The grid has been set for British GT's Championship decider

The grid has been set for British GT's Championship decider

It was great to get down to the Donington Park paddock today in time for the British GT Championship to run out its final Qualification session of the season with both the GT3 and GT4 titles still very much up for grabs.

Both TF Sport and the Optimum V12 Vantage GT3's formed the top of the timing screen at the end of Free Practice 1 with then Beechdean and the #11 TF Sport car taking the honours by the end of Free Practice 2 in the dry conditions showing that the V12 was still very much a competitive platform amongst a field of many newer cars despite her imminent retirement as a factory supported platform.

Then the rain came just after lunch forcing the teams to make late set up changes to their cars and without the benefit of running it out on track before a timed lap and that must have had an impact on to the following sessions.

The GT3 Amateur drivers were out first for their ten minute qualifying session with the nearest championship rival to the Optimum crew (the #33 Lamborghini of Jon Minshaw and Phil Keen) taking early top honours with a cool 1.2 second gap to Graham Davidson in his Jetstream Vantage.

Both Farmer and Johnston in the TF Sport cars struggled with the conditions with Johnston even having a slight off track excursion that simply lost him any remaining tyre temperature that he had. Worse was to follow as both TF Sport cars even missed the chequered flag to their session and completed an additional lap earning themselves a visit to the race stewards to boot. Hopefully - that will not lead to any grid penalty for tomorrows race?

Next up were of course the Pro drivers, with this time both Barwell Lamborghini's locking out the front row with the best AMR car being the Marco Sorensen (again) in forth with three more Vantages directly behind him but with Darren Turner suffering from the effects of a broken exhaust and needing to pit with two laps of time still left on the clock.

The overall consequence of the Am and Pro combined times is the the Barwell front row lock out will be followed by the #47 Jetstream car of Davidson and Maxime Martin starting in P3 , the #75 Optimium car in P4, P5 and P6 for the Farmer/Thiim and Johnston/Sorensen TF Sport cars respectively and and Andrew Howard/Turner car down in P8.

Over in GT4, the two Academy Motorsport cars of Matt Nichol-Jones with Will Moore and Tom Wood with Jan Jonck showed their clean pair of heels as first Wood and Moore finished P4 and P6 out of the nineteen strong field with Nichol-Jones and Jonck completing their session P5 and P8 respectively. All of that equated to both Academy cars starting their final race aboard their venerable V8 Vantage GT4's on the third row for tomorrows grid.

The biggest question for tomorrow remains the threat of rain - if or when it will hit the Leicestershire circuit and the severity and duration of it if or when it arrives. Present Met Office forecasts show a distinct downgrade with the forecast - which is good - so fingers crossed!

Title and TF Sport photo credit - Jacob Ebrey

Saturday, September 22, 2018 |
Planting an early seed

Planting an early seed

They say that there is no time like the present and that is certainly the case at Academy Motorsport.

Fresh on the heals of it being confirmed today that the Worcester based team have indeed secured two of the first batch of new Aston Martin Racing's V8 Vantage GT4 ready for the start of the 2019 season, the team have put the first 'feelers' out in the racing community for suitable abled drivers to test for a potential seat.

Having raced for the last couple of years within the British GT Championship and the GT4 European Series, team boss Matt Nichol-Jones has tonight posted out to potentially interested parties to contact him at for a similar campaign in either or similar series.

Photo credit - AMR
Friday, September 21, 2018 |
One more for the camera as the AMR V12 Vantage GT3 takes a bow

One more for the camera as the AMR V12 Vantage GT3 takes a bow

Never one to let a photo opportunity pass them by, Aston Martin Racing and their customer teams entered into this weekends finale of the 2018 British GT Championship have tonight come up with some extraordinary liveries that will help them and us celebrate their racing achievements over the years aboard one of their V12 Vantage GT3's as the car enters its final race weekend in the UK as a factory supported platform.

At the fore are of course Beechdean AMR and TF Sport with multiple BGT GT3 Championship wins between them and who's roofs have been bedecked with these fabulous graphical reminders of previous good times.

