R-Motorsport having a GT4 clear out

R-Motorsport having a GT4 clear out



Looks like the Swiss based R-Motorsport team are having something of a small clear out of their facilities with the sale of these two 2016 specification of Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4’s

With these cars being something of 'old stock' and suitably replaced with many examples of the new turbo charged AMR GT4 platform, we will hopefully hear something soon of their 2021 programme of racing after what was a disastrous year for them (COVID 19 related) last season.


Full details of their listing on Racecarsdiect.com can be found here at https://racecarsdirect.com/Advert/Details/119473/aston-martin-vantage-gt4-x-2 

Photo credit - AF Racing
Thursday, February 25, 2021 | Read more...
AMR extend distribution rights into Asian arena

AMR extend distribution rights into Asian arena



Aston Martin has selected Motorsports Services AMR Asia Limited (MSAA) to become its exclusive distributor of all variants of Vantage GT race cars, parts and technical support for China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the south-east Asian region.

Combining the vast experience of three key partners, including racing driver Weiron Tan and former race team manager Ron Reichert, the newly-formed organisation is tasked with expanding the British luxury sportscar brand’s motorsport footprint in the region. The primary targets for this expansion will be the 2022 Asian Le Mans Series, the GTWC Asia and the burgeoning China GT Championship.


MSAA will begin servicing the region immediately from its existing workshop near Sepang in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and a second base of operations in Zhuhai to serve the Chinese market thus avoiding any pandemic-related supply chain issues.

The 2018 China GT champions Team ZWEI (formerly known as BSEM Racing), long-time partners of AMR will be the first team to work with MSAA in China, and will race their Aston Martin Vantage GT4s. ZWEI will graduate to Race Partner status in China, with their sights set firmly on winning races and GT4 Championships in China in 2021. Further major announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

Weiron Tan, MSAA Director, said: “We’re very happy to conclude this partnership between Aston Martin Racing and MSAA to become the official representatives and distributor for Asia. It’s been a challenging year for the motorsport industry, especially in the Asian region, because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, we are certain that the timing of this announcement and the infrastructure we are putting in place will allow us to repay the faith of Aston Martin and expand the AMR GT racing footprint throughout the region, providing quality service and support to our valued customers.”


David King, President of Aston Martin Racing, said: “We have viewed China and the Southeast Asian region as a key strategic area of growth in motorsport for some time. Now with the continued and growing success of Vantage in the GT3 and GT4 the global GT arena, we have the perfect platform with which to do this. MSAA gives us the ability to provide works level servicing across Asia and assist our partners as they compete for championships with Aston Martin.”

The selection of MSAA as the Southeast Asian distributor is the latest step in Aston Martin Racing’s strategy to extend and support its global network of partner teams. Alongside the expanded programme of deploying on-the-ground and remote support from its FIA GT World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship-winning engineers and technicians, MSAA becomes the third established regional hub to provide local support and technical assistance.

Source material - AMR
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 | Read more...
Turner joins Feather Motorsport in GT Cup

Turner joins Feather Motorsport in GT Cup

 

Darren Turner will return to his roots and race on some of the UK’s greatest racing circuits in 2021, when he makes his series debut in the GT Cup racing for Feathers Motor Sport (FMS) at Donington Park in April.

The works Aston Martin Racing driver joins his Base Performance Simulators business partner James Guess – the team’s regular driver – as the duo take the reins of the team’s new Aston Martin Vantage GT4.

It will mark the first time Turner has raced the British sportscar brand’s customer-focussed entry GT race car anywhere other than the Nürburgring Nordschleife – where he gave it a debut double podium at the German venue in 2019.


“It’s the first time I will have raced a GT4 in a championship, or even in the UK for that matter,” said Turner. “It’s good to be racing back on some of the old favourites, and nice to be in the UK. Let’s see what we can do as a pairing, try and keep out of trouble, get some points and get James into the championship hunt as the year goes on.”

FMS enjoyed a successful first full season in the GT Cup’s GTH class, with Guess taking four class wins and a further nine podiums en route to runner-up in the championship.

The team has acquired the Vantage to go for a full tilt at the title, and as such it made sense to call on Turner to help them get up to speed with the car quickly.

