from around the world.

Whilst racing eyes move across from the venerable AMR V12 Vantage GT3 to the new 2019 turbo charged V8 specification this year, we need to remind ourselves of the remaining V12 GT3's that are still running with great success with smaller, private teams.

In this case it is the again the Stradale Motorsport prepared entry for Charl Arangies that hit the top step over the weekend with a trio of first places in the South African G&H Transport Racing Championship from the Killarney International Raceway.

Still being under the weather from a lingering head cold, Arangies still managed to dominate the grid with his former Motorbase GT3 machine - continuing from where he had left off in 2018!

Photo credit - Stradale Motorsport 
Monday, February 11, 2019 |
Le Mans 2019 entry confirmation

Le Mans 2019 entry confirmation

In a scary realisation in just how fast this year is already progressing, today we heard of the first batch of entries confirmed for this Le Mans 24Hrs which will this time act as the curtain closer for the World Endurance Championship's transitional Super-Season.

Whilst there were a couple of surprise additions within the forty two entries confirmed today, there was little to get too excited about with the Aston Martin Racing entries as all four - full season WEC entries were confirmed in both GTE Pro and GTE Am.

Starting with what we know (as the team's communications guys have told us this today) is that the published driver line up aboard the #90 TF Sport GTE Am entry is incorrect. Whereas the WEC have listed the original season starting line up of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Euan Hankey we have been told that the position indicated as being that of Hankey remains a TBC.

The answer behind that spare seat will probably depend upon what happens with the driver line ups with the factory supported GTE Pro cars as both the #95 and #97 have only been published with two names associated with each car. For the record Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim remain aligned with the #95 car whilst Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn remain aligned with the #97 - just like they had been since Le Mans 2018.

Not having a full driver line up for any car now being confirmed by the governing ACO for the Le Mans 24Hr is certainly nothing new and we don't expect the third seat for either GTE Pro car to be confirmed by the team until much nearer the event. We can speculate or we could just wait and see.......!!

The driver trio behind the #98 GTE Am entry remains a constant with Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy continuing their long partnership together.

The 24hours of Le Mans is scheduled to run over the weekend of the 15/16th June.

#Error on the #90 TF Sport GTE Am entry has now been corrected by the WEC
Monday, February 11, 2019 |
Street Art Racing complete a two car entry in GT4 European Series

Street Art Racing complete a two car entry in GT4 European Series

Renowned for their distinctly bright liveried cars, Belgium team Street Art Racing today confirmed their second driver line up who shall compete in this years GT4 European Series.

Staying with the team for a second year is young Frenchman Julien Darras who will this year be driving with Belgium racer Jamie Vandenbalck who crosses over from rival team 3Y Technology and their BMW M4 GT4.

This line up is in addition to the teams earlier announcements last month where team regular Pascal Bachmann will race the teams other 2019 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 with Luxembourg based racer Clement Seyler.

Last year Darras shared his Pro-Am Class car with the more experienced team regular Bachmann but steps up this to compete in the Series Silver Cup Class with Vandenbalck whilst Bachmann will guide the younger and less experienced race Seyler in the Am Cup.

Not only sporting two glorious examples of AMR's latest specification Vantage GT4, the team will also utilise the knowledge and experience of AMR's World Endurance Championship driver Maxime Martin.

"Having Maxime Martin as a coach will also be a plus for us. I am convinced that I can learn a lot from him, not only for my driving but also for the development of the car and all the preparation outside races," said Vandenbalck. 

Darras                                 Vandenbalck

With two Aston Martins already confirmed in the Series and with the Official entry for 2019's season still open until the end of March it is anticipated that the GT4 European Series will thus year field a grid of more than five new Vantage GT4's.

Photo credit - Street Art Racing / GT4 European Series

Friday, February 08, 2019 |
Aston Martin leading the way with historic motorsport

Aston Martin leading the way with historic motorsport

Aston Martin’s increasing commitment to historic motorsport has been cemented with the creation of Aston Martin Heritage Racing - an over-arching brand that unites the company’s assorted historic motorsport activities under one banner.

In the first of several major new initiatives, Aston Martin has joined forces with Masters Historic Racing - one of the world’s leading historic race event organisers and promotors - to become its official automotive partner. The partnership places Aston Martin and its customers at the heart of the action, through a number of core activities.