Behind them on the grid is the Optimum Motorsport car who's championship winning and history making achievements may just get confirmed on Sunday after an incredible first year with AMR. Then there is the Jetstream car with a pair who have also enjoyed their first win with AMR at perhaps one of the toughest tracks in the BGT calendar at Spa Francorchamps.

Meanwhile, Academy Motorsports two V8 Vantage GT4's also take a bow in their extremely competitive class as both cars look to race their final race in the championship aboard their also soon to be replaced cars at the final round.

Photo credits - AMR

Friday, September 21, 2018 |
Come prepared to the Donington Decider!

Come prepared to the Donington Decider!

Six months ago the British GT Championship kicked off with their first race of the 2018 season from Oulton Park under what could only be described as deteriorating track conditions, conditions that finally lead to the abandonment of their second race of the day.

Eight highly entertaining and eventful races later, the final two hours of the 2018 Championship is due to start at Donington Park this Sunday with most of the GT3 and GT4 Championships still to be resolved with the event deservedly still claiming its Donington Decider hashtag.

Sadly for this event and for those drivers who still have a possibility of championship success, they appear to need to quickly rekindle their wet weather racing abilities as it looks like the finale will suffer similar weather conditions as befell the opening round with weather warnings for significant rainfall and blustery winds in place for much of the weekend.

Whilst it appears that Saturday's Free Practice and Qualifying sessions should see mainly dry running conditions with rain not forecasted until towards the end of the days schedule and overnight it does appear that the race is due to be 'hit' to some degree with an increasing intensity of rainfall and increasing windspeed likely.

Should this happen, this will obviously lead to treacherous track conditions for the drivers and for some potentially soggy watching for the spectators - so if you do come and please do come  - just come prepared!

Hopefully, track conditions and events on track will allow the venerable Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 see out her British GT career as a factory supported chassis in style with a win and a Championship (maybe)!

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey

Thursday, September 20, 2018 |
No big entries yet from AMR into latest round of VLN

No big entries yet from AMR into latest round of VLN

Despite Aston Martin Racing driver Darren Turner dangling a carrot of a possible significant future entry form the factory team into the remainder of the 2018 VLN Series, this weekend's seventh round of the series see no surprises with its AMR related entries.

Full season and long suffering Avia Racing will be back again with their SP10 (GT4) class Vantage desperate no doubt to break their recent run of back luck that has seen too many DNF's listed on the results card for them to be contented with. Drivers Weber, Krebs and Johansson will be looking for at least a finish in the eleven strong class on Saturday.

There is also a little confusion on the entry list for this team and their three drivers as they are also listed against the #950 Fanclub Mathol (the name of the team that prepares and races their Vantage) Porsche Cayman GT4 apparently racing in the Cup 3 class!

Joining them in the sole AMR Performance Centre car, the #150 SP8 Class Vantage (used by many AMR customers earning their full Nordschleife permit) will be customer pairing Marco Muller and Erik Manning.

No excursions for the Aston Martin Vantage GT8 this week after Darren Turner shared the work load within that car last time out - but we have seen one snippet of a another young man from within the AMR camp suggesting a future experience at the circuit sometime soon!

Photo credits - VLN

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 |
Donington decider just around the corner

Donington decider just around the corner

Eight exciting races later and we have again reached a 'winner takes all' conclusion to the 2018 British GT Championship as Sundays two hour race will again determine both the GT3 and GT4 overall winners in what's now aptly become known as the #DoningtonDecider!

Earlier this month we saw what may just be a significant decision in deciding the final outcome of the GT3 Championship with the overturning an earlier race steward time penalty imposed upon the Optimum Motorsport car after race 1 from Snetterton back in May that reinstated the full race points initially claimed to the #75 V12 Vantage GT3 crew of Flick Haigh and Jonny Adam at the chequered flag. As a result of that decision, Adam and Haigh now enter Sunday's two hour finale with a 27.5 points over long time championship leaders Jon Minshaw & Phil Keen with their Barwell Lamborghini and by a further point ahead of TF Sport's Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim.