 

“I was asked if I wanted to join the project and it seemed like a fun thing to be involved in,” explained Turner. “It’s a small family-run team with a good atmosphere and it’s a nice way to stay sharp on the weekends when I’m not on Aston Martin works duty.

“The championship is growing and becoming more competitive with every year. There are some interesting, and talented, names in it and I’m looking forward to mixing it with them during the season.

“James is an experienced pilot, and he has been racing for a long time. It’s not like I’m jumping in and sharing a car with someone that is new to the sport, but he is new to the Aston Martin GT4 so there are definitely things I can help him with and help develop and find the limit of the car,” added Turner, who was one of several works AMR drivers to have had a hand in the development of the car.


Turner will contest the majority of the seven-event, 26-race championship, where it fits around his planned commitments.

The first race takes place Donington Park, on Saturday 10th April.


Source Material - Darren Turner PR
Tuesday, February 23, 2021 | Read more...
Holloway & Hatfield return to the AMR brand with Century Motorsport in GT Cup

Holloway & Hatfield return to the AMR brand with Century Motorsport in GT Cup


After last week’s news of the Dorr Motorsport team with family drivers swapping over to the Aston Martin Racing brand in the ADAC GT4 Germany Series for this season, today has seen further good news for the brand as Gentleman racer David Holloway confirms his return to the UK GT Cup Championship, this time a brand-new AMR Vantage GT4 and now with a former GT Cup Champion alongside.

Never a stranger to that national Championship having raced in it many times before with co-driver Piers Johnson in their Century Motorsport prepared Ginetta G55 GT4, the Aston Martin Lagonda connoisseur of its road cars first came our attention in early 2019 when the pair first declared an entry into that year's Championship from the Autosport Show with one of AMR's latest GT4 creations.

For one reason or another and despites its original mid-season delivery date for the car, that intention sadly never materialised but the duo did see out the 2019 GT Cup season aboard one of Optimum Motorsport’s AMR Vantage GT4’s under the watchful eye of Ross Gunn as a practice for their bigger event that was to follow for him at the end of the year.

Venturing over to the Gulf 12hr for what is his biggest racing event so far, Holloway joined up with (now) British GT racer David Whitmore and Michael Dinan (2020 GT4 America Champion) as the trio raced a GT4 in an elongated race for the first time.

Holloways 2020 campaign was just another of many that were affected by the COVID-19 situation worldwide as the businessman took the time out on his racing to concentrate on his business matters.

Today, he confirms his return to the AMR brand, this time for a full season entry into the GT Cup Championship alongside co-driver and 2018 GTH Class Champion Adam Hatfield in a car that will again prepared by those he knows best at Century Motorsport.

Hatfield spent the best part of two seasons with Chris Murphy and his Whitebridge Motorsport team and their normally aspirated Vantage GT4's before switching to a BMW M3 GT4 most recently in the British GT Championship with Century Motorsport

The multi-race format, seven round GT Cup calendar starts at Donington Park in mid April and includes a supporting role at the GT World Challenge Europe event at Brands Hatch later in May.

This team will join the Feathers Motorsport team who have already declared a new AMR Vantage GT4 entry into the GT Cup Championship with drivers James Guess and Darren Turner.

Photo credits - Gulf 12hr / A Hatfield / Century Motorsport

 

Monday, February 22, 2021 | Read more...
Not too late to grab a bargain ahead of your 2021 campaign

Not too late to grab a bargain ahead of your 2021 campaign


If you’re interested in getting a deal as you want to go racing (or just have some fun at a track) then look no further than David Appleby Engineering’s offer of two 2019 specification Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4’s for just £300k + vat for the pair!

Previously used by the team in several European series as well bespoke events such as the  Dubai 24 and the Gulf 12Hr, these two cars unfortunately saw little race mileage last year but have been maintained regardless of cost by the owner and are now being offered to interested parties as a pair together with an additional spares and equipment package (with an extra charge) if required at a substantial saving to cost price.

With the global GT market getting more ‘switched on’ to the cost benefits in racing GT4 cars as opposed to higher classes of race car, these two cars would be immediately on the pace in any series around the world and is already a proven Championship winner.

