Aston Martin Racing wins WEC GTE Am Championship

Aston Martin Racing wins WEC GTE Am Championship

Aston Martin Racing clinched the GTE Am drivers’ and teams’ titles in the final round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship in Bahrain on Saturday. Capping an astonishing season that included seven pole positions and four victories for the crew of the #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE, Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy covered themselves in glory on the series’ final visit to the Bahrain International Circuit.

Having started from pole position, the #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE delivered a storming drive to take an emphatic victory of the season in the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain, securing a dream result for everyone in the team and those back at the factory in the UK.

After coming out on top in a fierce battle with the #98 car’s chief championship rival in the first stint, Lauda handed over to Dalla Lana who drove two brilliant stints to keep the car in control of its destiny. Aston Martin Racing stalwart Lamy had the honour of bringing the car home at the flag having built up an indomitable lead in his two stints.

Afterwards, an emotional Lamy said: “This is a dream come true. We’ve been trying so hard for four years now and finally we’ve won. We were so strong in the past taking so many pole positions and race wins even when we were not in the fastest car on the grid. For so many seasons we’ve missed out on that feeling of winning a championship but now we’ve got that feeling and I’m incredibly happy. I just want to say that it’s a big honour to win this championship and to do that with Aston Martin. This is the most important one for me and to take this championship alongside Mat and Paul is really special. I’ve raced with this team now for many years and I have a lot of love for this brand”.

For Dalla Lana, the first Canadian to win an FIA WEC title, this championship victory represented four years of hard grind. “To describe the feeling of winning this championship in one word… finally! I’ve seen Nicki and Marco enjoy this moment last year and Darren, Jonny and Daniel at Le Mans this year, so I can appreciate what they went through because this really is complete and total satisfaction. It’s so hard to get here, you need hundreds of people behind you but to have finally made it feels great. It’s going to have to sink in over some time but for now I just want to really enjoy this moment. Thank you so much to the team for making this championship victory a reality”.
It was also the first time that Lauda had won a world championship and Mat admitted he was ‘over the moon’ with the result. “With Paul and Pedro we’ve won 12 races in the three years that I’ve been in this car and the championship has always been our main goal and finally we’ve done it! That was a tough race,” he said. “The only way the Dempsey Porsche could win the championship was if we had a problem and they won but I took my time in my opening stint without taking any risks to make the pass. Once I got past him, the car felt great and I was really able to open the gap, drive smart and just make sure not to make any mistakes. The last hour was so tough to watch but to watch Pedro cross the line was an absolute dream come true”.
In GTE Pro, Aston Martin Racing was unable to repeat the success of 2016, where Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen clinched the world crown, as the V8 Vantage GTE bowed of the Pro category. Having shown excellent pace in qualifying, ultimately the challenge of the #97 and #95 crews faded in the race to sixth and seventh positions in class.
“It was always going to be difficult when you have to run four sets of tyres over a six-hour race,” said Darren Turner, who shares the #97 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE with Jonny Adam. “Once the first hour is done you don't really know where you are because everyone is going to split their strategies to suit themselves and it is not so easy to understand the pace relative to the others. There were some good points during the race and I certainly enjoyed it but the highlight for everyone in the team this weekend is the performance by #98. Another textbook race by those guys and it's just so nice that they have got the title and every member of the team will be celebrating hard with them tonight.”
Paul Howarth, Team Principal Aston Martin Racing said, “It's brilliant to still be world champions as a team. Having conceded the FIA GTE Pro titles, we've won the GTE Am titles for Aston Martin Racing. Seven poles, four wins, the Am class and GTE Pro wins in Le Mans and Mexico. It's the icing on the cake for the whole team and everyone involved in Aston Martin Racing. All the partners, Dunlop, everybody back at Gaydon, winning world championships don't come easy. It's an immense moment for the people who support the team including Paul Dalla Lana and it's a big moment for Pedro and Mathias too. They have stuck with it, and come close so many times.

