D'Station Racing AMR to continue in Super Taikyu with pair of AMR Vantage's

D'Station Racing AMR to continue in Super Taikyu with pair of AMR Vantage's

 


Congratulations to the D’Station Racing AMR team who yesterday confirmed another race series for their Aston Martin racing fleet of cars to go alongside their already declared baptism into the World Endurance Championship this season.

Long term supporter and participant within the (then) Pirelli Super Taikyu Series in Japan, D’Station Racing confirmed a continuation of their race programme within the series for both its #777 AMR Vantage GT3 and #47 AMR Vantage GT4.


Little changes exists for the team within the series this season as drivers Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Tsubasa Kondo all return to the driver’s seat of the GT3 whilst drivers Tatsuya Hoshino, Max Orido, Takuro Shinohara and Kenji Hama all return for a second season about the teams new GT4 option. The only visible changes are that the former Pirelli control tyre has now been replaced with Hankook.

Last season was something of a mixed bag for the team as their GT3 fell out of both the lead and opening 24-hour race of the much-delayed season at Fuji whilst their GT4 crew secured their first class podium. Further improvements and successes throughout the next four rounds presented the possibility of at least one car in possible Championship contention as the series approached its final race of the season at Suzuka at the end of January 2021.


That round was ultimately postponed at the turn of the year due to the unfortunate upturn in COVID-19 cases in Japan, so a result was eventually called by the series organisers as teams were in the table going into the Suzuka date. 


That left the #777 car positioned P4 in the ST-X Class (not sure if Suzuka would have offered them the required twenty four points plus that they needed to overcome their deficit to the leading and ultimate Championship winning Hirix Good Day Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 team or not. Likewise, the #47 GT4 would ultimately finish P2 in their ST-Z Class, this time twenty points behind the Class winning Endless Sports Mercedes AMG GT4 car.

A six round 2021 season is scheduled to start towards the end of March at the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit (no mention of an official test date/location yet) and conclude at at Okayama in mid-November.


There has been no mention yet from the team of any continuation within the national headlining Super GT Series.

Photo credits - D'Station
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | Read more...
Three AMR GT4's finally confirmed for Michelin Pilot Challenge opener at Daytona

Three AMR GT4's finally confirmed for Michelin Pilot Challenge opener at Daytona

 


No, your eyes are not deceiving you – there are indeed two beautifully liveried Eddie Van Halen tributed Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4’s from the Notlad Racing team that will see battle this season somewhere in North America.

Having taken delivery of their latest AMR at the tail end of last year, January 2021 see’s drivers Matt Dalton and Pat Gallagher open their racing account at the opening four-hour round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge from the Daytona International Speedway this week as an addition to their SRO GT4 America commitments this year.


Having seen out the 2020 season at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and what became the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, a decision was made within the Notlad Racing team to venture beyond what they have become accustomed to and seek further challenges within selected rounds of the 2021 IMSA calendar.

Today sees the pre-event entry list formerly confirm the attendance of the #23 Notlad car (although the car hasn’t actually been specified on the entry list) with drivers Dalton and Gallagher as they join up with the Series full season AMR runners from both Volt Racing with Archangel and Stoner Car Care with Automatic Racing.


Whilst the Notlad car was not at the Roar before the 24 due to prior commitments, the team have enjoyed a competitive race meeting at the circuit at the tail end of last season that they saw sufficient for the task at hand beyond what this week’s Free Practice sessions can provide. The #7 Volt Racing and #09 Automatic cars did however attend the official test last weekend and used the time productively to bring drivers Alan Brynjolfsson/Trent Hindman and Ramin Abdolvahabi/Brandon Kidd (Rob Ecklin Jr was also unavailable for the test) back up to speed after the closed season winter months.


This news brings the 4hr BMW Endurance Challenge race up to forty-two cars spread between the GS and TCR classes in a Rolex 24 support race that takes place this Friday afternoon (13.35hrs local / 18.35hrs GMT).

More the merrier we say!!

Photo credits - RS1 / IGTC / IMSA / Volt / Stoner 
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 | Read more...
Accident free running by AMR teams in Rolex 24 Qualifying Race

Accident free running by AMR teams in Rolex 24 Qualifying Race

 


Yesterday’s first running of IMSA’s new Motul Pole Award 100 Qualifying Race from Daytona International Speedway probably raised more questions than it answered as the Series looked for new ways to kick of their 2021 Weathertech Sportscar Championship.