The most visible of these are the supply of Aston Martin road cars as Official Pace cars and Course cars for Masters Historic Racing. For 2019 this will see Aston Martin’s driver focused sports car - the Vantage - head each of the grids at selected MHR race weekends, leading the field around the track at speed before releasing the cars for the rolling start. Course car duties will be performed by a Rapide AMR, giving further exposure to the brand.

Aston Martin is also title partner of the Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends Series. Run for racing cars from the more recent past, AMMEL is the premiere series for modern historic Le Mans and ALMS prototypes and GT cars from 1995-2012. As this period encompasses Aston Martin Racing’s victories in the GT1 class with the DBR9, plus the many other successes in the LMP1, GT2 and GTE categories, the AMMEL series regularly features Aston Martin competition cars amongst the varied and colourful grids. Indeed, one of the fabulous ex-works Gulf-liveried Aston Martin DBR1-2 LMP1 cars was a regular outright winner during the 2018 season and is a firm crowd favourite.

With large grids, generous track time and exciting double-header race weekends, the AMMEL race format allows for one or two-drivers with a mandatory pit stop and a race duration of a minimum 30min and maximum 45min. Frequently afforded top billing, AMMEL treats spectators and fans to an evocative taste of top-level endurance racing featuring many of their favourite modern classic machines.

2019 Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends calendar
Mar 29-31, Le Castellet Motors Cup weekend, Paul Ricard, France
May 10-12, European Le Mans Series support race, Monza, Italy
Jun 28-30, French Historic Grand Prix, Magny Cours, France
Jul 26-28, Silverstone Classic, Silverstone, UK
Aug 9-11, AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix, Nürburgring, Germany
Sep 27-29, Spa Six Hours, Spa, Belgium

Building upon the huge success enjoyed by the triennial Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival events held as a support race for the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2012, 2015 and 2018, the Festival concept has been developed into an annual AMHR Festival Series.

Driven by the desire to create a ‘home’ in which owners of eligible modern era competition and special series Aston Martins can race regularly, the AMHR Festival Series will comprise two race events in 2019, expanding to three race weekends per-season in 2020 and 2021.
A celebration of Aston Martin’s 21st century competition success, The AMHR Festival Series is conceived to encompass the majority of Aston Martin Racing’s back catalogue. All GT1, GT2, GT3, GT4 and GTE cars are eligible, with the exception of the Lola-Aston LMP1 prototypes and the latest generation Vantage GTE, GT3 and GT4 cars. There is also an invitation class for special series cars such as the Aston Martin Vulcan, and for other unusual Aston Martin race cars, such as the Vantage GT8 that raced in the Nürburgring ‘N24’.

Open to one or two drivers per-car, the Festival race format will remain flexible to take advantage of opportunities to run double-header races where possible and allow the series to evolve over time. A pit stop is mandatory, and a handicapping system will be applied to create a fair level of competition between keen amateur and elite professional and former professional racers. A strict code of respectful driving will be encouraged and enforced, with AMR factory driver and three-time Le Mans winner Darren Turner advising on series regulations and driving standards.

Run under the newly created Aston Martin Heritage Racing banner, for 2019 the AMHR Festival Series will visit the iconic Grand Prix circuits of Silverstone and Spa, with the first race at July’s Silverstone Classic - the world’s biggest historic race meeting - and the second at the Spa Six Hours weekend in late September.

Returning to the Silverstone Classic and Spa Six Hours in 2020, with a third iconic venue to be announced later this year, in 2021 AMHR Festival competitors can look forward to three more race weekends. The Festival’s objective is to provide owners of modern classic Aston Martin competition cars with a ‘Road to Le Mans’ and the chance to fulfil the dream of racers and enthusiasts everywhere.
While racing is at its heart, the AMHR Festival Series it is not just about the on-track action. Each Festival weekend will also be a social occasion and a highlight of the AMHR year. Aston Martin will invite celebrity drivers to take part, plus a variety of current and former AMR factory drivers. Hospitality will be provided for competitors and their guests. Selected friends of Aston Martin will also be in attendance and there will be an exclusive party on the Friday or Saturday night of each festival race weekend.

