PROsport Performance withdraws from next round ADAC GT Masters

PROsport Performance withdraws from next round ADAC GT Masters

After what could only be described as a near total disappointment at the last round of the German ADAC GT Masters and GT4 Germany Series from Zandvoort last weekend, the PROsport Performance team have today confirmed their total withdrawal from this coming weekends round of both series at the Nürburgring.

With the team continuing to blame the lack of pre-season testing time with either of their new Aston Martin Racing GT3 or GT4 Vantages as part of their reason for their under performance so far this season together with the impending prospect of their GT4's having to compete this weekend with a poorer Balance of Performance, the team have felt compelled to make this decision on the grounds of cost and risk but with also the continued reputation of the team and brand being at stake.

In GT4, the issue was really apparent as it was all that drivers David Griessner and Akhil Rabindra could do to keep up with the leading KTM X-Bows and BMW's to finish P4 in race 1 only to learn that the AMR GT4 will be pegged back again for Nurburgring whilst the others platforms ahead would remain untouched.

Team Principle Christoph Esser said "This decision was very difficult for us, especially not to compete at our home track at the Nürburgring. But we have no other option but to draw this conclusion and to leave our cars in the Workshop because of the incomprehensible BoP change in the GT4 and the lack of competitiveness of the Vantage in the GT3.During the race to the ADAC GT4 Germany last weekend In Zandvoort, thanks to a positive BoP change, we were able to drive on front positions for the first time. 

Because other teams were penalized later, David Griessner and Akhil Rabindra were ranked fourth in the race on Saturday. But we never had a chance to win in Zandvoort.
Therefore, it is neither understandable nor acceptable for us that the BoP will deteriorate for Aston Martin after just one race. By contrast, the classification of BMW and KTM remains unchanged, although both vehicles since the beginning of the season are clearly superior and - regardless of driver - have won five of the six races, BMW three and KTM two".

AMR China GT racer, Yves Volte was due to audition for the team at the Nurburgring this weekend in the #18 but is supportive in this move by the team in their search for platform parity in the series.

We truly hope that the situation in both GT3 and GT4 improves for the final two rounds of the season.

Photo credits - ADAC GT Masters
Wednesday, August 14, 2019 |
How far these two have come since ............

How far these two have come since ............

Beaten to the simple point made yesterday by Beechdean AMR team Principle Andrew Howard, a point one we feel is very much worth repeating is the contributory factors that his Beechdean AMR team offered to two young, very talented individuals still in the early days of their careers as they looked to progress and who have now hit the news headlines for the very best of reasons this week.

Catching a few words with Andrew Howard at the penultimate round of the British GT Championship from Brands Hatch last weekend he reminded us about how his team was also about the promotion and development of young driving talent - giving them the much needed boost into their racing careers and not just a bit of 'fun' for himself.

That of course started off in 2014 when Beechdean AMR offered seats in their first Vantage GT4 for young drivers Ross Wylie and Jake Giddings who later went on to secured the British GT GT4 crown as the first time of asking. That was replicated the very next year when two GT novices - Ross Gunn and Jamie Chadwick stepped up to the plate to defend the team's crown and defend it they did taking the GT4 title at Snetterton with one meeting in hand.

With Gunn also winning the coveted Aston Martin Racing Academy selection process that year and an AMR works contract to boot, their racing careers then on took on very different paths to one another but today both now find themselves heading very much towards the top of their chosen pathways in the world of motorsport.

Whilst Gunn remained within the GT family, racing in Europe and China for many AMR customer teams including Beechdean AMR in both the European Le Mans Series, Le Mans 24 and most recently the Michelin Le Mans Cup, this weeks news of his selection to partner long term AMR customer Paul Dalla Lana together with works driver Darren Turner in this years coming World Endurance Championship is simply a just reward for all his efforts since 2014.

With some periods during his tenure at AMR barren to any obvious full season racing activity we must remember his contribution made to the development of the new 2019 Vantage platform in all three formats including winning the AMR Festival race in the GT3 iteration in its first international viewing at Le Mans last year.

