Aston Martin Racing's 2017 Winter Test concluded today after three days of frenetic track activity which was unfortunately topped today by Young Driver AMR's announcement.
As previously listed, Jan Struve's Young Driver AMR network this morning announced that they decided to take a step back from competitive motorsport with immediate effect. That decision directly affected the #95 Dane Train entry into the 2017 World Endurance Championship but thankfully that entry has been maintained by AMR themselves. It may have also come about at a very late stage as photos of the #95 at Portimao were finally released with the YD logos still affixed??!!
A great piece from Dailysportscar.com looking back at the contribution towards motorsport made by Young Driver AMR over the years can be found HERE.
For the WEC attending drivers testing finished yesterday with their track time being restricted and quantifiable by the FIA whilst the ELMS entries enjoyed an extended test to include night running sessions last night with a final run out this morning.
Both TF Sport's and Beechdean AMR's GTE cars ran throughout allowing those who needed it, 2016 specification familiarity before moving onto more detailed set up and simulation runs.
Little has been heard from any of the attending British GT teams (TF Sport/MacMillan/Academy) as they simply got down to business although most are expected to undertake some more local pre season testing before the series Media day at Snetterton in March.
We have got to the bottom of the ex Quantamatic car being there but that was just for a post upgrade shakedown for a potential deal coming off so best left alone until its confirmed.
All in all, there wasn't too much to shout about from this years test - maybe simply because we already knew many of the normal items of intrigue before they even left. At least the racing is still to come……!
Photo credits - TF Sport / Beechdean AMR / social media
We all know that many teams and drivers affectionally name their cars - Scooby and Bumble Bee are just a couple.
Having completed what has been reported as a very successful three day test in Portimao over the weekend, team of the moment TF Sport have this afternoon finally revealed the striking new livery that will bedeck their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE that shall compete in both the 2017 European Le Mans Series and Le Mans 24hr.
Fitting in with the naming introduction - the car's lead driver Salih Yoluc has today presented us with the "The Honey Badger" - a strange choice maybe but its his choice as he's paying the bills!!
Joining Yoluc for their first ELMS endeavours will be his long time driver coach Euan Hankey and WEC Champion Nicki Thiim. Joining the #90 car for the 24Hr at Le Mans only will be AMR returnee Rob Bell due to Thiim's pre-commitments within the #95 car.
Speaking with the team earlier today we understand that this car was in fact a spare the factory team had from last year and that the car will next be seen at the ELMS Prologue at Monza at the end of March.
Photo credits - TF Sport
When the 2017 FIA Word Endurance Championship season will start on Easter weekend at Silverstone, the popular “Dane Train” Aston Martin Vantage GTE will defend it’s World Championship title in the GTE-Pro class, but with a small difference. While the car will continue in the FIA WEC with Aston Martin Racing, Young Driver AMR, the operation behind the #95 entry, will make a pit stop in 2017. Since 2010, Young Driver AMR campaigned Aston Martin racecars in various championships and took 16 victories and two World Championship titles in 90 races.
“Our well known and rapid Aston Martin Vantage GTE will continue in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Aston Martin Racing, but Young Driver AMR will take a sabbatical“, says Young Driver AMR´s Jan Struve. "Since 2010, we competed with Aston Martin on the highest levels of GT racing. As Aston Martin Racing is safe to continue with our car in the 2017 FIA WEC and our World Championship winning Danes Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim will both return with them, we felt it’s time for a break. I will continue to attend selected FIA WEC rounds this year but will step back from a managing role this season. Thanks to everybody who was involved in the Young Driver project so far, all the drivers, engineers, mechanics, all the fans who supported us and everybody else who made this success story happen. A very special thank you goes to Aston Martin Racing for their excellent support in the past seven seasons.“
Since 2010, Young Driver AMR competed with GT1, GT3 and GTE versions of Aston Martin racecars cars in the FIA GT1 World Championship, the ADAC GT Masters and since 2013 in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Notable achievements were World Championship wins in the GTE-Am und GTE-Pro class of the FIA WEC in 2014 and 2016 and a 24 hours of Le Mans class victory in 2014.
Source Material - Young Driver AMR
With the first day of track action for Aston Martin Racing and their Partner teams now under their belts, we have a quick look back at anything of note that has come out of the winter test today.