2019 Aston Martin Heritage Racing Festival Series calendar
Jul 26-28, Silverstone Classic, Silverstone, UK
Sep 27-29, Spa Six Hours, Spa, Belgium


Held at selected Masters Historic Racing weekends, the Aston Martin Heritage Racing Track Experience events are another new AMHR initiative for 2019. Combining attendance of a live historic race weekend and top-level hospitality with an assortment of road and track sessions in new Aston Martin road cars, a variety of weekend packages are tailored for existing and prospective Aston Martin customers as well as fans of the brand.

The first of these events is to be held March 29-31 at Paul Ricard, home of the French Grand Prix, during Masters Historic Racing’s first race weekend of the 2019 season. Located in the beautiful Provence region of southern France, guests will enjoy the unique thrill of driving their own Aston Martin or one of Aston Martin’s demonstrators in dedicated 30min sessions which intersperse the races throughout the weekend. They will also have the opportunity to take accompanied test drives on breathtaking roads and, of course, spend some relaxing downtime enjoying first class hospitality and the spectacle of Europe’s best historic racing.

Each Track Experience weekend will run to a schedule tailored to the specific event, but in addition to on-track driving sessions and all-day hospitality each will feature additional daytime activities such as hot lap rides alongside pro drivers in Aston Martin road or race cars, guided tours of the pits and paddock, karting, plus evening entertainment such as relaxed BBQs and organised wine tastings.
Whether an existing Aston Martin customer who likes the idea of enjoying the freedom of driving their car on a race track, or a prospective or existing customer who would like to experience a new model in a test drive with a difference, the added atmosphere and excitement of being part of a historic race weekend ensures each AMHR Track Experience immerses guests in an exclusive high-octane environment that petrolheads will love, combined with a level of quality and attention to detail that provides a true taste of Aston Martin lifestyle.

2019 Aston Martin Heritage Racing Track Experience calendar
Mar 29-31, Masters Historic Racing weekend, Paul Ricard, France

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, said of AMHR: “The creation of Aston Martin Heritage Racing draws together our various historic motorsport activities and provides a platform from which we will continue to extend the scope of our presence in the vibrant and hugely popular international historic racing scene. Our official automotive partnership with Masters Historic Racing sees our Vantage and Rapide AMR models serving as official Safety Cars and Course Cars, while our title sponsorship of the Aston Martin Masters Endurance Legends Series supports a spectacular grid of iconic modern classic machines that once competed in some of the world’s greatest endurance races.

With high profile races confirmed at this year’s Silverstone Classic in July and Spa Six Hours historic meeting in September, three race weekends in 2020 and all providing a Road to Le Mans, we can look forward to seeing the finest Aston Martin competition cars of the more recent past racing on some of Europe’s best circuits.” 

Ron Maydon, Founder and President of Masters Historic Racing: “It’s a tremendous endorsement of historic racing’s popularity that such a prestigious brand as Aston Martin has chosen to partner Masters Historic Racing (MHR). Few car companies have a better fit with historic racing, thanks to a thread of motorsport success tracing right back to the company’s origins more than a century ago. Much like Aston Martin, MHR likes to innovate and evolve, and so I’m especially proud that Aston Martin is title partner of the Masters Endurance Legends Series, which has pioneered the concept of modern historic racing with dazzling grids of prototype and GT racing cars that were eligible to compete at Le Mans and other top-level endurance races between 1995 and 2012. With this period encompassing some of Aston Martin Racing’s greatest 21st century successes it will be an absolute pleasure to see some of these iconic machines once again do battle with their period adversaries.”    
To take part in the Aston Martin Heritage Racing activities or for further information contact AMHR@astonmartin.com.

Source material - Aston Martin

Thursday, February 07, 2019 |
Double GT4 entry for Whitebridge AMR in GT Cup

Double GT4 entry for Whitebridge AMR in GT Cup

Today see's the GT Cup Championship confirm a double car entry for 2019 from reigning Champions Whitebridge AMR.

With 2018 GTH and Overall Champion Chris Murphy already confirmed as as solo driver aboard one of his own 2016 specification Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 for this up coming season, today sees Australian Mal Sandford swap both championships and team for his third year of racing with his own 'factory coloured' Vantage GT4.