Chadwick meanwhile elected to go the single seater route to learn more about aerodynamics in her race craft and those endeavours were ultimately rewarded last weekend with her winning the inaugural season of the W-Series. Not only that but she has gone on to be selected to join the Williams F1 Driver Academy but has also kept her hand in with GT racing by winning the SP8T class in this years ADAC Total 24H race earlier this year in the new Vantage GT4 making her truly a young lady with pure racing talent that Aston Martin are obviously also keen to retain and nurture

Whatever happens with these two guys over the next few years only time will tell but for Beechdean AMR we can be assured (as Howard told us at Brands) is that the team will be back racing somewhere in something again for 2020 and is already looking for new young potentials that they can also help move forward. That is one reason why Howard has recruited the young Frenchman Valentin Hasse Clot to help him see out the end of the 2019 British GT Championship after former co-driver Marco Sorensen had a sizeable accident at the Le Mans 24 and their championship potentials within British GT proved needing such a co-driver as unnecessary! Maybe that will be the teams GT3 pairing for 2020 already?

If you're looking for that extra step up then you'll be foolhardy to overlook Beechdean AMR as clearly history does repeat itself!

It seems that Beechdean doesn't just make good ice cream ............!!!

Photo credits - W-Series / AMR / Beechdean / British GT

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 |
PROsport Performances unhappy visit to the beach

PROsport Performances unhappy visit to the beach

Particularly during the summer holidays, any visit to a beach should be one of happiness and potential reward but sadly that was not the case as German based PROsport Performance reconvened to both the ADAC GT Masters and ADAC GT4 Germany from the Dutch coastal circuit of Zandvoort.

Intermittent torrential rain storms hampered everyones progress during the weekends earlier Free Practice sessions leading into Qualifying but even before that the team was already on the back foot. For reasons unclear, their resident Aston Martin Racing factory driver Maxine Martin was otherwise unavailable forcing the team to recruit at short notice the driving services of former Zandvoort ADAC GT Masters race winner Ezequiel Perez Companc to partner full season racer Daniel Keilwitz in the #99 AMR Vantage GT3.

Having also earlier this year released drivers Hugo de Sadeleer and Valentin Hasse Clot the team have yet to find a suitable co driver for Florian Thoma who has stepped up from their ADAC GT4 campaign to join them in GT3 so again, the team only had a single GT3 entry.

With Companc not used to the new Vantage, all available track track was given to him to familiarise himself but in turn that lead to under performance in set up that would thus hamper them during the two one jour races of the weekend..

Despite improving lap times over the weekend, the #99 car was never in a position to challenge with a slight contact during race one then further impeding any attempted progress with the car ultimately finishing P21. Race two wasn't much better for the team after Keilwitz Qualified the car in P25, surprisingly slow for him but understandable considering his lack of seat time during Free Practice. During another Safety Car interrupted race the #99 car would again finish a lowly P29 and on top of everything else so far this season, that was not a good return to the series.

In the supporting ADAC GT4 Germany Series, the team did return with their two AMR Vantage GT4's albeit with a revised driver line up in the #18 car.

Indeed it was the #18 car of David Griessner and Akhil Rabindra that partly saved the day for the team with a warranted lights to flag P4 performance in Saturday first race. Their sister #19 car would start from the sixth row but would be retired at the pit stop with another apparent rear hub issue after possible contact earlier in the race.

That damage to the #19 car would see it not start Sundays race at all whilst the #18 should start from its Qualified P14 position, technical issues of their own would also see that car stop just before the end of the race.

The ADAC circus now makes its way back into Germany for the next round this weekend from the Nurburgring. Whilst there hasn't been any formal Entry list issued yet we do know that former China GT racer Yves Volte has now signed up with the team to see out the final rounds of the GT4 Germany Series aboard the #18 car with David Griessner.

We hope for their sakes, a return to German circuits will get their endeavours back on track!

