Optimum on Pole for British GT in Spa

Optimum on Pole for British GT in Spa


Appears that all of Optimum Motorsports preparatory at Spa Francorchamps two weeks ago has paid them dividends as drivers Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam secure overall pole position for tomorrows race.

Alongside the #11 TF Sport car of Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim, the #75 Optimum crew were consistently fast during both Free Practice session with only the #11 car and the #116 ERC Mercedes denying them top honours respectively.


Being another single race event, both drivers had to set their own qualifying time with the aggregate of both determining the starting order. Haigh was first out with the other GT3 Am drivers where she set the second fastest time just 0.18 seconds behind Rick Parfett's Bentley with Graham Davidson just as close again in P3. With the Pro's then taking over, Adam claimed that groups third fastest time to snatch overall pole from the #47 Jetstream AMR of Davidson and Maxime Martin by less than 0.2 of a second.


Rounding off the remainder of the AMR GT3 field will see the #11 TF Sport in P4, the #99 Beechdean AMR car in P9 and the #17 TF Sport car in P12.

No such repetition of another front row qualifying either for the two Academy Motorsport V8 Vantage GT4's with their two cars coming back line astern in the timing screen to start from the fifth row of the GT4 grid.

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey


Saturday, July 21, 2018 | Read more...
Prodrive's recruitment drive

Prodrive's recruitment drive



Healthy order books for the new Aston Martin Racing Vantage platforms have presumably compelled  Prodrive to seek over thirty new technical positions within its factory to help them build and maintain these new cars from their Banbury facility.

With the new Vantage GTE still only looking forward to its third competitive race of its racing life next month at Silverstone, the factory have also just displayed the new concepts for the replacement GT3 and GT4 cars at Le Mans last month.

Some say that that the sales figure for both the new GT3 is already at a level that exceeds the iteration that it is replacing!


Details of all the available careers can be found on the Prodrive website HERE
Friday, July 20, 2018 | Read more...
Thankfully back on track but regrettably not on screen from Spa

Thankfully back on track but regrettably not on screen from Spa


After what feels like an absolute eternity, British GT thankfully returns to the track this weekend with the Championship's annual pilgrimage to Spa Francorchamps for the fifth round of an eight round season.

Having to cast our minds way back to early June for the last round of the Championship from Silverstone, the six week break has of course not been all rest and relaxation for some with many of the Championship's Pro and amatuer drivers featuring in other European and World Championship events including the 'big one' at Le Mans.


With the BGT weekend also being the catalyst for the SRO's Speed week from Spa, we shall also see several of the teams and drivers will also compete in the Total Spa 24 next weekend as well as the GT4 European Series support event that runs in support of BGT this weekend.

Again looking back, we will remember that Silverstone was another good race for the Aston Martin Racing Customer Team contingent with the #11 TF Sport car of Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim taking the overall honours by the end of the three hour race with Optimum's Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam hanging on the third in their #75 Vantage GT3.


Success continued for the marque in the GT4 class with Academy Motorsports Will Moore and Matt Nichol-Jones claiming the final step on their class podium in the final laps.

The summer break has not gone well for the Worcestershire team having had their #61 car as used Jan Jonck and Tom Wood written off in an accident at the Aston Martin Racing Festival at Le Mans just a week later  - a car that had also just had a brand new engine installed for the Silverstone round of the British GT Championship. 

We believe that the car the pair will be racing at Spa is a platformed cross hired from another team - who we don't know.

Despite the Provisional Entry for the GT4 European Series stating two Academy cars we believe that this has already reverted back to just one for Fiona James and Matt Nichol-Jones.


A couple of weeks ago both TF Sport and the Optimum Motorsport cars competed in the Spa 24 Test days in order to rekindle their acquaintances with both the car and track with each of their respective AMR factory drivers in attendance (Thiim, Sorensen and Adam).

British GT new comers - Jetstream Motorsport will be looking for a vast improvement in personal performances after inadvertent contact with Graham Davidson aboard saw their Silverstone race destroyed with both damage and a drive through whilst in a very competitive P2 position. We all saw from that just how disappointed their AMR works driver Maxime Martin was when that incident took place on track!


Beechdean AMR have perhaps been the quietest out of the bunch with little/no testing (that we know about at least) taking place over the summer break. The team have disclosed that they have made various technical changes to their car for Spa and only time will tell how effective they are for drivers Andrew Howard and Darren Turner after their unusually uncompetitive Silverstone.