LHS - Sandford

Having previously been supported by EDF Motorsport in the garage and co driver Ben Seyfried in the cockpit, Sandford's racing career has so far mainly been limited to the Dunlop Britcar Endurance Championship plus a visit to Le Sarthe last year for the AMR Festival at Le Mans. Todays announcement does not confirm if this entry is for a solo driver placing or not.

The start of the 2019 calendar starts in just over eight weeks time at Donington Park.

Title photo credit - EDF Motorsport
Wednesday, February 06, 2019 |
Aston Martin launch AMR Drivers Club

Aston Martin launch AMR Drivers Club

Aston Martin is set to launch a brand new programme in 2019, where customers can enjoy exhilarating race track experiences at iconic circuits, with expert guidance available through the AMR Drivers’ Club. This customer-focused driving academy will offer various levels of tuition to suit each driver, from exploring the capabilities of their own Aston Martin to finding the limit in some of the marque’s most extreme track cars, for those with aspirations to race.

Sebastien Delmaire, Director of Aston Martin Partnerships, said: “Our customers have been enquiring about this type of programme for a while now so we are delighted to be able to offer such a strong and structured package of experiences. From the customer who would like to know what his or her Aston Martin is capable of, from the manufacturer who designed and built their car, to those wishing to hone their track skills with future ambitions of racing, we have it covered.”

The Aston Martin track programme will initially offer three key pillars of experiences, each containing various levels as outlined below.

AMR Experience
The entry level of AMR Experience is called Discovery and it provides an introduction to the brand and products, with 1-to-1 tuition from a dedicated Aston Martin instructor. The next level is known as Performance, an opportunity for owners to fully explore the capabilities of their own Aston Martin with the additional option of a dedicated instructor to provide appropriate guidance.

AMR Academy
Drivers will train with professional Aston Martin instructors and experience the latest Aston Martin models, working from Level 1 to Level 3 for one and a half days per level. As they develop their track capabilities, the customer will then progress to the next level, until they are ready for the AMR GT Academy.

AMR GT Academy
One and a half days of 1-to-1 tuition in a race-prepared GT4 Aston Martin awaits customers with the desire to push their driving skills on to new levels. For those with ambitions to compete, our AMR GT Academy provides the perfect platform to support you in working towards your racing licence.

The track experiences in 2019 will take place at nine significant race circuits, many of which have hosted famous F1 races and each with their own unique layout. The programme will commence with Algarve International Circuit on 19/20 March. Customers can also enjoy visits to the challenging Spa-Francorchamps, the home of British motorsport at Silverstone on 4/5 September and the distinctive Barcelona Circuit on 16/17 September.


19 – 20 March - Algarve International Circuit, Portugal
15 April - Spa Francorchamps
13 – 14 June - Belgium Zandvoort Circuit, Netherlands
10 – 11 July - Brands Hatch, UK
30 – 31 July - Imola, Italy
4 – 5 September  - Silverstone, UK
16 – 17 September - Barcelona, Spain
9 - 10 October - Hockenheim, Germany
22 – 23 October - Dijon, France
The packages will range from £750 to £7,600, which can include car, hospitality and accommodation depending on the course selected.

Source material and photo credits - Aston Martin
Monday, February 04, 2019 |
Eventful qualifying overnight at Bathurst 12Hr

Eventful qualifying overnight at Bathurst 12Hr

Having unfortunatley had to disconnect from the live stream from Bathurst after the final Free Practice session last night, it appears that we missed out on some very dramatic events later in into the events proceedings.

Finishing seventh in that final FP session, the #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 of Jake Dennis, Mathieu Vaxivierre and Marvin Kirchhofer had been progressing their car through the days proceedings to maintain a comfortable top 10 finish as the schedule then turned to the Qualifying sessions this afternoon.

Qualifying 1 was for all runners - the #62 car claimed top spot in that session with the teams sister #760 car of Florian Kamelger, Andreas Baenziger, Peter Leemhuis and Matt Parry claiming P10.

Qualifying 2 was just for GT3 based cars so both R-Motorsport cars ran again with Dennis again claiming top spot with a then provisional lap record. New team member Matt Parry would run the lap for the #760 car to finish a commendable P17 at his first visit to The Mountain - that would be their final starting position for Sundays race whilst the #62 would carry on into the Top 10 Shoot out.