Photo credits - ADAC 

Tuesday, August 13, 2019 |
Final pieces set out in Aston Martin Racings Season 8 WEC attach

Final pieces set out in Aston Martin Racings Season 8 WEC attach

Aston Martin Racing is aiming high as it returns to the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone (GB), the competitive home of the luxury sportscar brand, on 31 August, with an optimised version of its Vantage GTE, a strengthened driver line-up and an eye-catching new livery.

Coming off the back of an excellent debut season for the Vantage GTE, which established itself as a front-runner in a fiercely-contested GTE Pro class with victories in Shanghai and Spa-Francorchamps and a pole position at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin Racing is now focussed on regaining the FIA WEC GTE Pro and Am titles it last won in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Moreover the racing car, based on the critically-acclaimed Aston Martin Vantage road car, will make its class debut in GTE Am with a bold new driver roster of Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), Darren Turner (GB), and Ross Gunn (GB)

"I'm really looking forward to joining Paul and Ross in the #98 car and challenging for the 2019/20 GTE Am championship," said three-time Le Mans class winner Turner. "It’s going to be very hard work and I think it is going to be the most competitive season in the category, with some very quick cars and some very strong line-ups. Paul is an extremely talented driver with a great deal of experience in the WEC and as a package we are very strong."

Gunn added: “It’s an honour to be joining the works Aston Martin Racing team for the start of the FIA WEC season. I’m very excited to begin this new chapter of my career at the pinnacle of GT racing and I will be pushing for a solid result."

And while the GTE Pro class field has reduced in number for 'Season 8', the strength in depth is as formidable as ever as Aston Martin's old rivals Ferrari and Porsche also return. With that in mind, Aston Martin Racing's exceptional GTE Pro driver line-up remains unchanged for this season, with Nicki Thiim (DEN) and Marco Sørensen (DEN) returning to their regular #95 'Dane Train', while Alex Lynn (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL) once again occupy the #97 Vantage GTE.

"We are coming in to Silverstone far better prepared and with a better package than last year," said Martin. "It’s going to be a really tough fight with our rivals as they are really competitive, and as a team we will have to put everything together to be able to win and be at the front consistently. The target for everybody is to try and win the championship this year with the Vantage GTE."

Thiim added: "The car is only one season old, and because the season was so long, sometimes people forget that it has only done eight races! We are really proud of what it has achieved already. Now we want to attack the championship and I really want to bring it back to the 'Dane Train' along with Marco and the rest of the team."

As well as the new colour scheme, the team has used the off-season break to use the knowledge gained in the eight-race 'Super Season' to further improve and enhance the Vantage GTE, which will also benefit from a new suite of tyres from technical partner Michelin specifically designed around the car.

There are changes to the WEC season format too, with the Silverstone opener and the Shanghai round (10 November) shortened to 4 Hours, while Bahrain returns to the calendar on 14 December with a 8-Hour race and Brazil on 1 February with a 6-Hour event at Interlagos. The season will conclude with the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans on 13-14 June.

John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Managing Director summed up: "We are fully ready for the new FIA WEC season and we can look ahead to it with a measure of confidence given our form at the end of last season, where we won two of the last three races and were on pole for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We're relishing the opportunity to fight against our old rivals Porsche and Ferrari, for together the three brands are the longest-serving teams in the championship. Our driver line-up is very strong and all the GTE Pro drivers are capable of delivering race-winning performances, and they will need to be if we are to deliver on our targets. We have changed the GTE Am line-up after a long period of stability and we expect this to produce results. This is a great opportunity for Ross to prove his ability at world level, while I think we are all fully aware of what Darren is capable of, and this gives him a chance to fight for a world championship and capture a fourth Le Mans victory."

David King, President of Aston Martin Racing said: "After 18 months of sustained development and improvement, which culminated in the Vantage GTE being a double-race winner and a pace-setter in qualifying at Le Mans, we are now ready to challenge for world championship titles again at the highest level of sportscar racing. Vantage GTE has already proved itself to be an exceptional car, in keeping with the traditions and standards of its predecessors. As the current standard-bearer for Aston Martin Racing, much rests on this car, this exceptional team and its outstanding group of drivers' ability to get the maximum performance from it and deliver on all the promise we've shown so far."