With the Roar before the 24 traditionally a purely testing event a couple of weeks in advance of the season opening Rolex 24, this year has seen the two events scheduled just a week apart and in the hope of saving some track time on leading up to the actual main race weekend, it was decided to have a Qualifying session on the Saturday of the Roar ahead of a 100 minute Qualifying Race on Sunday to determine the starting positions for the Rolex 24.


With the younger and less experienced drivers within the GTD Class runners required to first Qualify and the drive in the Qualifying race, that left Max Root at the wheel of the #97 TF Sport Aston Martin Racing GTD and Ian James at the wheel of the #23 Heart of Racing AMR Vantage GTD doing the Qualifying and then the opening stint of the Qualifying race.

Originally, the #23 car would Qualify in P5 and the #97 in P9 on Saturday afternoon but a technical issue for the #1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini on the grid on Sunday meant for a one place elevation up the starting line for all cars from P2 back and for the first time over the weekend, the drivers would have to deal with both a rain-soaked track and a cold air and track temperature for at least the start of the 100-minute race.


With up to 35 Championship points being awarded to the winners of each class, that was supposed to have been the inducement for teams to race like they always did but for some, it was clear that self-preservation was the order of the day whilst others maybe didn’t compete as hard as was expected or indeed over excelled in performance as seen prior to this event!!

Yes, that right – allegations involving sandbags were quickly to be heard across all classes.


Taking things rightly steady at the start, both Astons dropped a place each in the opening laps as the remnants of any racing ‘rust’ was quickly got rid of by the forty-seven runners. An early Full Course Yellow for three spinning LMP cars loaded the gun for the inevitable green flag drama as the #23 car was lucky to survive an over ambitious move from the #88 Porsche at the Bus stop that saw the Porsche go off heavily into the tyre wall and James lucky not to have followed it. A badly damaged car at this stage of the proceedings would have been chaotic.

A second and very long FCY to recover that stranded car lead to the first wave around for the cars stuck between the Safety car and the overall leader behind and at some point during this (and unforeseen on camera) had the #97 fall foul of the rule book, earning themselves a hefty stop and three minute hold in pit lane for their error and whilst the other GTD cars pitted for full service and driver change – they could pit for service but would have to come back in to serve their penalty under green – something that would ultimately destroy their race plan.


By now Roman De Angelis had stepped into the #23 HoRT car and he had little over an hour to consolidate and improve his position as the track continued to dry and all cars had reverted to slicks. Whilst Charlie Eastwood had now dropped right down to P14 in class as a result of their penalty, De Angelis was able to hang out between P3 and P5 in class for much of the remainder before each car ultimately they both finished P13 and P7 respectively.

For the Heart of Racing team, their new and lighter Balance of Performance suggested greater performance than last year when the AMR Vantage GTD was literally brand new and unseen to the Championship. Ever improving race mileage last season with both James and De Angelis was noticeable from them at the Roar so with the added benefit and experience of both Darren Turner and Ross Gunn, the #23 car should be in a good place when it comes to the Rolex 24 this weekend.


For the #97 TF Sport AMR, they came to the Roar before the 24 as complete novices within the IMSA Championship and rule set. That error with the wave around was a scenario never faced before by the team and driver so whilst obviously regrettable for them, that was an error best served in the build-up event than in the 24 hour race itself.

For both Root and Eastwood as well as fellow co-drivers in Ben Keating and Richard Westbrook, there is much more to be seen from the very distinctively liveried #97 car come the start of the Rolex 24 as long as small, but significant errors can be kept to a minimum.


For the Weathertech Sportscar Championship runners, track action starts with three Free Practice sessions on Thursday ahead of a final one-hour session on Friday before the start of the Rolex 24 at 15:40Hrs local on Saturday.

Photo credits – HoRT / TF Sport / Jamey Price / Lagunas photo / AMR / CSJ
Monday, January 25, 2021 | Read more...
Steady progress at the Roar for the four AMR runners in GTD and GT4

Steady progress at the Roar for the four AMR runners in GTD and GT4

 


With day 2 of the Roar before the 24 official test weekend now well underway from Daytona International Speedway today, we take a quick look book at the proceedings so far to see what the four Aston Martin Racing car contingent have been up to.