Perhaps the most frustrating thing of all is that now the cars are back on track on one of the most challenging racing circuits in the world there will be NO live stream of the race at all! In previous years we have had to 'make do' with circuit cameras and periodic cameras installed for the Spa 25 Fun Cup event that historivcally started after the BGT race but that has already been run this year so we don't even have that. 

Considering cameras are still being installed as we speak for next weeks racing programme it wouldn't be too hard for the SRO to cover this national championship event with the continued TV coverage it deserves. That is our only continued criticism of what is otherwise a superbly organised championship.


Free Practice has already been completed for today with a second session and Qualifying tomorrow. The start of the two hour British GT race takes place at 13:40hrs (local) on Sunday.

Lets get back to racing!









Friday, July 20, 2018 | Read more...
Whitebridge AMR start pushing for the overall crown

Whitebridge AMR start pushing for the overall crown


With just three more round of the 2018 GT Cup calendar remaining, Whitebridge AMR duo of Chris Murphy and Adam Hatfield are pushing for the overall crown after another top step class finish from Oulton Park at the weekend.

First up on Saturday was Hatfield who claimed class pole by just 0.5 of a second ahead of the #15 Ginetta before race 1 proved to be something of a quiet affair with an important lights to flag race winning performance and class fastest lap from the Norfolk based driver.

“It was a good race and a nice, quiet, uneventful race for a change,” said Hatfield. “It feels good to be able to just go and build a gap and maintain it until the end.


With Murphy starting the second race of the weekend a late stop call to hand over to Hatfield allowed the JMH Ginetta to pass the #72 V8 Vantage GT4 for position to win by over thirty seconds.

Despite race two's 'minor' setback, these results allowed the Whitebridge AMR team to consolidate their GTH class lead to 64 points above their nearest rival but critically they move to within 19 points of the overall championship leading Top Cats Racing Marcos Mantis partly thanks to the omission of the Hudmotorsport Vantage GT3 from the event.


We have yet to hear of any official reasons for the withdrawal of the car from Oulton Park and/or the remainder of the season. Despite this, former Hudmotorsport Pro driver Adam Wilcox moved across to the WPI Porsche team and secured a joint P2 finish with co driver Michael Igoe.

Next round of the season is back at Snetterton in mid August.

Photo credit - Steve Jackman

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 | Read more...
Some jewels running at Silverstone Classic this weekend

Some jewels running at Silverstone Classic this weekend


For those looking for somewhere to go in the UK this weekend, it seems that amongst the thousand or so cars entered into the Silverstone Classic there will be a handful of Aston Martin Racing jewels.

With the full entry list being fragmented between various organising bodies it appears that there will be at least four runners in the Masters Endurance Legends races ranging between a GT1, two GT2's and a Lola DBR1-2.

Strakka Racing's Nick Leventis is due out aboard (presumably) his own #61 Aston Martin Racing DBR9 that he once shared with Darren Turner and Peter Hardman - the original creator of Strakka. Leventis will share the car this time with historic racing guru Sam Hancock.


In the GT2 class, Colin Sowter again competes aboard his former JWA European Le Mans Series entered car together with Tom Kimber-Smith and (possibly) Paul Whight abroad the latter's former Barwell prepared British GT entry


Rounding off the obvious Aston Martin Racing entries will be Christophe d'Ansembourg and his #008 Lola Aston Martin AMR 1-2.

All four cars are entered in Thursday's private test at the circuit ahead of the main events spread across both Saturday and Sunday and all of this doesn't event include any other car that may just happen to be around the paddock and display areas at the circuit!

Photo credits - British GT / ELMS 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018 | Read more...
Keeping an eye out for stolen pit equipment

Keeping an eye out for stolen pit equipment


It sadly appears that Bourne, near Peterborough based EDF Motorsports have this weekend been victim to some petty crime that has left them without vital workshop equipment, damage to their race transporter and all the inconvenience to boot.

A more colourful account of the teams actual thoughts and sentiments can be found on their faceebook page HERE, otherwise if we could all keep an eye out for any offerings of 'cheap' torque wenches, socket sets, pliers, grip, etc (especially in the local area to their base) then we are sure that they would like to hear from you so that they can get their gear recovered and put those responsible into the legal system (for what that could be worth!)