This was however kind of where the drama started to unfold as Dennis put in another lap of all laps to  initially claim overall pole position and the Allan Simonsen Trophy with it, but a previous pit speed violation would see that car get a two place grid penalty meaning that they would actually be starting the race from P3.

Well, thats not too bad considering but ....................

It was only after post Qualifying that checks were again made to the cars that an unintentional technical violation of the cars homologation was discovered within the #62 car that meant all lap times would be deleted from the Shoot Out meaning that the car would drop to the back of that pack - that and the previous awarded 2 grid slot penalty meant that the #62 car would indeed start from P12 on tomorrows grid. They also loose out on the Allan Simonsen Trophy as well.

Bitter disappointment for the multi national team running the venerable V12 Vantages for their final time as a factory supported platform. Hopefully, todays disappointing events can be channeled by their drivers into placing the last of the V12 screamers onto the top step of either Pro or Pro-Am Class at the end of Sundays 12 hour endurance race.

The race starts in little over an hour from now!!

Photo credits - R-Motorsport / Bathurst 12

Saturday, February 02, 2019 |
The best GT show down under kicks off for 2019

The best GT show down under kicks off for 2019

Early proceedings for the 2019 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race kicked off this afternoon with a new Spa 24 esq' drivers parade and drive to the circuit from the Bathurst town centre for a representative group of cars taken from this years entry.

With one example from each brand on parade that duty fell to the Am entry from Swiss based R-Motorsport with their #62 Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 - a car previously raced by them in the Blancpain GT Series but this time making its final appearance with the team as an AMR factory supported platform. All of the drivers (although one did evade this photo) were on hand to meet and greet those who attended the parade in another example of something that GT based motorsport does so well - fan access and interaction.

No strangers to 'The Mountain' in south-east Australia, this year will be the first that the team have competed in the top flight GT3 class having previously settled (and achieved) so well before in both the GT4 and INV class. Last time out for the crew was with Aston Martin's GT8 car in 2017.

Track action for the main event of the meeting begins Friday morning with three practice sessions before lunch before a fourth in the afternoon. Things then become very serious just before lunch on Saturday with Qualifying all classes and then Class A (GT3's) only before the highly exciting Top 10 Shootout later in the early evening.


The start of the 12hour itself begins at 05:45am local - Sydney is GMT +11Hrs

62 R-Motorsport Jake Dennis GBMatthieu Vaxiviere FRMarvin Kirchhoefer DEAston Martin Vantage GT3 A

760 R-Motorsport Florian Kamelger CHAndreas Baenziger CHPeter Leemhuis AUMathew Parry GBAston Martin Vantage GT3 A

The above graphic confirms the driver lists for both of R-Motorsports AMR Vantage GT3's with the #62 being the Pro and the #760 being the Am entry - both Class A.

7:158:00RadicalRace 1
8:058:40Combined SedansRace 2
8:509:20Bathurst 12 HourPractice 1 (excluding Class A Platinum and Gold drivers)
9:2510:25Bathurst 12 HourPractice 2
10:3011:00Formula FordRace 2
11:1012:10Bathurst 12 HourPractice 3
12:2513:15Resident Access
13:3014:00Group SRace 2
14:0515:05Porsche Sports SessionDriving Experience
15:0515:10Sponsor ride sessionEntertainment Session
15:1516:15Bathurst 12 HourPractice 4
16:2516:35TV Track Session
16:4017:40Porsche Sports SessionDriving Experience

Saturday February 2
7:157:45Formula FordRace 3
7:558:25Group SRace 3
8:359:35Bathurst 12 HourPractice 5
9:4510:30RadicalRace 2
10:3510:45Brabham LapsEntertainment Session
10:4511:15Sponsor ride sessionEntertainment Session
11:2012:05Bathurst 12 HourQualifying 1, all classes
12:1012:40Bathurst 12 HourQualifying 2, Class A only
13:0013:50Resident Access
14:0515:05Porsche Sports SessionDriving Experience
15:0515:15Sponsor ride sessionEntertainment Session
15:1515:45Sponsor ride sessionEntertainment Session
15:5016:25Combined SedansRace 3
16:4017:25Bathurst 12 HourTop 10 Shootout

Sunday February 3
5:15Pit Exit Opens
5:4517:45Bathurst 12 Hour
Live timing for each timed sessions is available from http://www.bathurst12hour.com.au/live-timing/

Live streaming for each available session outside of Australia and New Zealand only is available from https://www.bathurst12hour.com.au/streams-tv/international-streaming/

Thursday, January 31, 2019 |
Adam back with TF Sport for Sebring

Adam back with TF Sport for Sebring

Today sees an unexpected announcement that Aston Martin Racing driver Jonny Adam will be re-joining the TF Sport crew aboard their #90 GTE Am entry for the next round of the World Endurance Championship from Sebring, Florida.