With track conditions certainly dryer and warmer yesterday than what they were this morning, we saw the first images of two brightly liveried AMR Vantage GTD’s and a further two distinctive AMR Vantage GT4’s all take to the banked and infield track for the opening action of their IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge track sessions accordingly.



The #23 Heart of Racing AMR Vantage GTD returns to the IMSA Championship with the same basic line up as they did for the end of 2020 but this time with a subtly revised livery as well as drivers Roman De Angelis and Ian James being again joined by AMR factory drivers (for the Rolex 24 and endurance rounds of the season) and Ross Gunn for the Rolex 24 only.



They have of course been joined by the #97 TF Sport prepared AMR Vantage GTD and their Anglo/Irish/American driver line up of Richard Westbrook, Charlie Eastwood, Ben Keating and Max Root Respectively. Their dayglow yellow base colour certainly showed up really prominently on the banked parts of the circuit and should look even better when the test reaches its evening sessions this weekend before the main duties of next weekend.

With most of not all drivers and teams have and will be taking things steady on the opening days of the test with only half the crews of both teams getting in any mileage within the opening session before just Keating and Westbrook continued to sit out in session two on day 1.



In the GT4 Michelin Pilot Challenge paddock, both the #07 Volt Racing and #09 Stoner Car Care Automatic AMR’s clocked in some progressive lap times between them. Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman have split their time between their AMR GT4 and their new for 2021 LMP3 car whilst Ramin Abdolvahabi and Brandon Kidd had the blue liveried #09 car to themselves as Rob Ecklin has been forced to miss the Roar due to prior business commitments.

Both teams (like many others) did however decide to sit out of this mornings opening session due to the very wet track and low track temperatures proving to be be more of a risk than an educational curve.

Of course, there is nothing to prove at the Roar for the GT4 runners as not all scheduled runners are even at the test. For the two AMR GTD runners however, their attendance is mandatory as they face tomorrows new Qualifying Race ahead of the start of next weekend’s Rolex 24.



As with any pre-event testing, there are no prizes for slamming your car into the guardrail before the first race of the year so I don’t expect anything too astonishing from either car before tomorrow afternoon – maybe not even then as they try to keep their ‘powder dry’ for the main event.

Photo credits - HoRT / TF Sport / Volt / Stoner / CSJ / AMR

Saturday, January 23, 2021 | Read more...
Valentin Hasse-Clot secures 2020 Aston Martin Racing Drivers Academy title

Valentin Hasse-Clot secures 2020 Aston Martin Racing Drivers Academy title

 


Congratulations to young Parisian and Aston Martin Racer, Valentin Hasse-Clot for today securing the 2020 edition of the AMR Drivers Academy process and Junior Driver status following in the footsteps of recent winners Ross Gunn and Tom Canning.

Having stepped across to GT racing from his early days in Porsche Carrera Cup Series in both Great Britain and France after the 2018 season, Hasse-Clot got his first taste of the Vantage GT3 with the Beechdean AMR team within the British GT Championship and an ill-fated introduction in the GT Masters Series before moving on (only from circumstance with the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2019 that prevented him from rejoining the Beechdean team) to the AGS Events Racing Team within the highly competitive GT4 European Series.


There, he and co-driver Theo Nouet ultimately secured the Silver Cup Championship win with the team’s new AMR Vantage GT4 but also gained significant success with the Garage 59 AMR GT3 team with a parallel season within the GT World Challenge Europe Series where he, Andrew Watson and James Pull ultimately finished fourth in that Championship. 

Not only was Hasse-Clot developing his own driver skills within the Series mentioned above, he also took on the responsibility of managing his countryman Nouet’s own racing carrier together with arranging a driver test for himself, Nouet and the new IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge winner Nate Stacey’s test aboard a Garage 59 Vantage GT3 following the final round of the GTWCE season at Paul Ricard.


Whether associated with todays announcement or not but Hasse-Clot gets immediately back to work in 2021 with a four race debut within the Asian Le Mans Series with the Garage 59 team over in Dubai and Abu Dhabi next month with co-drivers Alex West and Maxime Martin. Clearly the Frenchman has a very strong eye on competing at the home of GT and sportscar racing at Le Mans.

As part of his reward for topping the class of 2020, Hasse-Clot will receive career assistance and guidance from Aston Martin Racing through this season, including a financial contribution to his race programme. He will also continue to receive coaching from Aston Martin’s works drivers and a range of measures to support his development through 2021.