Further details are available via https://racecarsdirect.com/Advert/Details/117183/2-x-aston-martin-vantage-gt4-2020-specificati

Photo credits – Racecar Direct / Gulf 12Hr

Sunday, February 21, 2021 | Read more...
No prizes for the five AMR runners today after the conclusion of the Asian Le Mans Series

No prizes for the five AMR runners today after the conclusion of the Asian Le Mans Series

 


Today’s fourth and final round of the Asian Le Mans Series was something of a crucial affair for certainly two Aston Martin Racing teams as they would be the only ones from the original five who were still in position to at least challenge for the last two Le Mans automatic invitation places in the GT Class.

With the top two slots already taken by the Herberth and GPX Porsche teams after two dominating rounds last weekend at the Dubai Autodrome, a podium finish was a must for the #97 Oman with TF Sport AMR Vantage of Ahmad Al Harthy, Jonny Adam and Tom Canning after their unfortunate DNF in yesterday’s third race whilst the #88 Garage 59 crew of Alex West, Maxime Martin and Valentin Hasse-Clot needed to emulate their performance and indeed luck from the second race from Dubai to have any chance themselves.


Qualifying had of course been competed yesterday morning and this time it was the #89 Garage 59 car of Marvin Kirchhofer who would start closest to the front of the GT class in P3 with Adam a few rows back in P9.

In a starting procedure that saw the GT field start very close to the rear of the LMP field, it was unsurprising that there was some bumping and grinding going into turn 1 but an ‘around the outside’ move by Kirchhofer saw him take and hold the class lead. It also wouldn’t take teammate Martin too long to follow him up through the running order to take P3 either to quickly establish another Garage 59 1-2.


Just ten minutes in however, a Safety Car for debris and a stopped car on track put paid to the hard work of those two Pro drivers as their gaps were quickly swallowed up by the following pack. Losing ten minutes of race time to that, the teams then had to rethink their race strategy further as a second Safety Car period (this time for a nasty looking collision between two Ferrari’s at Turn 11) would look like costing the Pro drivers yet more of their time.

During this prolonged caution period, some teams like the D’Station Racing AMR squad would leave their Bronze driver (Satoshi Hoshino) aboard so that he could use up his 55-minute minimum driver time in the Safety Car queue as he had already done well by improving his track position from P12 in class at the start to P9.


Whereas the #97 Oman Racing Aston of Tom Canning would pit just for fuel and tyres, both Garage 59 cars had to pit to swap out their Pro drivers with Bronze drivers Mike Benham and Alex West indeed climbing aboard the #89 and #88 cars respectively as the clocked neared the end of the first hour.

The #95 TF Sport car of John Hartshorne, Ollie Hancock and Charlie Eastwood tried something different again as they burned up two of their 70 second minimum pit stop timed stops during the Safety car before the starting Hartshorne was eventually swapped out for Hancock.


Thirty minutes or so later, the race finally went back to green with the running order appearing ‘messy’ with many cars now on differing strategies leaving all five Astons running in the midfield of the GT field as the race then went under the auspices of a Full Course Yellow for debris not long after.

Having come to the end of his fuel, Canning would pit from P5 to hand over to Al Harthy at the bottom of the hour rather than nearer to the top but just after the race went back to green, Al Harthy had to avoid the spinning #89 Aston as Benham got turned around by the race leading LMP2 car – not necessarily a good way to start your stint!!


Topping the hour at the halfway point, the #97 had moved up to P2 in class with the sister #95 car in P6 and the #77 car of Tomonobu Fujii in P7. Silver drivers Hasse-Clot and Yuki Nemoto had just got in their #88 and #89 cars so were further back in P10/P11 respectively at that time, but it wouldn’t be long before those cars were listed as circulating in P5/P6.

As the race neared its final hour, the cars to be for those automatic invites were both #7 Optimum McLaren and the #55 Rinaldi Ferrari and it looked like the #97 Oman car was the best bet (then running in P4) but Adam would have to make a late stop for a splash and dash in order to get to the end. Then, the McLaren and the #99 Porsche each had to stop again for service and running repairs also and that would make for a tense few final laps as that slowly unravelled itself.


Unfortunately for Oman Racing crew, this was all too little too late as the best the #97 could do was their best result of the Series in P4 – not enough to bridge the gap to claim either the third of fourth place in the class overall.