Monday, July 16, 2018 | Read more...
Optimum seek Spa success as British GT heads to Belgium

Optimum seek Spa success as British GT heads to Belgium


Having finished less than five seconds behind the Silverstone 500 winner to secure their second podium of the season, Optimum Motorsport head to Spa Francorchamps this coming weekend (21 – 22 July) for the fifth round of the British GT Championship in a confident frame of mind.

Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam are fourth in the drivers’ championship, just half a point shy of their nearest rival. Testing at Spa earlier in July in the #175 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was very successful for the team, with Jonny topping the timesheets by over a second on the first day. The second day of running brought wet conditions, so whatever the weather, the team are now looking forward to a successful race in Belgium.

Shaun Goff, team principal
“We have had a good test in varied conditions. Jonny was mega quick at the end of the first day, while we also got plenty of wet running completed on the second day of the test. We think we will be up there but as ever it is always about finding those tiny elements and bringing everything together when it counts. We’ve proven ourselves to be race winners already this year, we just want to get back to that top step of the podium.”

Flick Haigh
“The Spa test was very positive for us, we have maximised on the two days with varied track conditions. I would like to think we turn up to the Spa race weekend well prepared and ready to challenge for maximum points.”

Jonny Adam
“I’m really looking forward to Spa British GT as the championship fight is getting closer. We had two really positive days at spa testing in both wet and dry conditions. The car, team and Flick’s pace we’re strong which gives us great confidence at an important round in the championship. The aim is to get another podium finish and big points.”


Source material - Optimum Motorsport

Monday, July 16, 2018 | Read more...
Beechdean AMR prepares to come out fighting at Spa

Beechdean AMR prepares to come out fighting at Spa


A difficult race at Silverstone last month interrupted a strong run of podium finishes for the Beechdean AMR team’s British GT title fight. After a good look at what went wrong it’s now time to get the championship challenge back on track and what a place to do it!

The glorious Spa-Francorchamps Circuit hosts the only round of the 2018 British GT Championship to take place outside of the UK, which is a single, two-hour race this Sunday. The fast flowing seven-kilometre track is a driver favourite, due to its challenging configuration that includes the famous Eau Rouge/Raidillon combination and the daunting Blanchimont.

“Spa is not a circuit for the faint-hearted,” said team boss and driver of the #99 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GTE, Andrew Howard. “But that’s good as we’re not a faint-hearted team! I have many great memories of racing at Spa, which I have been doing since 2002 and have historically gone well there.”



Talking of the changes made to the Beechdean AMR team in the last few weeks, Howard said: “Since Silverstone we’ve taken a good look at everything that went wrong. We are constantly looking at improving things but this time we found ourselves having to find out why the car was so difficult to drive at a circuit we usually go well at. We’ve changed a few things and kept a few other things so this weekend we’ll find out if we made the right choices.

“We’ve also done some great work on the Base Performance simulator and our times in the sim reflected where we thought we should be as drivers so let’s get back on track at Spa and see if we did all the right things!”

Talking of the changes made to the Beechdean AMR team in the last few weeks, Howard said: “Since Silverstone we’ve taken a good look at everything that went wrong. We are constantly looking at improving things but this time we found ourselves having to find out why the car was so difficult to drive at a circuit we usually go well at. We’ve changed a few things and kept a few other things so this weekend we’ll find out if we made the right choices.


 
“We’ve also done some great work on the Base Performance simulator and our times in the sim reflected where we thought we should be as drivers so let’s get back on track at Spa and see if we did all the right things!”


Source material - Beechdean AMR
Monday, July 16, 2018 | Read more...
AMR runners join others for WEC test at Silverstone

AMR runners join others for WEC test at Silverstone



Four Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE's will take to the track tomorrow at Silverstone for a single day (declared) test in preparation for the forthcoming round of the World Endurance Championship in a months time.

The teams two new GTE Pro cars as well as the AMR and TF Sport entered GTE AM cars will be joining ten other GTE and LMP2 competitors including the two Porsche GT GTE Pro cars that were so convincing at Le Mans.


As for the murky topic of Balance of Performance - its way too far from the event for the championship's technical delegates to have specified any changes in criteria as per there 'auto BoP' system.


Sunday, July 15, 2018 | Read more...
As Goodwood FOS draws to a close the racing season reconvenes

As Goodwood FOS draws to a close the racing season reconvenes


Another good job done for Aston Martin after four days of terrific display of both road and race cars to die for and all demonstrated with vigour up the legendary hill of Goodwood House at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

For 2018, emphasis was very much upon the new road cars being released out of the Gaydon factory including the  all new DBS Superleggera, the extremely exclusive V12 Vantage V600 as well as various models from the AMR Performance range including the Rapide and DB11.