This is surprising in the fact that previous provisional entry lists (December 2018) did relist the factory driver back with his factory team mates (Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn) aboard the #97 GTE Pro car for the elongated race. Todays list presently leaving the third driver position clear rather than TBA and we still await any confirmation from the factory team as to whether the #97 will run at Sebring with any third driver or not.

Shaking down the #90 TF Sport car today, Adam has been confirmed as restoring the driver line up of regular drivers Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood (also at shakedown) whom he has been with since Le Mans in what will be their first taste of the historic American racetracrk.

The 1000miles of Sebring is due to be run on the 15th March 2019.

Photo credit - JA Social media

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 |
Avia Racing drop the AMR marque for their VLN efforts from 2019

Avia Racing drop the AMR marque for their VLN efforts from 2019

With all the recent good news of teams confirming their acquisition of the all new 2019 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3's and GT4's with indeed new teams swapping over to the premier British marque from this season, it appears that we now have our first 'casualty'.

Having competed within its national VLN Championship and in periodic entries into the ADAC Zurich 24 Hour race from the Nordschliefe, it now appears that the Avia Racing Team and their Mathol Racing service provider have now split company with the former now also dropping its red and white liveried V8 Vantage GT4 that had become synonymous with the series over their six year history together.

Only up to a couple of years ago were Mathol Racing supporting two to three AMR Vantage GT4 entries for their customer drivers into the VLN series but with Mathol since swapping over to Mercedes machinery it had been left to Avia Racing to fly the flag around the 'Green Hell' - sometimes being the only AMR entrant there.

Avia Racing have since confirmed that they will be racing with the support of Sorg Rennsport with one of their new BMW M4 GT4 cars.

Stephan Hauke, Project Manager at Avia Racing was quoted as saying that "after years of excellent support and track success, the paths of Avia Racing and Mathol Racing are now at an end. Continuing with our older V8 Vantage GT4 would have been uncompetitive considering the opposition yet acquiring a new 2019 model would have left to difficulties and uncertainties particularly with the upcoming Brexit."

That reasoning does appear strange considering teams like Prosport Performance (also based in Germany) acquiring multiple examples of both cars to compete in multiple series across Europe but we imagine that frustrations throughout last season with reliability raised questions within the team before the year was even out.

Anyway - Avia Racing, its been fun sharing your experiences around what is still the best racetrack in the world and we wish you all the best for the future.

Photo credits - VLN / Avia Racing

Monday, January 28, 2019 |
Automatic storm to podium at eventful Michelin Pilot Challenge opener

Automatic storm to podium at eventful Michelin Pilot Challenge opener

Stoner Car Care Racing and Automatic Racing launched the 2019 MICHELIN Pilot Challenge season with a strong showing at Daytona in Friday’s BMW Endurance Challenge. With three Aston Martins being fielded by the team, it was a big effort to be prepared for the four hour enduro to open the 2019 IMSA season.

Leading the charge for the Orlando-based squad was the No. 99 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin, driven by rookie Gary Ferrera and veteran Kris Wilson as the team came home with a second place finish after leading nine laps and making a daring last-lap pass to seal second at the finish. 

Each of the three Aston Martin Vantage GT4 entries took very different routes to the checkered flag in the four-hour, 101-lap endurance classic, part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The No. 99 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin, driven by rookie Gary Ferrera and veteran Kris Wilson took the green flag in 26th position. Ferrera, in his first race at Daytona, managed traffic in the 35-car field while steadily moving up before handing the car to Wilson in 22nd position.

Wilson immediately began carving his way through the field, making calculated passes as he headed toward the front. Taking the lead on lap 81 before heading in for his final pit stop, Wilson came out of the pits in fifth and muscled his way back to the front by lap 85. The final 10 laps were a side-by-side, four-way battle that saw Wilson make an outside, nail-biting pass on the high banks of Speedway Turn 2 to take second position – the best finish for Wilson and for the team at Daytona.