“It’s a great honour to be joining the works Aston Martin Racing team for the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship season. I’m very excited to begin this new chapter of my career at the pinnacle of GT racing and I will be pushing for a solid result. I was very comfortable in the car at Barcelona during the Prologue and I feel like we can, along with Darren and Paul, be in the mix in the GTE Am Championship and fight for a podium at Silverstone." added Gunn.
The 4 Hours of Silverstone begins at 12:00 BST on 1 September.

Source material - AMR
Tuesday, August 13, 2019 |
Trying conditions for Gunn's return to China GT

Trying conditions for Gunn's return to China GT

Recalled to the BSEM Asia Sonic Racing squad to see out this season's China GT Championship, Aston Martin Racings reserve driver Ross Gunn and Co-pilot David Pun came away with a mixed bag of results from last weekends two races at Qinhuangdao.

With an urban, post industrial track likened to somewhere that should only beset somewhere in the game Call of Duty, together with a non favourable balance of Performance (or words to that effect from Gunn!), the weekend proved highly eventful during the wet Free Practice sessions that saw many cars leave the circuit to make impact with the barriers only metres off line.

Wanting to continue with the improvements made by the team last time out in Shanghai when Pun and then co driver Yves Volte secured the teams first podium of the season, the meeting got off to a good start with the #618 AMR Vantage GT4 securing a second row start for both races.

The rain during race one made for some highly eventful track action with a Safety Car start as David Pun was sent out first, more in a process of car preservation than with any ideas of early grandeur before letting Gunn loose with whatever remained in the one hour race.

With Pun keeping the grey livered car on the black, he was able to hand the car over to Gunn at the halfway mark with what was becoming a drying track. Taking a gamble, the team dispatched Gunn on slicks and was able to lap up to 10 seconds per lap quicker than some to claim a P2 finish at the close.

With many of the Pro drivers in the car for Sundays race, the ninety degree cornered street circuit and the torrential rain again made for some interesting racing with an Am driver holding off the attentions of many Pro's (including Gunn) for a number of laps.

Eventually getting past, Gunn would hold off Alex Fontana's Mercedes AMG to complete his stint from the front as he handed the car back to Pun. A Safety Car period to allow for the retrieval of an accident damaged car just after the compulsory stop set everything up for a mad dash to the flag.  

Initially taking the lead on the restart, some unfortunate side by side contact lead to the #618 and #5 AMG spinning out to make contact with the barriers, taking out other cars with them in the process to end each of their races. Whilst the AMG stopped at the side of the track, Pun did managed to get the car back to the pit lane with obvious wheel alignment issues.

Whilst the team did manage to get the car back out on track during the Safety Car, it was for them a result lost to the team whilst running in a position at the front. The car was classified but finished three laps down.

The next round of the Championship is at Tianjin in four weeks time.

Photo credits - China GT

Sunday, August 11, 2019 |
A rare opportunity to buy a new Vantage GT4

A rare opportunity to buy a new Vantage GT4

Being listed for sale on at the moment is a rare opportunity of skipping what is potentially still a very long waiting list at the Prodrive factory to secure yourself an almost mint example of a 2019 specification Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4.

Purchased by the David Appleby Engineering team, the team who prepare cars for the Generation AMR SuperRacing Team as part of a previously cancelled order from another Partner team, this chassis has only conducted a brief test at the Silverstone Circuit by the team just after they received both chassis from Prodrive earlier this year. The black Vantage in the background is the car the drivers James Holder and Matt George use in the GT4 European Series as well as the French FFSA GT Championships and will be retained by the team.

Since then, the car has only been taken to race events being competed in by Holder and George as a rolling spare but now the car is being offered for sale.

This was the car that TF Sport had enquired about using last weekend had they not been able to resolve the fuel tank/pump issue that was being experienced on the #97 car after Qualifying at Brands Hatch on Saturday. That request was never made in the end as firstly the problem was eventually rectified but also because the car may not have been allowed to run with TF Sport anyway at the Brands Hatch event due to the former chassis having already qualified.