Only these three crews are in contention for the overall GT3 crown but with just 37.5 points on offer the latter two crews chances will be subject to the finishing positions of others. However, it is important to remember that recent Championship history has indeed proven that stranger things can and indeed do sometimes happen so all is not yet concluded!

Then late last week came the shock news that TF Sport's Derek Johnston will be making his 'home' event his last as the former British GT GT3 Champion will be hanging up his race helmet to competitive motorsport at least come the close of play Sunday afternoon. Never a stranger to wearing his heartstrings upon his sleeve we can be sure that the atmosphere will be somewhat emotional whatever the outcome for him and the team in their final race of the year in the Championship.

To Derek - its been great watching you race in the national GT series,  more so obviously when you came over to TF Sport in only their second year aboard one of their Vantage GT3's with Matt Bell. It was then a real privilege to see you lift the GT3 Championship at Donington just a year later with Jonny and we thank you for both your involvement and your time. Have a great finale and hopefully you and Marco will stick in on the podium for an AMR 1-2-3.

Rounding out the GT3 side of things, the #17 TF Sport car of Johnston/Sorensen will be having their own inter AMR battle as just over twenty points separate them from the Andrew Howard/Darren Turner Beechdean AMR car and the Jetstream Vantage of Graham Davidson and Maxime Martin as they all look to pass the ERC Mercedes team for fourth overall in class.

In GT4, Academy Motorsport will see out their season with just the remotest of championship possibilities for team boss Matt Nichol-Jones/Will Moore laying in fifth but that would involve the top four GT4 Championship cars ahead of them not finishing. The young gun line up of Jan Jonck/Tom Wood in the teams second V8 Vantage have endured something of a 'nightmare' of a season with technical issues too regularly taking the car out of competitive running positions.

Donington will also probably be the final time that we see the current iteration of V12 GT3 and V8 Vantage GT4 race their way around the national circuits as most (if not all) the main British GT teams are understood to have committed to buying the new turbo charged version of the Vantage GT3 and GT4 once both platforms have completed their development testing and homologation over the winter.

Thats sad in some respect but at least there is plenty to look forward to in 2019!

We will also keep an eye of for Jack Mitchell who presently stands at the top of the GT4 Drivers Championship table. Although racing this year in a BMW M4, he does of course make up a winning half to a China Equity AMR racing line up over in the China GT Championship this year!

Timetable for the weekend's event

Saturday 22 September
09:40 – 10:40: Free Practice 1
12:00 – 13:00: Free Practice 2
15:55 – 16:05: Qualifying – GT3 Am
16:09 – 16:19: Qualifying – GT3 Pro
16:23 – 16:33: Qualifying – GT4 Am
16:38 – 16:48: Qualifying – GT4 Pro

Sunday 23 September
09:35 – 09:45: Warm-up
12:30 – 13:00: Pitwalk and driver autograph session
13:35 – 15:35: Race

Photo credit - Podium Jacob Ebrey
Monday, September 17, 2018 |
Red River Sport looks good in an AMR Vantage!

Red River Sport looks good in an AMR Vantage!

Now that the news of Red River Sport entering a TF Sport prepared Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage into the 2018-2019 Asian Le Mans Series has finally been announced earlier today, we can now bring you more of the photographs that regular contributor Steve Jackman obtained from the team's test at Silverstone last month.

We understand that such was the status of the agreement between the two parties at that time that when approached team boss Tom Ferrier about it he kindly requested that we kept these images to ourselves until now.

Judging by the render of the car's new livery for the series we can see that the venerable Vantage wears her new colours well and will probably be quite distinctive on track and proves that despite being 'pensioned' off by the factory in favour of their yet to be homologated turbo charged new Vantage, the V12 is still considered to be very much a winner as many series and races around the world have proven this year.

We of course wish them all the best in the Series that starts in Shanghai at the end of November!

Photo credits - Steve Jackman
Monday, September 17, 2018 |
Red River Sport pair up with TF Sport for Asian Le Mans campaign

Red River Sport pair up with TF Sport for Asian Le Mans campaign

An unexpected by-product of looking at some photos from a general test at Silverstone last month led us to stumbling across a new but as yet unannounced race programme for TF Sport and their latest customer - Red River Sport.

