Strong performance for Young Driver AMR in front of an impressive crowd at Nürburgring: 58,000 fans saw Young Driver AMR´s best performance yet in the GTE Pro class of the World Sportscar Championship FIA WEC. Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim drove the Aston Martin Racing entered #95 Young Driver AMR-Aston Martin Vantage to a third place finish and claimed Young Driver AMR´s maiden podium finish in class. The strong performance came after Sørensen/Thiim already claimed pole position in qualifying.
During the six-hour race at the iconic Nürburgring, starting driver Thiim went into the class lead in the second lap and stayed in front during the entire opening hour of the race. In the following hours, the Danish duo fought for victory, turned the fastest lap of the race and led for 83 laps, more than any competitor in class. Only a late caution period, which didn´t played in the cards of Young Driver AMR, prevented Sørensen/Thiim from finishing second. The two Danes finally brought their Aston Martin home in third position behind two Ferrari.
"The race was really exciting over the entire distance of six hours”, said Young Driver AMR´s Jan Struve. “I´m really satisfied with the result and pleased how well the whole team worked. Marco and Nicki gave everything and showed an impressive performance. We closed to gap to our competitors and ware able to fights for podiums positions. Only at the end of the race we were caught by a bit of luck when there was a late caution which didn´t play in our cards and prevented us from finishing second.”
After the fourth of the FIA WEC, Sorensen/Thiim are third in the driver´s championship. The next round will be held in Mexico on September 3, Mexico will host the championship for the first time this season.
Source material - Young Driver AMR
Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey rewarded TF Sport with a maiden International GT Open victory at home on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit at the weekend (23-24 July).
The official Aston Martin Racing Partner Team, already a winner and title contender in the British GT Championship and Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, has been a threat for race wins since the very beginning of the 2016 season and finally concluded a frustrating run of misfortune that has featured crashes and underwhelming performances in adverse weather.
TF Sport is the seventh different winner in this year’s series, which has consistently served up enthralling, drama-filled races and the Silverstone weekend provided just as much incident and intrigue as the rest.
Contact and a spin would resign TF Sport to the back of the field in Saturday’s (23 July) race, but fortunes would change on Sunday (24 July).
Yoluc qualified the #34 Aston Martin V12 Vantage third, behind the FF Corse Ferrari of Jamie Stanley and the #1 BMW Team Teo Martin M6 of Pieter Schothorst, but Hankey would take second at the start and chase the poleman hard during the opening few tours of the 3.66mile circuit.
Stanley resisted Hankey and built a lead of four seconds before the driver changes, but a swift turnaround by the TF Sport crew saw the #34 entry emerge from pit lane in the lead with an extended seven-second advantage over the FF Corse Ferrari.
Determined to seal his maiden International GT Open win, Yoluc put the hammer down and received the chequered flag with a convincing margin of 27 seconds, to the delight of everybody involved with the team.
TF Sport Director, Tom Ferrier, said: “Generally, it was an amazing job by everyone involved. We knew we had a result in us after the last round at Circuit Paul Ricard and Salih (Yoluc) and Euan (Hankey) delivered. The Aston Martin and the team look really strong going into the second half of the year and that is what we need to win championships.”
The 2016 International GT Open resumes at the Red Bull Ring in Austria’s Styrian Alps on 10-11 September.
Source material - TF Sport
Last weekend finally saw TF Sport's Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey finally catch a small piece fortune that would ultimately give them the momentum needed to finally kick their International GT Open Championship into action with two superb finishes at Silverstone.
With a slightly reduced entry to normal the #34 car carried on with their own programme of word during both Free Practice sessions, setting up both the car and drivers against others with much newer machinery but never being more than 0.6seconds behind the pace setter.
Saturday morning was the turn of Driver 1 to set a qualifying time (Salih Yoluc) under the ever watchful guidance of his Pro co-driver and coach Euan Hankey. Very much playing their own game they sat out the early laps before finally undertaking just six laps to set a time capable of P9 and saving their tyres for the race.
Come the start of Race 1 the #34 car got muscled out from the optimum racing line going into Copse forcing Yoluc to slow slightly back into the those squabbling at the rear of the pack. By the time they all entered Stow for the first time one of the Radical RXC cars found himself arriving at the corner at a vast rate of knots, missing his turning point tapping Yoluc into a spin.
Fortunately their was no race impairing damage done and Yoluc was quickly able to rejoin the race albeit last but one. What followed was an extraordinary display of car craft from someone of lesser ability than others out on track at the time, manoeuvring his car back up the leader board to eighth by the time of his compulsory pitstop.