“We did everything we could do with the old bird,” said Wilson, who earned the Spirit of the Race award from the listeners on IMSA radio for his performance. “This version of the Aston Martin is six or seven years old, but she ran great. I have to say; the new Michelin tires have transformed the car. It was a great battle – and Daytona is like that. I told Gary he had to run here, it makes for great racing. It was a big task (for the team), to take on three cars including the new car, and the team did a great job.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed that!” said Ferrera. “My 91-year-old mother is in the grandstands, and it would have been my dad's 95th birthday tomorrow so I can't tell you how excited I am right now. We like to keep things stealthy, but we moved into the position when it counted. And I really couldn't have picked a better teammate. All I wanted to do was take care of the car and give it to Kris in a good position, and we did that. The racing here on the high banks is so different, it was great.”

The No. 97 Invisible Glass entry, driven by Rob Ecklin, Brandon Kidd and Ramin Abdolvahabi, is the newest iteration of the Aston Martin Vantage GT4. The beautiful machine is the first of its kind to race in North America, and the team had a double effort to prepare for Daytona.

The team took delivery of the new car on Sunday and did a phenomenal job to have it prepared from the moment the car was unloaded for the weekend and ready to go for practice and qualifying.

Starting from 31st, the trio of drivers combined to steadily move the car forward, despite track debris that damaged the front splitter. Overcoming the resulting loss of aerodynamics, the team brought the car home in 13th position in its North American debut.

“First off, hat's off to the team,” said Ecklin. “We put the No. 99 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin in front in P1, P3 and P4 for most of the last hour, and finished with a second position. And also hats off to our car for starting 31st and finishing 13th. We got acclimated to the car and were able to go out there and do some good lap times and keep it competitive, and it's a great start to the season.”

“I'm really happy for Kris and Gary and everyone at Automatic Racing,” said Kidd. “Before I got in the car we unfortunately lost more than half of the front splitter and that affects the handling, especially at a high speed track like this, so that kind of hindered out ability to go as fast as we could. We brought it home 13th which was in the top half, so I'll take it. If you told me before the race that we were going to finish in the top half with 35 cars, I would have said I'll take it! But the new car is awesome and it's definitely going to be very quick. I'm really happy with the car and huge advancement forward.” 

“The car was amazing,” said Abdolvahabi. “To come off a plane on Sunday, go straight to the track and then finish 13th in a field of this talent, and to have our sister car finish second, it was a great day. This version of the Aston Martin is very aero dependent, so damaging the front splitter really hurt our chances, but it is such a well-balanced car that we were still able to drive it. But the job this team did to get the car ready to go was great – but then again, this Automatic Racing team has always been like this. The No. 99 car is an older lady and finished P2. For us, we had our problems but still beat half the field and that is a testament to the team.”

The No. 09 Invisible Glass Aston Martin saw the most circuitous route to the finish. Drivers Dale Katechis (in his first Daytona race) and Mikel Miller (in his third) worked what magic they could throughout the race, despite twice having to take to pit lane after suffering from contact early in the race. The pair fought their way through the field to bring the car home in 23rd position.

“I got hit from behind in Turn 3 on the start, then again in the Bus Stop on a restart,” said Katechis. “At that point, it was just matter of holding it together. The track got a bit gooey about an hour into, but the car still performed great. My goal was to bring the car back, have some fun and gain some experience and I’d say all three goals were met.”

Team manager David Russell, spotting for the No. 09, had a birds-eye view of the entire race, and was impressed with the entire effort.

“I was trying to keep an eye on the car I was spotting for, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the No. 99 car and that four-way battle over the final 30 minutes!” said Russell. “We were a sitting duck there at the end, because we just don’t have the pace of the McLaren, but we proved today just how durable and consistent the Aston Martin is. We’re so proud for the team, for Stoner Car Care and Invisible Glass, and for the entire team did in the cars’ preparation. It sounds cliché, but this was a result of the massive team effort at the shop and the effort they put into it. To add a third car, and a new car to boot, I’m so proud of this team.”

Next up - Sebring early next month.

Source material - Stoner Car Care Racing

Photo credits - IMSA

Sunday, January 27, 2019 |