Solaris continue testing to be ready for GT Open at Silverstone

Solaris continue testing to be ready for GT Open at Silverstone

Italian Partner Team, Solaris Motorsport today completed a two day extended test at their nearby Adria International Raceway circuit as they continue to prepare themselves for the Silverstone round of the International GT Open Series later in September.

Having suffered a catastrophic accident at the Paul Ricard Winter Test that wrote off their V12 Vantage GT3 back in March, the Francesco Sini / Mauro Calamia driven #007 car has always been on 'the back foot' with various set up/balance issues during the opening rounds of the series.

Such were the extent of their issues that in June the team decided to miss the Hungaroring round of the series in early July in order to make use of the extended break period between rounds for some extensive testing.

Speaking with the team earlier this evening, they already feel that this two day test has left them in a 'better place' after working through a rigorous programme of set up options as well as testing new components.

They have also indicated that they expect to test again sometime in August at a venue to be confirmed in England prior to racing at Silverstone on the 2nd and 3rd September.

Photo credits - Solaris
Friday, July 21, 2017 |
Stanaway claims Nordschleife record

Stanaway claims Nordschleife record

Aston Martin Racing driver Richie Stanaway claimed the fastest lap record for a four door car around the infamous Nordschleife circuit in Germany today.

Not just any old car though as this was a Prodrive built Subaru WRX STI Type RA NBR Special!

This two and a half litre, turbo charged, 600HP rocket secured a record breaking time of 6:57:50 seconds around the 12.8 mile Green Hell with Stanaway behind the wheel.

Photo credits - Subaru USA / Prodrive
Friday, July 21, 2017 |
Opening statements in the GTE class at the Red Bull Ring

Opening statements in the GTE class at the Red Bull Ring

Todays opening gambits from the GTE class give early pointers to a close race in Sunday's third round of the European Le Mans Series over in Austria at the Red Bull Ring.

With the track action today including the Bronze Driver test this morning before the first of two Free Practice session this afternoon the six car GTE grid were spread by little over 0.5 seconds with the #90 TF Sport V8 Vantage GTE of Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Nicki Thiim being the highest placed AMR in P2 whilst the #99 Beechdean AMR car of Andrew Howard, Ross Gunn and Darren Turner finished that session in P6.

Tomorrow morning shall see the ELMS field return to the track for their second and final Free Practice sessions ahead of class Qualifying in the afternoon. As long as the warm track temperatures remain and any further thunderstorms remain at bay we should expect to see the leading lap time of the #77 Proton Competition Porsche (1:29:728) fall somewhat during the course of tomorrow.

Photo credits - TF Sport / ELMS
Friday, July 21, 2017 |
TRG AMR return to IMSA Wethertech at Lime Rock

TRG AMR return to IMSA Wethertech at Lime Rock

Its great to see the return of The Racer Group return to the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship (as another one off entry again) this weekend as the California based team dust down their V12 Vantage GTD for their first competitive entry into their national headline sportscar series this year.

Drivers Brandon Davis and James Davison are certainly no strangers to either the car nor the team having already raced the blue #007 in both previous years of the IMSA series as well as this year in the Pirelli World Challenge.

This crew will join at the event the TRG's full season IMSA Continental Tyre Sportscar Challenge V8 Vantage GT4 entry of Kris Wilson and Craig Lyons, a crew who presently lie mid table in the GS class after a mixed bag of results so far this season.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 |
Beechdean AMR looking to improve ELMS standing at Red Bull Ring

Beechdean AMR looking to improve ELMS standing at Red Bull Ring

Reigning European Le Mans Series GTE Champions Beechdean Aston Martin Racing (AMR), will travel to South East Austria this weekend to resume the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) after a nine week summer break.

The Red Bull Ring is a 4.326 km circuit, nestled in the beautiful hills of the Styria Mountains near Spielberg and offers spectators great viewing opportunities. The Red Bull Ring features three long straights allowing drivers to slipstream their rivals and attempt an overtake into turns one, two and three.

The gap in the ELMS season is scheduled in order to accommodate the Le Mans 24 Hour race but it has also allowed the competing ELMS teams time to reflect on the first two races and make plans and preparations for the remainder of the season. Beechdean AMR drivers Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn, head to the Red Bull Ring third in the championship standings, a mere 5 points from second. A good points haul this weekend will keep them in the championship hunt.

Beechdean AMR team owner and driver Howard, fresh from his 4th place finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans commented, “It will be great to be back in the car at such an iconic circuit. Red Bull Ring is a low degradation circuit that allows the drivers to concentrate on improving lap times. We will be able to get the hammer down for the entire stint.”