With the emphasis very much upon customer racing in 2021, Aston Martin Racing have confirmed the return of the Drivers Academy process in 2021 with details following in due course although early applications would be welcome.


Congratulations again Valentin!

Photo credits - AGS Events / GT4 European / Garage 59 / GTWCE
Friday, January 22, 2021 | Read more...
Stoner Car Care/Automatic Racing looking forward to 2021 Michelin Pilot Challenge season

Stoner Car Care/Automatic Racing looking forward to 2021 Michelin Pilot Challenge season

 


The Stoner Car Care Racing by Automatic Racing team returns to the track for this weekend’s Roar Before the 24, sporting a driver line up that shares a combined 17-year history with the team, behind the wheel of one of the most iconic liveries in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC).

Rob Ecklin Jr., Ramin Abdolvahabi and Brandon Kidd will share driving duties in the No. 09 Stoner Car Care Aston Martin Vantage GT4 as they prepare for next weekend’s four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge, part of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend.

Ecklin, from Lancaster, Pa., is the longest tenured driver with the Orlando-based team, having driven for them since 2011. Abdolvahabi (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) will drive in his fifth-straight season and Kidd (Syracuse, NY) will pilot his fourth. 


Each driver points to the stability that Automatic Racing Team Manager David Russell has created as they look for success on board one of the sport’s most recognizable liveries.

The Stoner Car Care colours have long been connected with the Aston Martin entry, with the team also having campaigned the instantly recognizable blue and yellow Invisible Glass entry through the years as well as part of the partnership with Stoner Car Care.

“For me, it’s all about the team culture,” said Ecklin, “That starts with David (Russell) and his leadership and the people he brings on and how they work together. It’s a good group and they put together a strong car. And I think we drivers bring some stability.


Stoner Car Care is a company he can count on, and we have a good relationship,” said Ecklin of the family-run business that he steers. “It’s half work, half pleasure, though more on the side of pleasure. It’s about representing the brand and getting brand recognition in something that represents performance and power. We get input from an outside designer and inside marketing people to decide on the liveries each year, and it’s always a tough decision – and a fun process.”

“It all starts with David (Russell),” Abdolvahabi agreed. “He is such an easy-going guy, a low-key guy, but he’s a perfectionist and he keeps the team cohesive. That attracts like-minded people, crew and drivers, so there’s really no ego or fear about asking for help. The Stoner and Invisible Glass liveries are so recognizable, and you can’t say that about that many other cars, so that brings a very enjoyable element to the program.”

“We’re blessed that we have these guys come back and run with us,” said Russell, “and we have some really solid people who have been with the team for a long time. We run it like a family operation – we want to get the job done but we want to have the kind of atmosphere where everyone can grow and learn and enjoy themselves in the process. Rob (Ecklin) has been with us since 2011, Ramin (Abdolvahabi) since 2017 and Brandon (Kidd) since 2018. Everyone gets along well, is headed in the same direction, and has similar goals. It’s very easy when you get to the racetrack, when you have solid customers – and when they’re your friends as well.


“They’re all very level-headed and they’re exceptional team players,” Russell continued. “I learn a lot from Rob on a variety of levels, personal and well as business. Ramin is a very hard worker and since he's a neurosurgeon and renowned doctor, I lean on him sometimes for medical opinions! Brandon comes from a stock car background, where things happen pretty fast, so he’s very calm in the car – and we also do some business with his financial services company.”

After a roller coaster 2020 that saw the team endure more than its share of bad luck, all three drivers are ready to start 2021 anew. While Ecklin will not attend the Roar owning to his business commitments, Abdolvahabi and Kidd are ready to get back in sync with the Aston Martin Vantage GT4.

The 2021 schedule marks the debut of a new event schedule from IMSA with, for the first time, just days between the Roar and the Rolex 24 weekend.


“It makes sense to have the Roar and the Rolex 24 back-to-back like this,” said Kidd. “I’m looking forward to the weekend – we have an awesome car; the Vantage is one of the better cars out there to drive. Coming off of a winter where you’re not doing a lot for two or three months, it’s good to get back into the race car. I’m less worried about lap time that I am about getting the depth perception back, the sensation of speed. Then next week, it’s back to being second nature. But if there’s any development work we want to do, or to try things outside of the box, this is the time to do it.”