The quick answer to that question is of course nothing really but its always good to have a peek!
The Beechdean AMR team have been out and getting to grips with their upgraded V8 Vantage GTE with factory driver Darren Turner taking the lead role and helping co drivers Andrew Howard and Ross Gunn pick up on the differences between that and their previous iteration.
Alex MacDowall, who of course helped the team towards winning the 2016 European Le Mans Series GTE Championship is also in attendance at the test.
Academy Motorsport are also there with three V8 Vantage GT4's - we know one is for Will Moore and Matt Nicholl-Jones for both British GT and European GT4 Northern Championship. Joining them is at least other team stalwart Dennis Strandberg so just maybe there is another car entry reveal to come as they did promise a two car effort in 2017.
The more aware of you, you will notice lurking in the background the former Quantamatic Racing V8 Vantage GT4 from 2015 and that was last in the possession of Team Parker Racing - so thats something to follow up on…..!
Nothing has been seen from either of the TF Sport GT3 cars, likewise the two MacMillan and Generation AMR cars, but thats just probably down to being very busy. The 'can we - can't we' issue over the TF Sport GTE car also continues with some frustration on our part but we are certainly not going to bite the hand that feeds us.
Previous winter testing events have seen many 'guest' drivers invited over to sample platforms on offer from the AMR stable. One to take note of this year is Gabriel Casagrande, a Brazilian stock car driver.
One thing though has been extremely conspicuous by its absence - there has been absolutely no mention (in word or photo) of any of the factory World Endurance Championship entered cars. A tweet from team photographer Drew Gibson earlier tonight apologised for not being able to release any image just yet.
As we already know the driver line up for the 2017 WEC and that the V8 Vantage GTE's in which they drive have not been altered over the winter - can we expect a change in livery or technical partner decals similar to this time last year when AMR swapped over to Dunlop and Total?
Only time will tell……………..!!
Photo credits - social media
Setting the scene
During the course of today drivers, team personnel and anyone else lucky enough to have been invited have been arriving at the Autodromo International Algarve near Portimao, Portugal ready for the extended 3 day Aston Martin Racing test this weekend.
These events have been previously shrouded in mystery and intrigue with little information flowing out of the circuit, and what did leave was always strictly controlled. Hopefully, last years event put pay to that and that teams and drivers can again release what the like and when they'd like to.
So far we know that TF Sport have arrived with both of their two V12 Vantage GT3's entered into the British GT Championship as well as their new V8 Vantage GTE that will be raced in this years European Le Mans Series and the 24Hrs of Le Mans. We understand that all TF Sport drivers are already at the test location
Despite continued 'teasing' from some we still await permission to lease details of that car's livery although we have seen that last years BGT signature cards do give some clues as to the design!!
MacMillan Racing, another team being maintained directly out of the Prodrive factory this year have arrived with both GT3 and GT4 cars with the three drivers already disclosed however do now understand that the remaining seat within the GT4 for British GT has now been filled, so watch out for confirmation on that front.
As reported last night, Generation AMR SuperRacing are also due to attend with a single Vantage GT4 that they are now entering in this years European GT4 Northern Series.
Nothing to date has been reported regarding the three works cars from the WEC but the drivers from the two Pro cars are certainly there - the main question is on the attendance of the #98 Am car and their new 2016 spec GTE.
There will be more cars there and therefore more drivers - only time will tell us who!
More to follow over the weekend.
Photo credits - social media
James Holder and Matthew George reunite under the Generation AMR SuperRacing banner again for 2017 as they undertake a full season entry into the SRO's European GT4 Series with their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4.
Having undertaken their first racing season together last year in the British GT Championship, the duo then crossed the Channel again to partake in the final round of the 2016 European GT4 Series at Zandvoort in November before progressing onto the biggest race of their careers at the Gulf 12hrs earlier this year.
Tonight it has been confirmed that an entry has been accepted with the European GT4 Southern Championship with additional rounds within the Northern Championship - primarily Brands Hatch in May, Zandvoort in August and the Nurburgring in September.
|21 May||Grand Prix de Pau||Pau|
|15 October||Paul Ricard||Paul Ricard|
The six plus three round season will certainly put everything that Holder and George have learned to the test. That workout starts now with both Holder and George present at the Aston Martin Racing family test in Portimao this weekend.