We also understand that had David Appleby Engineering not have purchased the chassis when they did then it may well have ended up in the British GT Championship as part of a three car team effort and then, that team wasn't the only ones after it!!!

Always next year.........................!!

Full details can be found

Photo credits - DAE
Wednesday, August 07, 2019 |
All change at Prosport Performance as ADAC GT Masters and GT4 Germany resumes

All change at Prosport Performance as ADAC GT Masters and GT4 Germany resumes

After a long summer break, the German ADAC GT Series gets back to business this weekend as both the GT Masters and GT4 Germany Series set about getting back to business around the tight and twisty coastal circuit of Zandvoort in the Netherlands.

For the GT3 runners in the ADAC GT Masters series Zandvoort is the forth round out of a seven round season whilst the ACAD GT4 Germany Series hit their midway point of their season with the Dutch round only being their third outing this year.

In both Series competes the German based Prosport Performance team ( operating their Aston Martin Racing racing operations under the PROpeak Performance banner) with a pair of new AMR V8 Vantage GT3 and GT4 cars entered into both series.

For the team, 2019 has proved to be something to difficult transition into both GT3 racing in general as well as the volume of motorsport being entered into by the team with their GT4 cars with each GT4 scheduled to participate in over three full season series/championships across Europe proving to be something of a self imposed hinderance and distraction.

Indeed, prior to the last round of the GT Masters Series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, they elected to drop the one full GT3 entry line up of Valentin Hasse-Clot and Hugo De Sadeleer aboard their #98 car as the team strived to seek a knowledge and understanding of what was causing their under performance up until that point of the season. Since thence all four race cars have undergone completed rebuilds with the team even electing to skip a round of the GT4 European Series as a result after continued technical issues were being experience aboard their GT4 cars at the 24H Series 24hr race in Barcelona straight off the back of a difficult GT4 European Series event at Misano in Italy.

That decision in turn has provoked changes within the GT4 line up in the German Series as GT4 racer Florian Thoma steps up to fill one vacant seat about the #98 Vantage GT3 going into Zandvoort. Unfortunately for this very talented Swiss racer the second seat has yet to be confirmed by the team but the line up within their #99 car remains the same with AMR factory driver Maxime Martin again partnering former series champion Daniel Kielwitz.

In GT4 only the #19 car remains the same from the start of the season with Jorg Viebahn and Joonas Lappaleinen remaining despite their very shaky start to the season that has so far seen them not finish in half of the races completed to date.

In the sister #18 car it is however all change with Thoma having moved up to the teams GT3 programme, his former co driver Jeremy Lesoudier is also no longer with the team with these seats now being taken up by the teams GT4 European Series racers David Griessner and Akhil Rabindra.

In the build up to this weekend's two - one hour races per series, the team has been embarking on some local PR work at the Classic Days Schloss Dyck in southern Germany over the weekend before moving up to Spa Francorchamps on Tuesday for some testing.

Despite this, it will be great to see two lots of two Prosport Performance Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 and GT4 cars hit the track again and at a circuit where its very nature and layout will generate for some very exciting motor racing. Lets just hope their jinx has now been broken and some serious championship points can be collated all round for a change.

Photo credits - Prosport Performance

Wednesday, August 07, 2019 |
News on last weeks debutants in Japan and the USA

News on last weeks debutants in Japan and the USA

Whilst the new Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 was quietly winning its first national Championship and with other AMR platforms jockeying for position in others at the penultimate round of the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch at the weekend, two well known names within the AMR racing fraternity where marking their debut appearances with other customer teams around the world.

Despite his length of service with both Prodrive and Aston Martin Racing, WEC driver and brand ambassador Darren Turner was ticking off another series off his 'to do list' by helping Japanese based D'Station Racing AMR in the endurance round of the Super GT Series from Fuji Motor Speedway.

Having already raced with the team in one of their new AMR Vantage GT3's in the Pirelli Super Taikyu Series with much success this season, this weekends appearance in the Fuji 500 marked Turners first appearance in the top flight Japanese GT Series as he joined regular series drivers Tomonobu Fuji and JP de Oliveira in their #7 car at the flagship event of their calendar.