“The focus this weekend is to get back in the rhythm,” said Russell. “IMSA has done a very crafty thing by taking the opportunity to make the Roar and the Rolex 24 back-to-back weekends. We’re only 50 minutes away, and this makes it so much easier for us. We don’t have to leave the racetrack to prep the car between the two events and it sounds as though everyone is completely on board with this.” 


“The entire car has been worked through since Sebring,” said Abdolvahabi, “So the Roar is a chance to see if there are any upgrades, check the systems, and fine tune the setup. If we can come out of this weekend with a car that all three of us are comfortable with for four hours – and I’ve driven with Rob long enough that I know what he likes in a car – will be the goal. We always have a strong car, but we had so much bad luck last year so hopefully that’s behind us!”

Daytona International Speedway is the home racetrack for the team, and everyone relishes the opportunity to be a part of the legendary endurance classic weekend. For Kidd, who began his career in stock car racing, the weekend is just that much more special.


“Anytime you go to Daytona, it’s a big deal,” said Kidd. “There aren’t many places like it, and the feeling you get when you come here for the first time, it takes a while for that to wear off. Just seeing the enormity of it all, and the scale, the history behind it, it makes it so special. You can’t help but be blown away at the idea of racing there! It’s not just another race. I grew up watching races there, so it’s like a young baseball player growing up to play at Yankee Stadium.”


Teams will have five test sessions for a total of five and a half hours of track time over the three-day weekend to work on development and setup ahead of next weekend’s first race of the season. The BMW Endurance Challenge will take the green flag Friday, January 29 at 1:35pm Eastern.

Source material - Stoner Car Care Racing

 





Friday, January 22, 2021 | Read more...
Two become three for Aston Martin Racing teams in World Endurance Championship Season 9 (Updated)

Two become three for Aston Martin Racing teams in World Endurance Championship Season 9 (Updated)


Some reassuring news was confirmed by the World Endurance Championship earlier today when they revealed their entry list for their forthcoming Series 9 of the Championship that starts at the Prologue from Sebring, Florida in just little over fifty day’s time.

Still, with the confirmation of the Aston Martin Racing factory earlier withdrawal of both of their Vantage GTE’s from the top Pro class still resonating in our ears, this announcement could have made for some very gloomy news for us AMR fans as we looked ahead to the new season.

With the factory squad not entering any Pro car under their own name with which to defend their 2020 crown but instead making most (if not all) of their resources available to their global Partner teams, the news of this week has confirmed not one, not two but three AMR Vantage GTE’s for the highly competitive GTE Am class instead.

2020 Le Mans winner Salih Yoluc has moved on from GTE racing for the new year but two highly acclaimed teams/driver crews have already been confirmed as running under the banner of the TF Sport name within the WEC and that news has been further bolstered by the confirmation today that Paul Dalla Lana will indeed be returning to the Championship with another AMR factory prepared customer Vantage GTE programme.

The Canadian businessman’s name was the sole name upon todays official confirmation leaving him free to pick from the plethora of factory drivers waiting under contract in the wings for a competitive drive – a drive that really must take the Gentleman driver to the GTE Am and Le Mans 24hr top step this time around in order to satisfy his appetite for racing success.

He joins the two cars from TF Sport announced earlier this week in which the Sussex based team has managed to recruit the incredible driver talents (and custom) of Gentleman driver Ben Keating beyond that of this month’s IMSA Rolex 24 from Daytona and he is joined aboard his beautifully blue liveried #33 car with Dylan Pereira and Felipe Fraga. They in turn will be joined within the TF stable by the #777 car of Japanese team D’Station Racing who confirmed their WEC participation from drivers (and team boss) Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii plus a silver ranked driver TBC.

All in all, whilst we may have lost the top flight efforts of Nicki Thiim/Marco Sorensen and Alex Lynn/Maxime Martin in their factory prepared GTE Pro cars, that was/is always a class that is threatening to dissolve sooner rather than later as the ACO’s LMH/LMDh classes come on stream. Where the racing battles are still at is within GTE Am where market forces place teams and drivers with partners who are strongest in that arena and 2021 is no exception as GTE Am represents the strongest class of this year’s thirty three car grid with thirteen entries all evenly matched between the AMR, Porsche and Ferrari chassis.

Today’s news (considering the global financial climate) is a massive achievement for the WEC and our appreciation can only and should be extended to all those involved will to make this kind of investment in motor racing. We also need to keep an eye out on other ACO rules series for any possible AMR team involvement in those!!