Gunn, who is also raced the #99 Beechdean Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE car to 4that Le Mans, will race at the Red Bull Ring for the first time. He said “I am extremely excited to be back in the car for the 3rd round of ELMS at the Red Bull Ring. After plenty of track time at Le Mans, I feel very comfortable with the car now. Together with Andrew and Darren we are looking to have a clean race as on such a short lap, accidents can happen with the prototypes.”

“It has been a long break since Monza so it's great that the ELMS season is back underway this weekend at the Red Bull Ring.” stated Aston Martin Racing Veteran Turner, who famously won the GTE Pro class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “The Beechdean AMR team had a very strong run at Le Mans so our job is to keep that momentum going and get back on the podium this weekend.”

Beechdean AMR are looking forward to an action packed weekend and are hopeful that the Red Bull Ring will throw up an exciting race as well as a good team result.

Source material - BeechdeanAMR
Wednesday, July 19, 2017 |
TF Sport ready for the Red Bull Ring

TF Sport ready for the Red Bull Ring

Round three of the European Le Mans Series takes place this coming weekend (21-23 July) at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

With victory at Silverstone followed by the runner-up position at Monza, TF Sport lead the LMGTE Teams’ classification with 44 points, nine clear of its nearest rival and therefore head to Spielberg with Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey and Nicki Thiim confident of a good result.

The team also took advantage of a test day last Thursday at Spa Francorchamps to put some additional miles on the #90 Aston Martin Vantage V8 and to focus on driver development with Yoluc and Hankey, reporting that the test was a success and good preparation for the forthcoming events.

Tom Ferrier, TF Sport Director

“As ever, the aim is to ensure we are still leading the championship on Sunday evening. We have shown great pace and have had great results, so we hope for more of the same this weekend. I’m sure the competition will be strong, so a clean race weekend is the aim, plus as many points as we can possibly secure.”

Euan Hankey

“The Spa test was good as it was nice to drive the car again post Le Mans. I’m looking forward to Red Bull Ring as it feels such a long time since Monza. The circuit is relatively short so it should make the competition pretty close. Hopefully we can score some good points and continue our campaign for ELMS championship.”

Salih Yoluc

"As at every single race, we are going there to win. I like the Red Bull Ring and enjoyed my races there last year, so hopefully we will get the good result to stretch the championship lead. Our Spa test was good in terms of our speed and seat time so we want to take that momentum into the race."

Source material - TF Sport
Photo credits - Adrenal Media / Jacob Ebrey
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 |
Oman Racing looking forward to the 24H from Spa

Oman Racing looking forward to the 24H from Spa

With just under a fortnight to go until the biggest race of the Blancpain Endurance Cup season, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Ahmad Al Harthy says the Oman Racing team is more than ready for the category’s blue riband event than ever.

During the recent official pre-event test day at the Belgian Grand Prix venue, where the squad produced a strong showing with the No.97 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, Al Harthy and regular team-mate Jonny Adam were joined by third driver Salih Yoluc, who raced with the squad during the previous round at Paul Ricard in France, and team newcomer Euan Hankey.

British driver Hankey, who joins the expanded four driver line-up for the twice-round-the-clock challenge on 29th/30th July, fitted in seamlessly on his debut in Oman Racing colours. Hankey ordinarily competes with Yoluc in both the European Le Mans Series and FIA World Endurance Championship with TF Sport, the engineering strength behind Oman Racing.

Focusing on car set-up for the intense and uniquely demanding 24 Hour race, the test went well for the TF Sport team ending the morning seventh in Pro-Am and fifth in the afternoon.

With more than 60 cars taking to the track for the five-hour test, and with glorious conditions greeting competitors, Al Harthy and his team-mates worked through their full planned programme and are now relishing the return to Belgium at the end of the month for the big race itself.

“Everything went as planned for the test day at Spa, we worked through changes to the car to get the most out of it for all four drivers – in the end we were all very happy”, said Al Harthy, “It’s great welcoming Euan [Hankey] to the team for the 24 Hours, he’s a very quick and professional driver and has fitted in perfectly. There’s a great atmosphere and we’re all so focused for the race.

“All of the guys in the team are looking forward so much to the 24 Hour, it’s a challenge like no other in Blancpain but one we’re all ready for. It’s been an incredible season so far, hopefully we can keep the momentum going at Spa and keep our championship bid on track.”

So far in 2017, Oman Racing has enjoyed a sensational campaign in the Blancpain Endurance Cup with Pro-Am victory in the season-opening event at Monza in Italy followed by second place in class at Silverstone in the UK and, last time out, second position again in the Paul Ricard six hour.