For the crew, early timed sessions of the meeting proved that the team had good pace in the ultra competitive - tyre brand war arena of the GT300 class by finishing P3 in Free Practice before later Qualifying in P10 for the Sunday morning five hour race.

Disadvantaged by the warmer temperatures as far as their Yokohama tyres performed on race day, the #7 car would run as high as P2 in class before tyre degradation, Safety Cars and race contact hampered optimum running and performance on track for the trio. The car would eventually finish P11 in class.

Over in the USA, Akhil Rabindra was chasing his dreams and getting his first taste of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series aboard the CSJ Motorsport supplied AMR Vantage GT4 that Automatic Racing where running last weekend for the Stoner Car Care team of Kris Wilson at Road America.

Normally supported by Gary Ferrera in their older, normally aspirated AMR Vantage, the opportunity of sampling the latest model available out of the Prodrive factory appeared to a be a chance too good to be missed particularly after the near podium success of another driver crew last time out at Lime Rock a couple of weeks ago. That new parings non attendance at the Road America event made this situation with the Stoner Car Care guys possible.

Issues with the car restricted track time for the drivers leading up to Qualifying but Rabindra was already fully up to speed in a car he knows so well from the GT4 European Series and the 24H Series to later finish P3 in Qualifying ahead of Saturday's intended two hour race.

An intense weather front moving over the circuit just prior to the grid being formed forced race organisers to firstly delay the start and then reduce the length of race to just 75 minutes as thunder, lightning and heavy rain pounded the circuit and the surrounding area.

Starting on wets from the second row, Rabindra was soon challenging for the race lead overall before his stint time in the car was done. On what was then a drying track the team elected to send Wilson out on slicks and that appeared to be the correct choice as he continued to hold their P3 position before rain returned just after the pits stop window closed. 

With most of the field having elected for wets (or pitted again for wets) that put the #9 car completely on the back foot with inevitable contact being between cars in the slippery conditions leading to heavy - race ending contact in the wall for Wilson with just five laps remaining.

Disappointment all round but after having contacted Rabindra via social media since the race it very much appears that he may be back in the IMSA series some time very soon as the young AMR Academy driver considers his next steps for 2020.

Photo credits - D'Station Racing / Automatic / IMSA

Tuesday, August 06, 2019 |
Gunn back to China GT

Gunn back to China GT

Aston Martin Racing factory reserve and Beechdean AMR Le Mans Cup driver Ross Gunn is presently on his way back to China to help Chinese team Asia Sonic Racing see out the remaining rounds of the 2019 season as the team look to finish on something of a high.

Having raced in the Championship in 2017 with what was then the China Equity AMR team, Gunn finished P3 in the Championship that year with Stanley Yang in the then V8 normally aspirated AMR Vantage GT4 before his place was taken by Jack Mitchell who went some better to take the overall GT4 title in 2018. For this season the team's financial backers changed as did the team name to BSEM Asia Sonic Racing with young German, Yves Volte taking the lead and guiding role in their new 2019 specification Vantage GT4 alongside Gentleman driver David Pun.

Delays in receiving their new car from Prodrive and through the infamous Chinese customs delayed their assault on the GT4 Championship with the latest AMR machinery together for the start of the season but with some bad luck in races also took their effect including last time out at the Shanghai International Circuit where Yang broke his foot in a scary rear end shunt on the rain soaked track just before the race was abandoned. Bizarrely that weather affected race was also where Pun and Volte secured the team's first podium finish of the season in P3.

The ferocity of that collision destroyed what was one of the last normally aspirated V8 Vantage GT4's made by Prodrive.

Gunn will drive alongside Pun at this weekends street circuit races at Qinhuangdao before the final two scheduled rounds in September and October as well as the possibility of a further street circuit round in November as the 2019 season reaches its half way stage with six races still remaining.

We understand that Volte is looking at opportunities in other GT4 series including a possible drive in the ADAC GT4 Germany Series with PROsport Performance.