Despite all Aston Martins finishing within the top ten in class, that simply showed the competitive nature of the class in modern GT endurance racing with the five AMR crews being edged out by strategy and the calibre of the mixed driver crews aboard their opposing teams. An impressive P6 finish for the #95 TF Sport crew would put a smile on their faces as they now looked towards GTE racing in the European Le Mans Series and for the #77 crew, another P7 finish was a result of yet more progressive improvements as they now look to the World Endurance Championship in GTE for the first time later this year.


At the end, it was the #88 Garage 59 car who would come closest to those invitations eventually finishing P5 overall in class yet ten points behind the next highest car. For them, there will be no automatic invitation to Le Mans but then we’re not too sure (from previous conversations) if that that was the actual target for some within the team as the challenge and experience of the series was enough on top of what they already have planned for the remainder of the year?

It was good to watch – we certainly enjoyed it and we’re missing it already!!

Photo credits – ALMS / AMR / Teams
Saturday, February 20, 2021 | Read more...
Final ALMS race tomorrow to finalise auto invites for Le Mans 24 in GT

Final ALMS race tomorrow to finalise auto invites for Le Mans 24 in GT

 


Taking with them their robust performances in their last race at Dubai Autodrome on Sunday, the five Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 car entries from Garage 59, TF Sport and D’Station Racing were all hopeful of something similar in today’s penultimate round of the Asian Le Mans Series from Yas Marina – but most would be left somewhat disappointed.

Moving into the two final four-hour races at the Abu Dhabi circuit which would involve more night time running with their later race starts, today was to be a busy day for the thirty five runners after already having run two Qualifying Sessions this morning for each of todays and Saturday’s races.

There had also been more beneficial news for them in the form of an additional 15kg of ballast being added to the three Porsche 911 GT3 cars after two dominating performances by them in Dubai that left the GPX and Herberth Porsche teams at the top of the leader board going to Yas Marina.


Garage 59 continued with their Pro drivers Maxime Martin and Marvin Kirchhofer each Qualifying and starting their #88 and #89 cars again and were the front runners of the AMR five on this afternoon’s grid in P4 and P7 respectively. Jonny Adam in #97 Oman Racing car qualified his car in P9 whilst the D’Station Racing boss Satoshi Hoshino would start from P13 in his #77 car with Ollie Hancock starting the #95 TF Sport car from P15.

A busy looking start saw the GT pack more than four wide over the start line but thankfully the #88 and #89 cars come out in front in class as the race was immediately placed under Safety Car procedures as an LMP3 faulted on the pit straight. Another short period of Green running before another Safety Car for another failed LMP3 car on track interrupted the flow of the race and wasted valuable minutes of both Martin’s and Kirchhofer’s time aboard their cars but by the end of the first 30 minutes, AMR were running 1-2-3 after the #97 picked up the tail of the leaders.


Importantly for the Astons, the two Championship leading Porsche’s were still back in P4 and P5 at this stage but with only their Silver’s aboard, they would start to fall back further as the race eventually began to flow.

After a great stint in Sunday’s second round, Hoshino aboard his #77 car would get frustratingly for him stuck behind a LMP3 car as he saw out his mandatory 55 minutes behind the wheel. The #95 TF Sport car had swapped their starting driver from their Bronze of John Hartshorne to their Silver of Hancock but he too would struggle to make to much indent from his original starting position in what was still only their third race in two week aboard an AMR Vantage GT3.


Going into the second hour and the Garage 59 cars would retain the top two places (albeit swapped around in running order) by the time the first stops had worked themselves out as Yuki Nemoto had stepped in the #89 from Kirchhofer and Valentin Hasse-Clot got down to business in the #88. By the time that Adam had swapped over to Ahmad Al Harthy in the #97 car, the running order had returned to P1 for Nemoto, P2 for Hasse-Clot, P4 for Al Harthy, P15 for Tomonobu Fujii now in the #77 car and P18 for Hartshorne.

Just after the halfway mark and both Garage 59 cars now had their bronze drivers of Alex West in the #88 and Mike Benham in the #89 for their minimum driver time to defend what was then an 18 second lead over the still threatening Porsche’s behind.


Coming towards the final hour of the race, the #97 Oman Racing car of Al Harthy again pitted from his assumed lead of the race as he handed the car over to Tom Canning for the final race to the flag. Hoping to beat their brace of P7 finishes in Dubai, the Oman crew really needed a decent finish and based upon their performances so far – that looked highly possible!