Whilst the cars ahead of him were putting on a show battling for second, Hankey was able to start making up the deficit between them by the tune of up to five seconds per lap and with ten minutes to go he was up to fifth. With the clock ticking down his next and final target was Shaun Balfe in his new McLaren 650S who offered little real resistance to Hankey's charge.
That was the way Race 1 ended - with a very strong fourth for the #34 car having had a large piece of luck not to sustain damage on their opening lap spin but it did have to be the point of raising what might have been!!
Sunday morning it was the turn of Driver 2 to set the qualifying time with Hankey placing their car a mighty P3 behind the #48 FF Corse Ferrari 488 and the #1 Teo Martin BMW M6 for the rolling grid.
At the start of Race 2 Hankey was able to use his local knowledge and experience to grab second place by the time they had rounded Copse first time around with just the Ferrari 488 of Jamie Stanley ahead of him. Frustratingly for Hankey that would be his view for his entire stint, never quite being able to get the jump on the Ferrari to take position despite putting the #48 car under intense pressure. Such was the closeness of the racing between the top two that both cars stayed out for their maximum possible time pitting with just 25minutes remaining for the co-drivers to decide the outcome.
Despite TF Sport taking tyres and the FF Corse not it was the #34 who emerged from the pit exit in front by over 4 seconds. Pushing himself to perform at the limits expected from someone with more experienced Yoluc was easily pounding in consecutive lap times better than those around him, stretching his lead all the way.
At the end of the race it was a total domination from Yoluc crossing the line for a long overdue victory by more than 27 seconds ahead of the now second placed Teo Martin M6. Great stuff and thoroughly deserved.
This result now elevates the pairing to fourth in the championship with 64 points chasing the championship leading Crestani/Biagi who have 96 points with three rounds remaining. The team will now have to wait until mid September before the next round of the series at the Red Bull Ring in Austria before the final two rounds in October and November respectively.
Round four of the 2016 Blancpain Endurance Cup sees the Oman Racing Team take on its biggest challenge of the season, the 24 hour race at the sensational Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium this coming weekend (30/31 July).
Arguably the biggest GT3 race in the world, this year marks the 68th Total 24 hours of Spa annual event and highlight of the Blancpain Endurance calendar. Competing for the third consecutive year, the Motorbase-run squad faces a formidable grid of competitors with 65 GT3 cars from the world's leading endurance teams set to descend on the mighty Ardennes track for the twice-round-the-clock contest.
British driver Darren Turner returns to the #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 for the blue-riband event alongside fellow Aston Martin factory driver Jonny Adam and regular Blancpain team-mates Ahmad Al Harthy and Devon Modell. Turner already has strong links to the Oman Racing Team as part of the Gulf 12 Hour Race line-up with Al Harthy and Adam that secured pole and a podium during Motorbase’s debut appearance in Abu Dhabi.
By far the biggest race of the year, the Total 24 hours of Spa also offers up bonus championship points at the 6, 12 and 24 hour intervals. Heading into the weekend, The Oman Racing Team currently sits in 5th place in the PRO-AM standings and David Bartrum’s squad heads to the world-famous track in confident mood following a strong start to the season at Monza and Silverstone. Unfortunately a promising race at Paul Ricard was cut short by a suspension issue but pre-race preparations have gone well with the #44 Vantage running faultlessly during the recent test day at the Spa circuit.
“Here we are again at Spa and we hope that it will be third time lucky for the Oman Racing Team! This event is very much unfinished business for us;” said Motorbase Performance Team Principal David Bartrum.
“The Total 24 hours of Spa is a fantastic event within the Blancpain Endurance calendar, the real highlight of the season and to have over 65 cars on the grid is great recognition of that. The quality of drivers and teams that compete here never ceases to amaze me.
“Being the only Aston on the grid, we’re unique and have an important job to do representing the brand;” added Bartrum. “All of the work and preparations are complete and everyone behind the scenes has worked incredibly hard. Adding Darren Turner to our line-up this year alongside Ahmad, Jonny and Devon shows our commitment and desire to do well. We have the strongest line-up and car that we’ve ever had – hopefully that will be enough to get the result we deserve.”
The build-up for the Total 24 hours of Spa begins with a town centre grand parade on Wednesday (July 27) before race preparations get underway on Thursday (July 28) with free practice, qualifying and night qualifying sessions running into the late evening. Friday then plays host to the Super Pole shootout where the top 20 qualifying cars compete ahead of Saturday's 24 hour race (July 30).