Aston Martin Racing factory drivers Darren Turner and Nicki Thiim have been on hand throughout the weekend to run demonstration laps aboard the Vulcan AMR Pro and the new V8 Vantage GTE. The teams yet to be finalised V8 Vantage GT3 was there but surprisingly only as a static display.

An Aston Martin of old grabbed the news headlines earlier this weekend by becoming the most expensive car ever sold in a European auction room when a 1961 DB4 GT Zagato was sold for over £10 million to an undisclosed European buyer.


Finally and in a totally outlandish display of technical ability, we saw the 'ultimate city car' get fitted with a V8 engine from a Vantage S as a bespoke commission from a customer with Aston Martin's Q service to race up the hill in a time its smaller engined 'cousin' could only dream!


This weekend also draws the early summer break to an end with many national, European and World championships resuming over the coming weeks. For many of the factory AMR drivers, that resumption of customer team duty starts just next weekend as the British GT Championship returns with their annual excursion to Spa Francorchamps before many stay behind for the Blancpain GT Endurance Spa 24 headline event just the week later.

As for the World Endurance Championship - that resumes at Silverstone in just four weeks time! Its all going to get rather busy - very quickly!!

#TeamAMR

Photo credits - Drew Gibson / Aston Martin / Goodwood FOS

Sunday, July 15, 2018 | Read more...
Bid for Turners Le Mans winning race suit

Bid for Turners Le Mans winning race suit



Take a look at the Silverstone Auctions website for details of some marvellous motorsport memorabilia than is on offer as part of the BRDC Charity Auction which includes a race suit as worn by Aston Martin Racing's Darren Turner at Le Mans last year - the year that he, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra won the GTE Pro class after an amazing final lap with the Corvette.

This is a real slice of AMR history and all for a great cause.

Full details of the suit can be found HERE with the listings available HERE
Thursday, July 12, 2018 | Read more...
End of the road for HudMotorsport in GT Cup?

End of the road for HudMotorsport in GT Cup?



It appears that the Hud Motorsport Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3's participation in the GT Cup Series has unfortunately come to a premature end with the car already being pulled from the provisional entry for the next round at Oulton Park and perhaps for the remainder of the season.

Whilst there has been no official confirmation of this, we believe that a continuing disagreement with the Series regarding the scoring system for single cars in a class has lead to Nigel Hudson withdrawing the #12 car that he has raced so successfully this year with Adam Wilcox to lie second overall and first in their GTO class.



Indeed, the entry list for this weekends sixth of an eight round season already sees Wilcox joining Michael Igoe in his WPI Motorsport prepared Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car.

This is extremely unfortunate for all concerned, this was reportedly Hudson's 'make or break' year in this Series having missed out last year to Jetstream Motorsport's Graham Davidson who now races a V12 Vantage GT3 in British GT.

Lets hope that we see the delightfully liveried Hud Motorsport car return to a track soon.

Photo credits - Steve Jackman 


Wednesday, July 11, 2018 | Read more...
Back on the podium for China Equity AMR in China GT

Back on the podium for China Equity AMR in China GT


It was back to podium winning ways for the China Equity AMR team as both of their entries at last weekend's third round of the China GT Championship collected silverware in both the Am and Pro-Am classes.

Having experienced technical issues last time out, drivers of the teams lead #618 car, Jack Mitchell and Ryan Liu were looking to make amends and recover the GT4 Championship lead that they had lost in Zhejiang. Joining them on the grid for the teams 'local' round were Am-Am entry of Zhang Fangxuan and David Pun in the golden #619 car.


With Liu qualifying P3 in class and behind the championship leading McLaren, he soon found himself down another place as the AAI BMW climbed two positions in one corner to split the McLaren and AMR. By the time of the compulsory pit stop the race leading KTM X-Bow suffered technical gremlins that saw their decisive lead cut and then overtaken by Mitchell as he put the 'pedal to the metal' to switly take the lead before ultimately securing another race win by nearly twenty seconds.


For the #619 crew, and despite a spin midway through the race saw the new driver combo secure a P3 in class podium for themselves.