We decided from the outset that we were here to race. You can make so many errors driving around for position, and then you force an error and get in the wrong position on the track. So the plan was to lead from the front, and they committed to that. Once Mathias took that leap forward he got back on par with everybody else and then just carried a very strong pace which is a credit to all three of them, the car and everybody in the team. We then carried a strong pace to the end to let the opposition know there was no chance of winning.
The V8 Vantage GTE has bowed out in real style. It's a Le Mans winner, a world championship winner for the second year in a row. It can be recognised as one of the greatest cars in GT racing and going forward the next generation of race cars have a hard act to follow.”
John Gaw, Managing Director Aston Martin Racing added: “I'm so pleased for Paul because he's tried so hard and he's been working for this for four years. That makes winning the championship all the more special. He's a great team player and he made the difference again today with his strong middle stint, just as he made the difference in qualifying. Mathias drove well to put the car in the right position at the start and Pedro delivered what was needed to bring home the title. I'm very happy and proud of everyone at Aston Martin Racing tonight and the team behind the #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE deserve all the credit.
Now we get to celebrate tonight and then on Tuesday we launch the next chapter in Aston Martin Racing's GT story and that's incredibly exciting”.

Source material - AMR 
Sunday, November 19, 2017 |
GTE Am destiny in their own hands in Bahrain?

GTE Am destiny in their own hands in Bahrain?

Aston Martin Racing claimed the GTE Am pole position for the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain, bringing the crew of the #98 V8 Vantage GTE to the brink of FIA World Endurance Championship title glory.

Pedro Lamy (P) and Paul Dalla Lana (C) claimed a vital point for their achievement to give them both and teammate Mathias Lauda (A) an 11-point lead over their nearest rivals. The trio must finish at least third in Saturday’s season finale to secure the GTE Am drivers’ and teams’ world championships.

While Pedro delivered his usual high level of performance in qualifying, the Portuguese paid tribute to Dalla Lana who’s time was more than a second faster than any other amateur in the session. It was the crew’s seventh pole position of the season.

Lamy said, “I did an okay time but Paul, compared with all the other Bronze drivers, did a brilliant job. He really made the difference. It is great for us and the point is really important considering the championship position we are in”.

Dalla Lana added that while securing the title was now a real possibility, he was trying hard not to think about it. “The plan is to win, but tomorrow is one of those occasions where we need to finish and focus on being where we need to be to secure our ultimate goal. I’m afraid to talk about anything more than that!”

In GTE Pro, the #97 V8 Vantage GTE of Darren Turner and Jonny Adam will start the V8 Vantage GTE’s last race in the category from the front row after placing second during the session. With Turner out first, the car quickly shot to the top of the times with a 1m56.021s before dropping behind the pole car. When Jonny Adam took over from the Englishman, he encountered traffic on his fastest lap, but even still the duo’s best combined average came to 1m56.372s, +0.339s away from the top slot.

Turner said, “It's wonderful that we are on the front row for the last race of the Vantage. It would have been nice to get pole position like we had here 12 months ago. It was very close and I think everyone except the pole car probably had a few points around the track where they lost a tenth and with the competition as strong as it is you need perfect laps by everyone. We tried a different strategy with Jonny and myself, which didn't help Jonny, so we've learnt something for the race tomorrow. I think we are in good shape and you can see by the times it's going to be a close battle.”

The #95 V8 Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim (D) and Marco Sørensen (D) will start tomorrow’s race from 5th, after an uncharacteristically low key session.

Thiim said: “The car feels good it's just that on the watch we are just not quick enough. It's not going to be a walk in the park like we thought it would, but we are still in it.”

Paul Howarth, Team Principal Aston Martin Racing said, “This is the seventh pole of the year in GTE Am, so it was a strong performance by #98. Every point is important so to take one for pole means tomorrow we need to finish in the top three. But there is still some way to go. Darren and Jonny drove a really strong lap, nearly there but not quite enough. Going for pole is critical for the team, and it would have great for the last race of V8 Vantage GTE in the championship, but it shows its competitiveness to the end.”

The Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain will begin at 16h00 local time on Saturday 18 November.

Source material - AMR

Due to an untimely clash with family business abroad we will not be able to cover the race. We do obviously hope that Messrs Dalla Lana, Lamy and Lauda achieve the dizzy heights of WEC GTE Am Champions cum the end of the race tomorrow, not just for themselves but for all those who work around them and have supported them all year. You really do deserve it!

We also hope the the GTE Pro boys get to finish the race on the podium so that their most trusted and successful steed sees out her Pro duties on the high that she deserves.

Good luck - be safe and take that silverware guys!!!!

Friday, November 17, 2017 |
Aston Martin Racing's GTE Pro Vantage swansong

Aston Martin Racing's GTE Pro Vantage swansong

British marque Aston Martin retires its most successful ever racing car, the V8 Vantage GTE, from GTE Pro duty after the final round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship in Bahrain. Meanwhile, the team’s GTE Am squad goes into the finale hunting championship glory.

V8 Vantage GTE: 2012-2017

After winning the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans in June in dramatic fashion, the #95 and #97 Aston Martin Racing entries will be looking to provide both cars with a suitable send-off this weekend in the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain, the final race at the venue which does not feature on next year’s calendar..

The #95 car will once again be driven by the 2016 GTE reigning Drivers’ champions Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim. The Danish duo wrapped up their title in Bahrain last year with victory, while Le Mans-winning drivers Darren Turner and Jonny Adam will occupy the driving seat of #97.

Having won 36 races, four championship titles and stolen the hearts of race fans worldwide between 2012 and 2017, the V8 Vantage GTE will look to add one final win to its tally in GTE Pro this weekend.

After racing the car in each of its campaigns and taking Le Mans victory in the car earlier this year, driver Darren Turner said: "For everyone at Aston Martin Racing, the actual journey with the race car has been truly a great experience. From the first year in 2012; where we didn’t get the car’s first win until the last race in Shanghai, to then watch it grow into one of the most successful cars in the championship both in Am and Pro. It has pretty much won at every venue throughout the championship and it's been amazing.

"We've had some hard battles with it, we've had the highest highs and we've had a few lows as well. The evolution of that car from one season to the next as we've strived to remain competitive with the technical package is testament to the hard work that has gone into it by everybody back at Aston Martin Racing and everyone at Aston Martin developing and designing such an amazing and special car. So it will be sad to race it for the last time in the Pro category on Saturday, but everyone can look back and have fond memories and be very proud of what has been achieved with the V8 Vantage GTE."

In celebration, all three V8 Vantage GTEs will sport a unique livery this weekend, with a montage of iconic podiums from the car’s WEC career from 2012-2017 adorning each roof and the iconic Vantage GTE nameplate will be proudly worn across each rear wing.

While the V8 Vantage GTE will live on in GTE Am, this weekend marks a significant point in Aston Martin Racing’s history.

Source material - AMR

Thursday, November 16, 2017 |
Possibly three Astons on The Mountain this weekend

Possibly three Astons on The Mountain this weekend

Today sees the start of the 2017 Challenge Bathurst event from Mount Panorama with three Aston Martin Racing platforms now due to participate.

Used by many as valuable preparatory track experience of the circuit before the Liquid Moly 12 Hours of Bathurst in early 2018, this weekend's entry list sees tiptop racer cum GT convertee, Jeremy Gray joining the fray with his #67 AMR V8 Vantage GT4 alongside the Miedecke Stone Motorsport's Vantage GT3 and GT4 which the father and son dup will share.

Andrew Miedecke and Jeremy Gray have already raced together this year in their local New South Wales Motor Racing Championships in what was formally an Academy Motorsports car together with Andrew taking class honours first time out in their recently acquired N24.

George Miedecke is also listed to attend in the team's other V12 Vantage GT3 car as he works to finalise the team's plans to race in the 12 Hours of Bathurst in the Pro/Pro class with possibly two cars although the GT3's attendance is not yet confirmed.