Having undertaken a very successful inaugural event aboard one of Aston Martin Racings V8 Vantage GT4 platforms at the AMR Festival support race at Le Mans this year, Red River Sports Jonny Mowlem, Bonamy Grimes and Ivor Dunbar were seen conducting what was presumably a final confirmation test before committing for the project that will see the trio race in the Asian Le Mans Series over the European winter months as both Dunbar and Grimes prepare themselves for the inevitable test at the Le Man 24Hr itself.

“This opportunity to compete in the Asian Le Mans Series surfaced recently,” explained TF Sport Director Tom Ferrier. “It will be a new and exciting challenge for everyone at TF Sport. We’re very proud of our history and results and we’ve proven we can run at the front, take wins and challenge for championships at every level.

“In saying that, we never underestimate the competition and it is will be a pleasure to work with Red River Sport in helping them with their longer-term ambitions.”

It is understood that their new Asian campaign will be aboard one of the teams older generation V12 Vanatge GT3 in the four round championship that begins with the Shanghai round before traveling on to Fuji, Buriram and Sepang.

Photo credits - Steve Jackman

Photo credits - Steve Jackman
Monday, September 17, 2018 |
Lola AMR DBR1-2 - very much a winner at Spa

Lola AMR DBR1-2 - very much a winner at Spa

They say that local knowledge is as good as an extra few horsepower and that was certainly the case at Spa Francorchamps this weekend as local man Christophe D'Ansembourg powered his way to two Masters Series Endurance Legends race wins aboard his iconic Aston Martin Lola DBR1-2.

Having lost out to the pace of Steve Tandy's recently acquired Lola Mazda before, the Belgium claimed overall pole position for the first race yesterday by just over half a second. Shaun Lynn grabbed class honours in his former JMW G3 GT3 class Vantage GT2 with Colin Sowter a further three places back albeit some eight seconds behind that in his former JWA Vantage GT2. Nikolaus Ditting found himself totally outgunned in his AM DBR9 by the #29 Ferrari 550.

Race 1 into the dusk of Friday night was a lights to flag race win for D'Ansembourg and his Aston Martin Lola finishing ahead of Tandy by just over five seconds. Both Vantage GT2's suffered during the during the forty minute race to finish off the podium in P4 and P5 with Sowter also being a lap down to the class winners.

Starting from pole for Saturday's second and final race of the Spa 6Hr weekend was a much closer affair for D'Ansembourg, just managing to keep Tandy and the following Peugeot 908X behind to claim his second event win of the weekend by less than two seconds. 

Dittings performance on track with his older DBR9 was compounded in this race with a 23 second penalty being awarded for speeding in the pit lane but at least for Lynn, he managed to improve from his P16 grid start position to claim second in class.

The grid will now reconvene for the Series last event of the season at Dijon, France in mid October.

Photo credits - Masters Historic

Saturday, September 15, 2018 |
Get a message out on the roof of an Aston at Donington

Get a message out on the roof of an Aston at Donington

Having now made his through a very trying inaugural British GT Championship season, Academy Motorsport racer Tom Wood is offering space aboard his Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 for any message that you may have for him at his local event.

For a measly one hundred of your pre Brexit pounds sterling (and if you get in touch with Tom over the next few days) you could see your personal message race around the Donington Park circuit next weekend as he and co driver Jan Jonck look to see off the first season together in style.

Depending upon how the development and homologation of AMR's new Vantage GT4 platform goes over the next few months, this final round of the British GT should also see out the racing service of the older generation car that Academy have solely entered this season before teams look to secure examples of the new car in readiness for 2019.

Tom can be contacted via any of his social media profiles

Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey
Friday, September 14, 2018 |
Classic Aston Martins back on track at the Spa 6Hr meeting

Classic Aston Martins back on track at the Spa 6Hr meeting

The Masters Endurance Legends Series returns to the circuit of its 'creation' last year as the expected twenty two car field reconvenes for its penultimate round of its inaugural season at Spa Francorchamps this weekend.