AMR news is never far away these days!!

Update - The WEC have confirmed that the opening round of their Season 9 will now NOT take place at Sebring. Siting the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation and the change in national government stance sees the opening round move back across the Atlantic to Portimao, Portugal on the 4th April 2021.

Photo credits - AMR / TF Sport / WEC

Thursday, January 21, 2021 | Read more...
D'Station Racing join the TF Sport family in their first WEC GTE campaign

D'Station Racing join the TF Sport family in their first WEC GTE campaign

 


Hot on the heals of TF Sports announcement earlier today confirming their return to the World Endurance Championship with another GTE Am entry with Aston Martin Racing comes this news announced tonight.

Japanese team D’station Racing has joined forces with 2020 Le Mans Winner and Vice-Champions, TF Sport, for their debut in the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship. Tomonobu Fujii will work alongside established team owner Tom Ferrier, to oversee the GTE Am project.

The #777 Aston Martin Vantage GTE will be shared by seasoned racing partners Tomonobu Fujii and Satoshi Hoshino, with the Silver driver, who will complete the WEC line-up, to be announced in due course.


TF Sport’s record of success with the Aston Martin GTE machinery, along with their knowledge of the championship, is a great foundation for D’station Racing to make their WEC debut. D’station Racing have strived to compete in the WEC since their inception and to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a lifelong ambition of Bronze driver, Mr Hoshino.

Tomonobu Fujii, Team Managing Director of D'station Racing - “I am very excited to announce our entry for the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans. Being able to compete in the FIA WEC has been a major goal for D'station Racing since its inauguration. As this project comes to fruition, I recall all the preparation we went through with Aston Martin, AMR, and Tom Ferrier from TF Sport. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for their ongoing support.”


Following the triumphant win at the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, TF Sport looked at taking the next step up within the FIA World Endurance Championship, and running a two-car outfit was a positive way of progressing within the highest level of global GT racing.

The first round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship will take place in Sebring, USA, on March 19.

Source materail - TF Sport

 

 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 | Read more...
Two mighty Aston Martin's amongst a healthy Rolex 24 grid of 50 cars

Two mighty Aston Martin's amongst a healthy Rolex 24 grid of 50 cars


Straight off the back of that sizeable news earlier today from TF Sport competing again within the 2021 World Endurance Championship with one Ben Keating, today also sees the official entry list released for next weekend’s Rolex 24 from Daytona within which Keating again figures highly with the Aston Martin Racing Partner Team.

Like last year, two AMR Vantage GTD (GT3) again feature within this year’s opening round of the IMSA sanctioned Weathertech Sportscar Championship with the charitable fund raising Heart of Racing team return for a second year with their Aston and TF Sport’s first visit to the USA and the IMSA series with one of their own Vantage GTD’s.

These two cars join a further eighteen cars within the GTD class to form another impressive grid of fifty cars spread across the new five class arrangement of GTD/GTLM/LMP3/LMP2/Dpi classes.

As previous announced, the #23 Heart of Racing AMR returns with its two drivers of last season in Roman de Angelis and Ian James and they will be joined this year again by Darren Turner for the longer endurance rounds with Ross Gunn for the Rolex 24.

With none of the above being strangers to the event now and with a full year’s worth (and two races at the Florida circuit) now firmly under their belts, the #23 will be expected to run to run further forward to what they did last year before an unfortunate accident going into the deceleration lane for the pit lane put them out of the race during the night.

First time to the USA for TF Sport but not so for most of their four driver line up. 2020 Le Mans GTE Am winner Charlie Eastwood will race his first experience of the Daytona Speedway banked oval and infield 3.6mile circuit this weekend at the Roar before the 24 (as all entries are mandated to do by Regulation) but it will not be the same for the rest as Richard Westbrook, Ben Keating and Max Root have all been there before. Also like last year, Keating will again be running a dual GTD/LMP2 race programme at the Rolex 24 with the #52 PR1 Mathiasen team.

The Roar before the 24 for these guys will of course involve some private testing sessions across the weekend – where data will also be used by the race organisers to validate their earlier Balance of Performance settings apportioned to each make/marque of car but to also set the Qualifying positions for the Rolex 24 the weekend after an inaugural 'Qualifying Race' on Sunday.

Photo credits - IMSA/HoRT/TF Sport

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 | Read more...