That was however until the rear of the #27 Kessel Racing Ferrari suddenly met the front of the #97 Aston at the blind entry of turn 7. With the exact circumstances of the incident unclear, the result was terminal radiator damage to the #97 and that would force Canning to quickly park the now battered blue and white car in a place of safety as to prevent any further damage to the engine through overheating. Their race was now over with just fifty minutes remaining.


Such were the sequence of events at that stage of the race that the resulting Full Course Yellow had #40 and #99 Porsche’s now at the front of the order for the first time in the race with there also being little evidence of their 35kg of additional ballast having any long-term effect on their overall performances such was the depth of ability within those cars.

Martin was in P6, Tom Gamble had come out of almost nowhere aboard the #77 car to hold and push the AMR factory driver from P7 and with Kirchhofer down in P10 with only 30 minutes remaining – despite them all still posting personal bests there was nothing that any of them could do to stop the Porsche’s taking the top two steps again this time around.


Eventually finishing P6, P7 and P9 respectively for those above and in P16 for the #95 car, that leaves Sundays final race of the ALMS season as an effective ‘winner takes all’ race to decide the top four GT’s that will be presented with their Le Mans 24hr automatic invitation but with two already going to Porsche teams – that leaves about the next seven cars all squabbling over what’s left.

Photo credits - AMR / Teams / ALMS
Friday, February 19, 2021 | Read more...
Dorr Motorsport join the AMR family with an entry in ADAC GT4 Germany

Dorr Motorsport join the AMR family with an entry in ADAC GT4 Germany


The global Aston Martin Racing family became another one stronger today after the Dorr Motorsport team from Germany confirmed a new AMR Vantage GT4 for drivers Phil Dorr and Andreas Wirth in this season’s ADAC GT4 Germany Series.

Filling the void in the German national GT4 series previously held by the PROsport Performance team when they ran two brand new turbo charged AMR GT4’s in their debut year, this family backed team will support both an AMR car for one son and a new McLaren 570s for another.

Twenty-year-old Phil Dorr is another young driver who has progressed through the racing ranks and this year comes with two previous years’ worth of GT4 racing experience in both the ADAC GT4 series and the GT4 European Series including a race win and two pole positions in his then 570s entry.

Dorr is another big family chain of road car franchise’s in Germany that includes luxury marques like Aston Martin Berlin and three McLaren outlets.

Dorr is joined by thirty-six-year-old countryman Andreas Wirth who comes with extensive race experience most recently from the European Le Mans Series and many years in ADAC GT Masters.

The team expect delivery of their new race cars in the coming days before they start their season preparations ahead of six double header weekends that start at Oschersleben in mid-May.

We patiently wait for any further news of this apparent AMR Vantage GT3 entry into the headlining ADAC GT Masters Series as previously intimated by the series late last year!

Photo credits – Dorr Motorsport

Thursday, February 18, 2021 | Read more...
Five AMR crews gearing up for Asian Le Mans Series Yas Marina finale

Five AMR crews gearing up for Asian Le Mans Series Yas Marina finale

 

A mere 65 miles between circuits and three days later, the Asian Le Mans Series and its thirty six car entry has already set up and had its first test sessions at the Yas Marina Circuit today as the series and crew look forward to the final two back to back rounds of the 2021 season there in Abu Dhabi.

Having only started last weekend at the Dubai Autodrome for the first two rounds of the shortened series, five Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3’s were of course included within that grid number as teams like Garage 59, TF Sport, Oman Racing and D’Station Racing also saw the benefits of shipping out to the Middle East for this series in the quest of early competitive seat time as well as that illusive automatic invitation that goes with winning in the GT class.


Some drivers listed aboard these AMR’s were running in the GT3 for the very first time whilst others had been forced (by circumstance) to sit out most of their 2020 season so these races were the first for them too in a while.


TF Sport and D’Station Racing have also recently declared their entries into either of the World Endurance Championship or European Le Mans Series for them and some of their attending drivers, so competitive track time for them (albeit not in a GTE class car) is of the essence for them.

Last weekend we saw the #88 Garage 59 car of Maxime Martin, Alex West and Valentin Hasse-Clot secure their first podium in the ACO rules world of motorsport to presently sit P4 in the GT Class ahead of this weekend’s final two four-hour races.