With Oman Racing and Motorbase parting company last year, all seemed lost of having the Aston Martin Racing brand represented within the pinnacle of GT3 racing - the Blancpain GT Series.
Today however, saw the announcement that Ahmad Al Harthy was taking his Oman Racing Team over to the Tom Ferrier team - TF Sport to continue the Omani's blue and white #46 car's quest within the Pro-AM category of the Blancpain Endurance Cup in 2017.
TF Sport are very much the team of the moment having secured not only the British GT GT3 Championship with Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston but also the GT3 Le Mans Cup GT3 Team title in 2016 with Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey and securing themselves a European Le Mans Series GTE and Le Mans 24Hr entry to boot.
Rejoining Al Harthy in the #46 car for 2017 will be AMR WEC squad member Jonny Adam who partnered the Omani (and Devon Modell) in 2016 to finish in the seventh overall in Pro-Am.
“I’m thrilled to be racing with Jonny as my team-mate again and, of course, with Aston Martin,” Ahmad said. “Our new partnership with TF Sport is the start of a fresh chapter and we’re determined to mount a very strong challenge in Blancpain this year. I am also extremely excited to be taking part in the Le Mans 24 Hours support race and to be returning to the Gulf 12 Hours.”
Oman Racing will make their first ‘official’ appearance of the year during the pre-season Blancpain Endurance Cup test days at Paul Ricard in France on 13th/14th March. The championship gets underway one month later, over the weekend 22nd/23rd April at Monza in Italy.
Blancpain Endurance Cup Calendar
Rd1 Monza, Italy – 22/23 April
Rd2 Silverstone, UK – 13/14 May
Rd3 Paul Ricard, France – 23/24 June
Rd4 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – 29/30 July
Rd5 Barcelona, Spain – 30 September/1 October
Pre-Season Test: Paul Ricard, France – 13/14 March
Total 24 Hours Test: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – 4 July
Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup - Le Mans 24 Hours Support Race
Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France – 17 June
Gulf 12 Hours
Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi – 16 December
With one complete season with their Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 now under their belts, Italian squad Solaris Motorsport have decided to take the next step the racing ladder for 2017 as they embark upon a full season of european racing within the International GT Open Championship.
Having concentrated their transfer to their new AMR chassis last year primarily within their domestic Italian Gran Turismo Championship securing a whole mixed bag of results from podium to DNF's in th process, the team did see out the year at the finale of the International GT Open securing a podium finish in the second race along with AMR supply driver Jody Fannin.
It was that experience that changed their minds for this year!
With the team also now having secured full AMR Partner Team status for 2017, their black and gold V12 Vantage will again be driven this year by team lead driver Francesco Sini who will this year be joined by accomplished Swiss driver Mauro Calamia
Calamia is no stranger to the worldwide racing scene having successfully competed in the Trofeo Maserati World Series, GT4 European Series and the 2016 12hours of Abu Dhabi were he secured a third placed finish to mention a few.
Team principle Roberto Sini said that after two years in the Italian series they needed to take on a new challenge. "We decided to race in an European contest against a lot of strong competitors. The podium we got in Barcelona motivated us to accept this new project, with a car, the Aston Martin GT3, that proved to be very competitive last year.
Speaking with the team today, we understand that the new driver line up are scheduled to test somewhere in Italy next week although the team's attendance at the official series test in Barcelona this weekend is unlikely and attendance within the 'winter series' is also yet to be decided.
Today see's the former PFL Motorsport Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 as raced by Peter Littler and Jody Fannin in the 2016 British GT Championship listed for sale on the Racecars Direct Website.
Details listed are
The car was bought in October 2015 from AMR who had run the car from new. The vehicle was supplied with zero kilometers on all components and has currently covered 6523 km. The engine has just had its 7000 km rebuild and is awaiting collection. Gearbox has covered 2365 km and new clutch and driveshafts have just been fitted.
Full endurance kit including lights, brake calipers and full data logging loom are included with the car
5 sets of wheels, spare brakes, propshaft, dampers and springs are also part of the package.
Car can be supplied with engine fitted or supplied direct from AMR.
We are open to offers and the vehicle car be viewed in Cheshire.