Track action at Qinhuangdao starts Friday

Monday, August 05, 2019 |
Championships won and Championships left to be won after Brands Hatch GT marvel

Championships won and Championships left to be won after Brands Hatch GT marvel

If proof was ever needed as to the depth and quality of racing within the British GT Championship,  then people should perhaps look no further than yesterdays penultimate round of the 2019 season from Brands Hatch.

In terms of the Aston Martin Racing family within the Championship, results from the previous round at Spa Francorchamps had the effect of elevating those previously thought to be out of the running very much into the mix whilst others had seen their once commanding lead reduced to next to nothing through others simply finishing ahead when it mattered.

Prior to Qualifying for Brands Hatch again had the Optimum Motorsport team scratching their heads as the course of under performance within the #35 Vantage GT4 of Conor O'Brien and Jack Butel leaving them with little to no mileage prior to their Qualifying session on Saturday. The same issue would then blight the #97 TF Sport Vantage GT4 immediately after Qualifying to a point where (on Sunday) their participation within Sundays two hour race came into serious doubt.

Only by the unselfish determination of the TF Sport technicians and over thirteen hours spent sitting in the boot of the car was the #97 finally declared fit to race with little over an hour before the grid was due to form - so for that matter, here's an appreciative hand clap to all of them for their endeavours.

Qualifying for that matter again had shown just how well Optimum Motorsport's young gun Ollie Wilkinson was progressing in his racing career, with results obviously improving ever since he and AMR factory driver Darren Turner had worked to together in the GT Open Series to win their first podium in that European Series in the new AMR Vantage GT3. A front row start for the #96 car that he shares with Bradley Ellis was the result - the highest placed AMR with just the rejuvenated Balfe Motorsport McLaren 720s ahead. In GT4, the #97 TF Sport car of Tom Canning and Ash Hand were the highest placed Vantage in their class also sharing a P2 slot to the then pace setting HHC McLaren 570s.

Under the high cloud and warming temperatures of Sunday morning saw a completely mixed bag affair for TF Sport as first their #47 GT3 crew of Graham Davidson and Jonny Adam went fastest in an incident interrupted warm up - interrupted by their second GT3 of Mark Farmer and  Nicki Thiim ending up in the gravel trap all whilst their #97 GT4 was still being feverishly worked upon!

After all of that excitement finally came the start to yesterdays two hour penultimate round to the season and another excellent start from the Aston Martin's as Wilkinson grabbed P1 at the end of turn one, lap one as Davidson also picked up two places to follow the #96 car into Druids holding P2. A few seconds behind in GT4, and whilst the #97 TF Sport GT4 of Hand took the class lead, their #95 team mate of Josh Price had already suffered a 'blue on blue' incident with the #75 Optimum car destroying his front off side suspension and steering putting him and co driver Patrick Kibble into immediate retirement even before half a lap had been completed. After their podium at Spa, Brands Hatch gave them a serious and hard hitting reality check.

Whilst Andrew Howard and Mark Farmer were making little headway in their GT3's towards the rear of the pack, Wilkinson was putting in some very quick laps to establish a sizeable lead over the #47 car whilst the two Optimum GT4's were having a great dice with their opposite numbers at Academy Motorsport although the running of the #62 Academy car of Alex Toth-Jones would soon be hit with a ten second stop and go penalty for a start procedure infringement.

Just twenty minutes into the race adversity would again hit the Academy team as the #61 car of Ben Hurst was caught, through absolutely no fault of his own, by the passing Team Parker Bentley that would send him heading straight into the barrier at high speed for an immediate race ending impact and the Canadian GT4 driver back to the pits for repairs although that was later deemed not possible and the car was retired before the hour. Bizarrely and just as the track was being turned to Safety Car conditions, a wheel onto the kerb at Paddock Hill Bend would send Wilkinson into a 360 degree spin - miraculously missed by all behind him to recover and move on having only lost two places!

Lucky him!!