Overnight rain left the grid with a quandary on Sunday with standing water left of track but no rain actually falling come the start of the second race. Pole sitting Ryan Liu opted to continue with slick Michelin tyres as those around him opted for wets, decisions that proved immediately beneficial for the others!


Slippery track conditions would claim the #619 China Equity car after a clash with the #28 Lotus at turn 8 that would require the services of the Safety Car in a race that would see three DNF's.

Liu lived to regret their earlier tyre decision as his tip-toeing around lost them significant track time compared to those of wets. Indeed such was the deficit that by the time Mitchell had completed the final stint at the midway point, the best even he could achieve was P3 but a lap down to the winners.


The results of the weekend have allowed the #618 crew to reduce the Championship deficit to the #570 McLaren to just two points at the half way stage of the Championship.

A quick turn around in the series this month will see Mitchell and the Prodrive supplied technicians make the long haul flight out to the Ningbo International Circuit (a new circuit for the Championship this year) to the north east of Hong Kong at the end of the month.

Photo credits - China Equity AMR




Monday, July 09, 2018 | Read more...
Aston Martin looking to boss the hill again at FOS

Aston Martin looking to boss the hill again at FOS




Aston Martin will be taking the Goodwood Festival of Speed by storm in 2018, with nine cars confirmed to take on the world-renowned hillclimb. Between 12th and 15th July, there will be no fewer than three public debuts, as well as the new Vantage and the entire DB11 family, at the famous home of the Duke of Richmond.

Aston Martin’s new flagship Super GT, the DBS Superleggera, will be making its first public appearance at the festival. Not only will it be on static display in the Supercar paddock where visitors will be able to get a closer look at its muscular carbon fibre bodywork, but it will also be driving up the 1.16-mile hillclimb. As the 211mph DBS accelerates away from the start line, spectators will be treated to the sound of its 725PS, 900NM, twin-turbo V12 as it thunders between the lime trees.

Making its dynamic debut from the First Glance paddock will be the Rapide AMR. The 205mph four-door is the latest car in the exciting new AMR stable that draws direct engineering and aesthetic links to Aston Martin’s successful race team – Aston Martin Racing. In a first for a Rapide it has both 21-inch wheels and carbon ceramic brakes, which will help it to slow in time for the fearsome Molecomb corner.



Also making its dynamic debut will be the stunning V12 Vantage V600. This car made its static debut last month at Le Mans but now the public will be able to to see and hear this incredible limited-edition car in motion. Only 14 examples (seven coupes and seven roadsters) of the V600 will be made, so Goodwood provides a rare opportunity to see this special customer commission created by Q by Aston Martin. With a naturally aspirated V12 it should sound wonderful as it negotiates the famous flint wall.

All three members of the DB11 family will be in attendance at the Festival of Speed. The V8 and the Volante will be joined by the latest, range-topping DB11 AMR in the Supercar Paddock. Sitting alongside them will be the striking new Vantage with its 510PS, twin-turbo V8. All of the current production car range will also be in action from Thursday to Sunday, tackling the Birdless Grove as they climb through the final turns of the hillclimb.



In addition to Aston Martin’s renowned sportscar range, Aston Martin Racing will also be bringing its latest Vantage GTE to the Goodwood hill, fresh from the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans. Based in the Motorsport Paddock, the #95 will be piloted by the 2016 GTE Pro champion Nicki Thiim throughout the weekend. The Dane will be sure to wow the crowds in the lime-liveried World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’ racer from Friday onwards.

Finally, the wildest model the company has ever produced, the Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro, will be taking part in the timed runs up the hill, driven by Aston Martin Racing veteran Darren Turner. Its 820BHP V12, huge levels of downforce and, perhaps most importantly, its shorter gearing should all give this uprated version of the Vulcan the best possible chance of setting an impressive time on the short, technical course. As it sprints under the famous chequered finishing arch and breaks the timing beam at the top of the hill there will no doubt be more than a few people intrigued to see what the stopwatch says.



While Aston Martin is more than well represented on track, visitors will also be able to get closer to the brand’s latest models at a dedicated stand with six models on hand - DBS Superleggera, Vantage, the DB11 family and Rapide S. The stand is located close to the Cricket Pitch, which serves as the Festival of Speed Silver Jubilee Display throughout the weekend.

The action kicks off at Goodwood Festival of Speed on Thursday 12 July.


Source material - Aston Martin

Monday, July 09, 2018 | Read more...