The Oman Racing with TF Sport #97 AMR of Ahmad Al Harthy, Jonny Adam and Tom Canning are the next highest in the table in P7 after two robust P7 finishes in Dubai that could quite easily have been much higher except for a little bad luck and with a few simple errors being avoided next time out.


The sister #89 Garage 59 car of Marvin Kirchhofer, Yuki Nemoto and Mike Benham share P12 with the #95 TF Sport car of John Hartshorne, Ollie Hancock and Charlie Eastwood after the AMR GT3 debut from all bar Eastwood and Kirchhofer whilst just below them in P13 sits the #77 D’Station Racing AMR of Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Tom Gamble after set up issues and unforced errors in race one in Dubai were countered by a better race performance all round in race 2.

Full details of track sessions are listed below.


What will now be interesting will be seeing the effects of Porsche's additional weight penalty after their performances of race two at Dubai where the three 911 GT3's entered will carry an extra 35kg of ballast from their Balance of Performance declared start weight before the start of proceedings before race one. Thats an extra 15kg being applied since race two.

Photo credits - ALMS / AMR / Teams
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Read more...
AGS Events Racing confirm four full season AMR's in FFSA GT4

AGS Events Racing confirm four full season AMR's in FFSA GT4

 


Today’s sees the French AGS Events Racing Team confirm a massive four Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 car entry into their national FFSA GT4 Series that kicks off with another six-round season at the beginning of April.

Having swapped to the British marque in time for the 2020 season, the team eventually came away with numerous Championship titles in both the SRO sanctioned FFSA GT4 Series and GT4 European Series in which they ran up to four cars in FFSA and two cars in GT4 European Series. These successes came despite all of the constraints and problems that the series’ were presented with due to the outbreak of COVID-19.


Their announcement for the FFSA GT4 Series today sees team boss Nicolas Gomar again team up with Mike Parisy to challenge for the Pro-Am Drivers Championship win this time having come runners up in the Driver’s Championship whilst securing the Pro-Am Teams Championship win last year.


The 2020 AMR Drivers Academy winner Valentin Hasse-Clot joins the team again for this time a full season endeavour in the French National series as he pairs up with F4 driver Romain Leroux in a Silver Cup entered AMR.


That leaves two Astons for drivers competing within the Am Cup – one for returning crew Didier Dumaine and Christophe Carrier and another for newcomers Lauris Nauroy and Stephane Desbrosse.


It was reported that the team have already started their pre-season testing in Barcelona only last week as all look forward to a season that kicks off at Nogaro in April before moving onto Magny-Cours, Albi, Spa, Ledenon before concluding at Paul Ricard in early October.

Photo credits - FFSA GT4 / AGS Events

 

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | Read more...
P3 for Garage 59 and big improvements for all AMR's in Asian Le Mans finale in Dubai

P3 for Garage 59 and big improvements for all AMR's in Asian Le Mans finale in Dubai


Another exciting multi-class race from the Dubai Autodrome was seen again today as the Asian Le Mans Series held its second four-hour round of their somewhat now compressed 2021 season.

Less than twenty-four hours after their opening round of the season yesterday, a race that turned out to a be a hard-fought affair back at the racetrack for some, the thirty-six LMP2, LMP3 and GT3 full season entries were refettled, repaired and restocked ahead of todays action. 

With starting positions again taken from each car’s performances in Fridays double Qualifying sessions, that meant that the #88 Garage 59 AMR Vantage GT3 of Maxime Martin would start highest of the five AMR runners in P4, John Hartshorne in P7 after Charlie Eastwood’s faster Qualifying efforts were scrubbed for track limits, the #97 of Ahmad Al Harty close behind in P7, Marvin Kirchhofer this time starting the #89 Garage 59 car from P10 and Satoshi Hoshino again starting the #77 D’Station car form P14.

Having had no chance of catching those ‘flying’ Porsche 911 GT3 R’s in yesterday’s race, efforts had been made to redress the balance in performance with the addition of an extra 20kg of weight for the three Porsches entered in the Series but only time would tell if that was enough to level the ‘playing field’.