Free practice starts at 13:20 local time on Thursday, with qualifying from 20:00 followed by night qualifying at 21:45. The 24-hour race will start at 16:30 on Saturday (July 30). A full timetable of this week's events and build up to the Total 24 hours of Spa can be found on the official championship website.
Live timing of Thursday's qualifying sessions and of the entire 24 hour race can also be found on the official 24 hours of Spa website.
Source material - Motorbase
Beechdean AMR had a difficult weekend at Spa Francorchamps on the 8th and 9th of July, with the GT3 retiring after a collision with a European GT4 car in the early stages of the race. The crash which took place during the first lap caused significant damage to the car.
The consequences of the collision mean that the Beechdean Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 car will not be taking part in the race at Snetterton. Beechdean AMR who are the current champions, have a long history in British GT and have not missed a race in the last five years. The decision to miss Snetterton has not been taken lightly and is devastating for a team who have been committed to British GT for many years.
“I am hugely disappointed that the car will be unable to take part in the upcoming race at Snetterton.” commented a frustrated Andrew Howard, “We always knew that this was going to be a development year for us, and sometime you have to take the rough with the smooth. British GT is an important series to us and we will continue to take part in the championship, despite this set back. I hope the championship continues to be the proving ground for the amateur driver.”
The current champions have made it clear from the start of the season that this year was a development year for the team, which saw Gunn stepping up to from GT4 to GT3. Gunn, who is also clearly disappointed by the news stated “It is a devastating blow for the team and I am disappointed that we will have to sit out Snetterton but it is all part of the risk when racing, crashes happen. The team have always done a great job and focused on the most important programs.”
The team plan to have the GT3 repaired and ready for the final race of the season at Donington. However, the race at Snetterton will still see two Beechdean AMR cars on the track, with Jamie Chadwick and Paul Hollywood competing in what will be their second race of the season together, at the penultimate meeting of the British GT championship.
With conditions remaining dry throughout the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the trio of Paul Dalla Lana (C), Pedro Lamy (P) and Mathias Lauda (A) drove a faultless race to bring their V8 Vantage GTE home in 1st.
Following a strong stint from Lauda which saw him claim both 2nd and 1st positions on track, the team ensured an unbroken lead for the final 3 hours of the race.
Lauda said following the race, “That was great. This is our second win this year already and three podiums too. We had a perfect race, the crew did a superb job, our strategy was always good and we pitted at the right time. Paul, Pedro and I did really good stints with no issues and I really feel that we deserved to win”.
Dalla Lana added, “This is a fantastic day. Anytime you can win in this championship it’s a special thing. It’s such a tough competition and it’s really good to be back on the top step. This is a little bit of redemption after Le Mans but this is the best way to come back from that”.
The result brings vital points for the teams GTE Am title challenge, before the WEC leaves Europe for the 6 Hours of Mexico.
In GTE Pro, the team enjoyed a strong points haul for its #95 V8 Vantage GTE entry with 3rd place. Despite Nicki Thiim (DN) and Marco Sørensen (DN) displaying a strong performance, a late full course yellow soon after their final pitstop allowed others to benefit from the slower track, dropping the crew to 3rd by the finish.
Thiim said following the ongoing battle, “That was a tough race but a fantastic one for the spectators. It was an amazing battle throughout the whole six hours and the balance was really great with the Fords and Ferraris all the way through. It’s so much fun just to go out there and give it all you’ve got and to keep pushing. In the end we were unlucky not to get the second position but that’s racing.”
Sørensen added, “We did what we could and the team did an amazing job yet again. The pit stops were perfect but we were just a little bit unlucky not to take another step up on the podium. We’re hoping that the next tracks will suit our car a little better and we can take a victory soon”.
The #97 GTE Pro entry of Darren Turner (GB) and Richie Stanaway (NZ) finished the race in 5th place.
Paul Howarth, Team Principal Aston Martin Racing added, “A double podium weekend for the team, winning in Am and taking third place with #95 is great. The first four and a half hours were the closest GT racing we’ve seen this year, which is really great for the series. We feel very confident following yesterday’s pole positions and today’s results. We’re now looking forward to taking the championship fight to Mexico, which is going to offer all sorts of new challenges, but I’m really proud of the team’s performance today”.