All three AMR's will see track action over both Saturday and Sunday with live timing available HERE

Photo credits - MSM
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 |
Generation AMR Super Racing back in the Gulf

Generation AMR Super Racing back in the Gulf

Although expected, Matt George has tonight confirmed the entry of the #44 Generation AMR Super Racing V8 Vantage GT4 into next months Gulf 12Hr event from Abu Dhabi.

With a more concise entry list still yet to be published, we believe that the #44 entry will again include SuperDry co-founder and designer James Holder but this year will not Britcar racer Chris Murphy whom George has also shared his V8 Vantage GT4 in that series this season.

Last year the trio qualified their Appleby Engineering prepared GTX (GT4) car second in class for the start of the two part race before ultimately finishing just one lap off a podium position in fourth.

Track action will begin on Thursday 14th December with both day and night time Free Practice with a further session on Friday before each driver has to submit a qualifying time from which an aggregate is used to determine the grid.

Part One of the race is between 09:30-15:30 (local) with part two running between 17:45-23:45hrs (local).

Photo credits - Gulf 12Hr / Generation AMR
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 |
Winners first time out at Daytona

Winners first time out at Daytona

French Canadian racing duo of Louis-Philippe and Marc Montour claimed class honours at last weekends HSR Classic 24Hr from Daytona International Speedway.

More accustomed to muscle cars of American origin, the father and son team took the GT Class Group E with with their most recent acquisition, the more refined and former PFL Motorsport Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3.

We wait to see what plans the crew and the GT Racing team have in mind for their AMR in 2018.

Photo credits - GT Racing

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 |
Giving the old Vantage GTE Pro car the send off it deserves

Giving the old Vantage GTE Pro car the send off it deserves

This weekend's round of the World Endurance Championship is not only the final race of the 2017 season but also marks itself as the final competitive time we shall see an Aston Martin Racing normally aspirated, 2016 specification V8 Vantage GTE compete in the top flight GTE Pro world stage.

Having joined service with the team at its development stage over the latter half of 2011, the V8 Vantage GTE entered the competitive GT scene in 2012 as the factory's direct replacement to the ill- fated AMR One Project and since then has delivered many times over including the GTE Pro titles last year and of course the brilliant LM24 win this year.

With both the #95 and #97 cars unfortunately already out of any championship contention in whats left of the 2017 season, the team will still be looking to give its very reliable and successful racing representative of its road going fleet the send off it deserves as the curtain falls on what has been a somewhat mixed season for team.

Running what has effectively been a Grandfathered car in a field of new, groundbreaking endurance racers has been a difficult affair in its own right but those who AMR race have also 'picked up' their own game to match and even excel in areas of strength that AMR enjoyed for themselves last year.

Encouraged by the allocation of a positive Balance of Performance adjustment for this event by virtue of a slight base weight reduction (1186kg to 1181kg) and large air restrictors (29.0mm to 29.8mm) these should (at least in theory) give both Pro cars the momentum that they have yearned for most of the season whilst the Ford's, Porsche's and Ferrari's are all preoccupied scrapping for this seasons top honours.

The car shall of course now remain within the Championship in the GTE Am class with possibly up to three cars being fielded in 2018.

Hopefully over the course of this weekend we shall also start to hear more answers to the questions being raised from the video captured last week of the new for 2018 Vantage GTE testing at Sebring, with the new car seemingly sporting the rubber of another tyre manufacturer together with speculation (from one main stream media outlet at least) of an expected driver change for 2018! Its somewhat ironic that one of the test circuits for the new platform this year was the same as the opening round for the then new GTE creation back in 2012!

But then, the official release of the car has been confirmed as being on the 21st November, just three days after Bahrain and what we don't learn over this week we will hopefully find out by the of Tuesday next week!

We also wait to see if AMR will in fact be present at the post Bahrain race test on Sunday despite only four cars being listed from AF Corse and Porsche but we suppose that will rather depend upon how many new cars Prodrive have built!!