Four pedigree racing cars from the Aston Martin Racing stable again make the trip with last time out winners of race two of the Old Timers Grand Prix event from the Nurburgring, the Christophe D'Ansembourg Lola Aston Martin DBR1-2 competing on its home track and supported along the way by a DBR9 and two Vantage GT2's.

Shaun Lynn (father of Aston Martin Racing GTE driver Alex) pilots the former JMW Dunlop livered Vantage GT2 along with Colin Sowter again in the ex JWA Vantage GT2. Nikolaus Ditting completes the line up aboard his green DBR9.

The Endurance Legends Series will feature two 40 minute races over both Friday and Saturday.

Photo credits - Master Historic Legends / Steve Jackman / RL
Thursday, September 13, 2018 |
Donington decider to see out Johnstons racing career

Donington decider to see out Johnstons racing career

With just one round of the 2018 British GT Championship remaining, Derek Johnston has decided to announce his racing retirement following a long and successful career in both two and four-wheel competition.

His final start will be at the British GT Championship season finale at Donington Park, a fitting location as he claimed the drivers’ championship there in 2016 and it is of course his favourite circuit on the calendar and one that has been central to his race career.

Derek Johnston

“TF Sport are just like family, I’ll miss them and it will be sad for sure at the end in Donington. TF are such good friends, but I know that I’ll stay friends with them all.

“I’ve loved British GT and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the Paddock and the professionalism, but I have nothing left to prove there and most importantly, I have nothing to prove to myself because I have achieved far more than I ever thought I would.

“I made the decision to retire from racing earlier in the year and I’ve not regretted that. I’m sure I’ll test cars again, but I’m stopping racing and I’m happy to stop.”

Tom Ferrier, TF Sport Director

“Derek Johnston was our first headline signing at TF Sport. As a driver he has evolved with us as a team and we are very happy to have helped him win the championship in 2016. Derek is a racer at heart and we will miss him!”

Source material - TF Sport
Photo credits - Jacob Ebrey

Thursday, September 13, 2018 |
Remainder of weekend's racing action

Remainder of weekend's racing action

With track action from Donington and Shanghai already grabbing our attention from over the weekend, we also saw a further quartet of Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4's take to the track at Many-Cours, Snetterton and Laguna Seca.

Having already misidentified the drivers aboard the #144 Generation AMR SuperRacing car that took part in the fourth round of the French FFSA GT4 Championship, it was of course team principle James Appleby who returned to the drivers seat alongside regular driver Matt George in lieu of the cars normal co driver James Holder - the first time that we can recall Appleby competing in a race weekend for some time!

Despite having to jet set it across much of England and France to be at the circuit in time after some British GT testing aboard the Invictus Games Racing Jaguar GT4, the adrenalin was obviously still pumping as the #144 submitted some good lap times to Qualify 13th for the first race before finishing 7th overall on Saturday.

Issues for George in Qualifying 2 saw him start Sundays race from 15th before being further compounded during the race, and despite some strange racing lines being adopted, a lowly P34 finish (6 laps down) was the best that they could do.

EDF Motorsport returned to the Snetterton round of the Dunlop Britcar Endurance Championship on Saturday, the first race for drivers Mal Sandford and Ben Seyfried since damaging their V8 Vantage GT4 at Oulton Park in an earlier round.

During the mornings 50 minute sprint race, technical issues saw Sandford having to pit the car for another DNF in the Championship but better fortune was to be had in the day when the #10 car finished 7th overall after that two hour race.

Finally, we saw Florida based Automatic Racing be rewarded for hauling their two V8 Vantage GT4's across from one side of the USA to the other for the tenth round of the IMSA Continental Tyre Sportscar Championship from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

After the teams 'hardship' of loosing a car last time out at Road America, it was great to see the #99 car of Kris Wilson and Gary Ferrera take P7 overall after 90 minutes of running on the sun soaked track with the teams #9 car of Brandon Kidd and Rob Ecklin Jnr finishing P14 in the eighteen strong GS class of the thirty six car field.

Photo credits - FFSA / EDF Motorsport / Automatic Racing

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 |