Speaking on #98's GTE Am win, Howarth added, “Our Am car executed an excellent strategy. Between the three drivers they maximised their opportunities on the track and kept consistent pace throughout the six hours to give them this victory. The whole team was really focussed on fighting from the beginning and Mat’s committed stint moved us into a strong position once the field had settled down after the first two pitstops. This was the performance they needed and result they deserved”.
The FIA World Endurance Championship will return on 3rd September for the 6 Hours of Mexico following the summer break.
Source material - AMR
Its been another busy start to yet another busy racing weekend for both Aston Martin Racing and its customer teams across Europe today.
The headline event has to be the World Endurance Championship over in Germany where the three factory cars are competing in both GTE Pro and GTE Am. Todays two Free Practice sessions saw good initial outings from both Pro cars with the #97 car of Darren Turner and Richie Stanaway being second fastest in FP1 and then the fastest in class in FP2. Its sister #95 car of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim were third and fourth respectively.
The three drivers within the #98 GTE Am entry - Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda also enjoyed early dominance within their own class finishing P1 and and then P4 over both sessions.
These positions, whilst initially encouraging should be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt as all teams will only be fulfilling their own setup criteria when FP3 and Qualifying begin to show a truer pace.
The third and final Free Practice session will be at 09.15hrs local tomorrow followed by Qualifying later at 14.15hrs local.
In other European news, the GT Open series is at Silverstone this weekend with just TF Sport again being the sole #TeamAMR representative for their double header that will be round four.
The #34 V12 Vantage GT3 of Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey appears to be building up to tomorrows first race in their own style having finished both Free Practice sessions today in P3. Tomorrow will see Yoluc qualify the car ahead of Race 1 later in the afternoon before Hankey has his qualifying session on Sunday morning ahead of race 2 again later in the afternoon.
On the domestic news front today - there was a busy paddock at Snetterton today with various teams utilising the free test facility ahead of tomorrows AMOC meeting. Regular entries into that series were there from Vantage Racing, Stratton Motorsport and Ultimate Speed Racing but there were also several cars presently competing within the British GT Championship.
Beechdean's Jamie Chadwick, Paul Hollywood were there with the #407 car (don't know why they were using that and not their own car) to help bolster confidence and gain important seat time ahead of the 2 hour race there in a couple of weeks. They were there testing under the watchful eye of Ross Gunn.
Returnees David Tinn and Andrew Jarman were also there clocking up a few more miles and so were PFL Motorsports with their V12 Vantage GT3 completing its shakedown following their cars significant incident at Silverstone several weeks ago. Speaking with the team it is clear that their car suffered significant front and rear end damage when the tail lift on their lorry failed at the end of the Silverstone round and that the repair bill was close to a six figure sum.
Their colleague who broke a foot in the incident is apparently making good progress with his recovery.
Finally, at Oulton Park this weekend two Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4's will be competing at round five of the GT Cup.
A car from Team Goinglean and 22GT Racing will be bearing the honour of the team there over their three race format.
For anyone within a convenient travelling distance of Snetterton race track should pay a visit to the Aston Martin Owners Club meeting there this Saturday to see (if nothing else) some demonstration laps from Aston Martin's incredible £2million track only super car - the Vulcan.
Beyond that there is the normal amount of 'passive aggressive' racing that makes for the character this is AMOC Racing and for a very enjoyable day out in the sun (hopefully). From The Aston Stable there will be V8 Vantage GT4's, a V12 Vantage GT3 as well as historic's and anything in-between an MG-B to a 6.3 litre Bentley.
Track action starts at 09.00 and runs through until about 18.00hrs. More details can be found at HERE
Photo credit - Aston Martin
This innocuous looking post on social media yesterday may well have been passed over by many thinking that it said something different to what it actually did.
With Aston Martin Racing having announced a couple of weeks ago that they were realigning their WEC driver line up to just two drivers in both the #95 and #97 GTE Pro cars that unfortunately left both Fernando Rees and Jonny Adam with no further active participation within the 2016 WEC championship with the factory team.
Having already posted an earlier social media piece to say that he was in his 'last few days in the UK before embarking in a series of new adventures' it was easy to ready just the top sentence of yesterdays post and assume that Fernando Rees and his family were simply on their way back home in Brazil.
Instead he is going to round 4 of the WEC at the Nürburgring!
Why? Who? When? kind of questions springs to mind but I suppose we will just have to wait for things to be released by whoever but if that puts Rees back into a car that can only be good news for both him and the championship!.