Ahead of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Al Harthy and full-season team-mate Adam have an eight point lead at the top of the Pro-Am driver standings with Oman Racing eight points clear in the team battle too. Additionally, of course, Al Harthy scorched to a pair of history making victories at Le Mans last month during the Michelin Le Mans Cup support races, taking a double win in the GT3 class.

Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am Driver Standings (after Rd3):
1st Ahmad Al Harthy/Jonny Adam, 68pts
2nd Adrian Amstutz/Martin Kodric/Patrick Kujala, 60pts
3rd Jules Gounon/Jean-Luc Beaubelique/Nico Bastian, 45pts

Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am Team Standings (after Rd3):
1st Oman Racing, 68pts
2nd Barwell Motorsport, 60pts
3rd AKKA ASP, 45pts

Source material - Oman Racing / TF Sport
Monday, July 17, 2017 |
European Le Mans Series resumes at Red Bull Ring

European Le Mans Series resumes at Red Bull Ring

After nearly an eight week break, the 2017 European Le Mans Series resumes for Round three this weekend from the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

Full season entries from Beechdean AMR and TF Sport again feature (quite prominently we hope) within the six car entry alongside three Ferrari 488's and a single Porsche 911 RSR that make up the GTE class entry, one entry down to last time out in Monza.

Of course, both the #99 Beechdean AMR and the #90 TF Sport participated within the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June where the cars finished fourth and seventh respectively but without their usual Pro drivers - a great achievement by all.

Both Aston Martin Racing supported entries are listed as having their usual driver line ups with Andrew Howard, Ross Gunn being reunited with AMR works driver Darren Turner whilst Salih Yoluc, Euan Hankey again team up with fellow AMR works driver Nicki Thiim after the factory's WEC exploits in Germany last weekend.

Whilst we believe that the #99 car has been dormant since Le Mans we know that both Yoluc and Hankey tested their #90 car at Spa Francorchamps last week with both cars having undergone an extensive rebuild after Le Mans. Yoluc also took part in the 1000Km Blancpain GT race from Paul Ricard after Le Mans with Ahmad Al Harthy and Jonny Adam in their TF Sport entered V12 Vantage GT3 whilst Howard has raced in a Britcar event from Silverstone in one of his GT4 Vantages.

TF Sport continue to lead the GTE class going into Round three by virtue of a race win and a second in the opening rounds whereas Beechdean AMR lay third after a brace of third's from Silverstone and Monza. JMW Motorsport split the Astons with what will be their first event in the ELMS with their new 488 having raced their old 458 up until Le Mans. Unlike the WEC entries at Le Mans, no points were scored for those registered in the ELMS championship.

This weekend's timetable shall see the ELMS runners out for their first Free Practice session this Friday with another on Saturday morning before Qualifying in the afternoon.

The start of Sunday's four hour race will be at 13.00hrs local.

Monday, July 17, 2017 |
Nurburgring WEC - Turner's viewpoint

Nurburgring WEC - Turner's viewpoint

The Le Mans winning Aston Martin Racing squad of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra, finished Round 4 of the FIA World Endurance Championship in seventh place at Germany’s Nürburgring on Sunday.

The #97 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE is the only car in the GTE Pro class running with a three-driver crew post-Le Mans after it was decided that the all-conquering team should stay together for the remainder of the season.

As Darren was behind the wheel for qualifying at Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans, it was Daniel Serra and Jonny Adam’s job to qualify the Aston Martin in Germany. Unfortunately they had to settle for eighth place in a closely contested session, struggling with the balance of the Aston Martin.

Jonny Adam took the start of the six-hour race on Sunday before handing the #97 over to Turner.

“The conditions at the start were a bit tricky as it had rained before the race so the track was a bit cold and slippery,” explained Turner. “Jonny managed to have a good run though and made up a position when one of the Ferraris ran into trouble.

“I jumped in after that,” he continued. “Our goal was to stay on the lead lap and see how the race would shake out. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to get a result on performance but hopefully by other people having issues so we just needed to focus on staying in the game. The way the tyre strategy works in the WEC you never know who is on old tyres, new tyres or a mixed set so everyone’s performance ebbs and flows throughout the race.”

During Serra’s run he had a good scrap with the Fords, which backed them up and gave the sister #95 Aston Martin a bit of breathing space that helped them to stay ahead of the Fords and take fourth place at the end.

“It was a team effort to maximise manufacturer points,” said Turner. “That’s how this championship goes though. We came here off a massive high from Le Mans where we were super competitive and this weekend we have struggled to get close to the others. We need to get our heads down now and focus on what we can do in Mexico.”

The 6 Hours of Mexico takes place on 3 September.
Monday, July 17, 2017 |