Unfortunately for many in the GT4 field, the Safety Car also had the net effect of splitting the class as the #97 TF Sport desperately tried to break the close attention of two McLaren 570s' close behind but  couldn't as the pace of the GT4's ahead matched their own pace albeit nearly a full lap difference in track position between them.

At the hour mark both the GT4 class leading #97 and the GT4 Pro-Am leading #11 Beechdean AMR of Kelvin Fletcher and Martin Plowman pitted straight away and whilst the #97 would be hampered by a twenty second success penalty from the last round at Spa, Plowman was able to make his escape before his class advisories gained any advantage.

TF Sport kept Farmer out in the #2 Vantage GT3 for the longest hoping that a clearer track and more competitive track time would overcome his recent break in confidence. These stops also saw for Valentin Hasse Clot's introduction into the British GT as he took over from Howard in the #99 Beechdean but in their haste, their stop would later be judged to have been three seconds too quick earning them a three seconds stop and hold later in the stint that would all but negate any advantage made during the race. Despite that, it was a fine audition in the Championship from the young Frenchman who will also see out the season with the team at Donington later next month.

After the stops,  Jonny Adam had secured their position at the front whilst the #96 Optimum was now struggling for pace and desperately hanging onto their P11 position after their twenty seconds of additional time after their win at Spa a few weeks ago. A strange phenomena had had a really positive effect on the #62 Academy car with (now) Will Moore at the wheel as, having served their penalty, the immediate Safety Car had seen them 'waved past' to the head of the train to command a thirty second lead over the chasing pack - he only had thirty minutes to endure for their best result ever in the Championship!

Sadly for the team from Worcester, brake failure for Moore going into druids caused his #62 Vantage to spin off and back heavily into the tyre wall on the outside. That was their race ran through now real fault of their own.

As the race entered its final stages little change was made to the running order in both classes by the time the chequered fell with the #47 TF Sport car claiming the overall race win for Adam and Davidson by over six seconds. That and the finishing position of the Championship leading Barwell Lamborghinis has giving raise to another #Doningtondecider for the overall GT3 Championship as the #47 will battle it out with the #69 and #72 cars next month in the final round at Donington.

A similar situation also exists in GT4 with (following the post race penalties applied to some of the podium finishers at Brands Hatch) sees the #97 TF Sport car of Hand and Canning leading the class by 18.5 points as well as in the GT4 Silver Cup stakes. The #11 Beechdean AMR car of Plowman and Fletcher have also increased their lead in Pro-Am again to 29 points with just 37.5 points available at the final round leaving a two horse race in that Championship.

One Championship that was however decided following the race at Brands Hatch was the GT3 Silver Cup, as by virtue of their none points score for the Team Parker Racing Bentley and the P11 finish for the #96 Optimum car was enough for  Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis to win  their first and Aston Martin Racing's first Championship for the 2019 AMR Vantage GT3 with one race remaining.

The Championship, competitors and fans now have about five weeks to recompose ourselves ready for the final round of the season at Donington Park on the 15th September!

Monday, August 05, 2019 |
Rabindra taking IMSA by storm

Rabindra taking IMSA by storm

Already deeply involved in the 2019 24H Series and GT4 European Series' with the German based PROsport Performance team in one of their new 2019 specification Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4, twenty three year old Akhil Rabindra has spread his racing wings still further to race this weekend in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series.

Competing at the beautiful Road America circuit in Wisconsin, Rabindra joins Kris Wilson for this weekends race in the new Vantage platform for the first time for Wilson in the new Vantage and for the first time for Rabindra in the IMSA Series.

Normally competing in the blue, normally aspirated AMR Vantage GT4, Rabindra's early performance in Free Practice and Qualifying aboard the Stoner Car Care car has already left the Florida based Automatic Racing team impressed as he placed the car P3 to todays race after similar performances in the CSJ Motorsport sourced car yesterday.

This car joins the teams other new Vantage GT4 being driven by Rob Ecklin Jnr and Ramin Abdolvahabi the in the Invisible Glass liveried #97 car.

With bad weather threatening the start of track proceedings today, the race is due to start in about an hour.

Photo credits - Automatic Racing

Saturday, August 03, 2019 |