Another dry, warm but this time windy day saw the grid take to a somewhat slippery track in the opening stages as sand on track, low tyre temperatures and pressures added for some exciting opening laps. Early passes from the Pro drivers aboard the two Garage 59 cars saw them lift up to P2 for Martin and P7 for Kirchhofer after just one lap but again the #88 car would be baulked behind the still faster GPX Porsche.

Team Owner Satoshi Hoshino again started for the Japanese team and he was destined for a much better race stint today than yesterday as changes in car set-up worked to his strengths as he progressed from his P14 starting position to as high as P9 before most cars in class pitted for their first scheduled stop.

Two early FCY’s were called for stranded LMP cars on track and as usual, that saw cars from across all classes split their race strategies all in search of that edge to outwit their opponents and whilst the two Garage 59 cars remained out for the first caution, both pitted during the second as Martin and Kirchhofer handed over to Valentin Hasse-Clot and Yuki Nemoto respectively. The three other Aston’s couldn’t yet make that call as their Am drivers aboard need just a little more track time to see out their minimum requirements.

During the early laps of the race, the #97 Oman Racing car of Al Harthy had tagged the rear of yesterday’s race winning #99 Porsche, leaving him with a rear puncture but also an inevitable Drive through Penalty for the Omani right at the end of his stint almost an hour later. Having served his penalty for that, the #97 would pit to allow Tom Canning to have his next chance within the Series.

In the #95 TF Sport entered car, Hartshorne kept plugging away at his steep learning curve as he combatted the perils of the race start again before finding improvements and rhythm before he eventually handed over to his No.2 Ollie Hancock. Hoshino would follow them in having ran as high as P3 during the pit stop cycle.

2020 AMR Drivers Academy winner Hasse-Clot was on another charge having come out on track in P5 to get back to where Martin had left off behind the still leading Porsche in P2. Great middle stints from Canning, Hasse-Clot and Tom Gamble (now in the #77 D’Station) would see track position first consolidated before then improved upon. The later inter-marque battles between the Oman Racing, D’Station and TF Sport cars was great to watch although there may have been a few worries from those on pit wall – but all proved good!

The pace of the GPX Porsche continued to be superior to that of those chasing them, their own driver line up was mightily strong and there continued to be little that either Garage 59 car could do about it despite running first in class for much of the first half of the race after the Porsche pitted early under the first yellow.

Alex West was next out in the #88 car and he had the ability to manage his cars P5 running position for much of his hour stint having only relinquished P4 to Kirchhofer who was obviously quicker in his #89 car. Unfortunately for the #89 car, their closing in on the #40 GPX Porsche would be in vain as Mike Benham (Am) was still due in the Aston for his 55 minutes whereas the Porsche had their Pro still to come – an imbalance in ability that no ballast could ever equalise!!

Coming into the final hour of the race and with many cars were now getting the black/white flag final warning for track limits, the #77 car with Fujii again behind the wheel also got called back into pit lane (similar to yesterday) for a 1 second stop/hold for a mis-timed stop earlier.

Jonny Adam in the #97, Eastwood in the #95 and Tomonobu Fujii in the #77 were all running in the top six for a time but all owed a final stop to get them to the end so for them, the final hour became a battle for a respectable finishing position for them to take into next week’s two rounds at Yas Marina if they were to have any chance of title winning success there.

Martin was back in the #88 car to the end and the AMR factory driver had got himself back up to P3 overall in class whilst Benham would find himself getting ‘mugged’ of all his single digit running order positions to the end to see his second race end finish in P10 but that was still an improvement from yesterday.

Adam would again bring home the #97 car for their second P7 finish of the weekend whilst Fujii would eventually lose out on the D’Station/TF Sport battle to finish P13 again for the Japanese squad and P11 respectably. 

All in all and whilst the Porsche retained it’s overall performance over the rest of the GT field, todays second race of the weekend proved itself to be a much stronger one for the AMR runners. A change in strategy for some as well as learning from mistakes of yesterday saw improved results for both Garage 59 cars, stable performances for the Oman Racing and D’Station Racing crews although the #95 TF Sport car did have a nett loss of one place over yesterday’s performances.

The teams now pack up and move onto the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi for next weekend’s double header that will see the winners of the automatic Le Mans 24hr Invitation winners crowned. 

Photo credits - ALMS / AMR / Teams



Sunday, February 14, 2021 | Read more...