Track activity begins this Thursday with the first of two Free Practice sessions before the third session and Qualifying on Friday. The start of the race begins at 16.00hrs GMT.

Photo credits - AMR

Monday, November 13, 2017 |
BoP  - Hopefully not a game changer in the GTE AM Championship shoot-out?

BoP - Hopefully not a game changer in the GTE AM Championship shoot-out?

With only a handful of days left before the start of track proceedings for the final round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship, we see that the crew of the #98 Aston Martin racing car will be on the back foot in their quest to secure their first Championship title on Saturday.

Having left China after that convincing win (by over a lap) after their nightmare round that was Fuji and having re-established themselves at the top of the Am leader board, drivers Paul Dalla-Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy will start the 6Hours of Bahrain event with another negative Balance of Performance adjustment that shall see a slower V8 Vantage in the desert.

A 10kg increase in base weight compared to Shanghai of 1198kg to 1208kg and smaller air restrictors (29mm to 29.8mm) will have a massive impact on the cars performance both in acceleration and top end speed as we have seen many times before with the teams two Pro car entries.

At least the #98 squad shall enter the final race with a ten point advantage over the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche with a further point to the #61 Clearwater Ferrari and with another 26 points again being on offer the permutations are endless!

Neither the Porsche nor Ferrari have had a BoP adjustment placed upon them.

We believe that Dalla-Lana was also present at last weeks test at Sebring with the new 2018 V8 Vantage GTE along with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen as the Canadian strives to finalise his plans for 2018

As usual, track action starts this Thursday and Friday for the Free Practice and qualifying sessions with the race itself starting at 16:00hrs GMT

Photo credits - AMR

Monday, November 13, 2017 |
24H Series CoTA enduro resumes

24H Series CoTA enduro resumes

Having already raced for a very gruelling fourteen hours yesterday the 41 cars spread across the eight classes have just restarted their second, ten hour part of the race have just enjoyed a very polite and gentlemanly overnight break.

For a circuit that appears so vast with safety barriers set way off the racing limits, the preceding fourteen hours created for some extremely eventful racing with some competitors suffering some extreme damage to their cars in the process.

The three Aston Martin cars entered have all been included in that plethora of cars sustaining damage (self inflicted or not) leading to untimely delays in the garages.

Unfortunately, the #225 Speedworks AMR Vantage GT4 has suffered the most to date, sustaining front end damage in the opening minutes of the race yesterday, damage that has then gone on to continually hinder them throughout yesterday with intermittent electrical issues.

Despite all of this, the team are well versed to the complexities of running in the Creventic Series and have 'dug deep' into their pool of resolve and available spare parts to continue.
At the moment, team boss Chritian Dick is running P34 and fourth in class.

Next up in the Aston Martin Lagonda entered Vantage GT8 #232 of AML boss Andy Palmer, Peter Cate, Paul Hollywood and John Hindhaugh have led the SP3 class for many hours yesterday before firstly braking issues dropped them back down slightly before more sizeable contact damage and then suspension issues dropped them still further.

Presumably it was a difficult night sleep last night for AML VP and Special Operations Director David King having seen his one off pride and joy so distorted but then - who is going to argue with the boss?!!

Having to run to a defined delta lap time of no faster than 2:20:00 the #232 presently runs second in class but 14 laps down to the leading Brookspeed Porsche.

Finally, but no means least is the #20 De La Torre AMR V12 Vantage GT3 of Jorge De La Torre, Ross Gunn, Mark Kvamme and Korean Tack Sung Kim running in the A6-AM Class. Having been up at or about the top of the Am class lead for much of yesterday the young Mexican De La Torre finds himself circulating P9 overall and P4 in class having themselves struggled with earlier technical issues and damage.

With still more than nine hours of racing remaining anything can happen.........!!

Photo credits - AMR / Speedworks / 24H
Sunday, November 12, 2017 |