A successful start to their GT Cup Championship campaigns for AMR Vantage GT4 teams

A successful start to their GT Cup Championship campaigns for AMR Vantage GT4 teams


It was great to see the first UK based GT Championship kick off their 2021 season on time this weekend as the GT Cup Championship starting their seven-round season off this weekend from Donington Park with another large, multi-class field.

Where we first thought that we would have three Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4’s competing within that grid, we in fact ended up with four AMR’s after the Deranged Motorsport Team switched to the AMR GT4 platform having been first linked to a Bentley GT3 entry over the winter. Their 2019 Vantage GT4 joined those from Feathers Motorsport and Century Motorsport as well as the 2016 iteration run by the Whitebridge team.


Racing over both Saturday and Sunday, each day would see the Gentleman driver take on a solo 25-minute Sprint race in the morning before using their fastest laps to set the grid for the days fifty-minute pit stop punctuated race for them and their ‘Pro’ drivers.

The #52 Deranged squad of Matt Lewis and Oli Brown were certainly the fastest of the new AMR GT4 on Saturday taking a Class Pole to flag win in the Sprint race before missing out on a potential class win in the later endurance race by getting a 5 second penalty for passing under an earlier Safety Car.


The Feathers AMR of James Guess was equally racy over the weekend as they followed the Deranged car home in P2 in Saturday’s Sprint race as well as claiming a Class win in Sunday’s Sprint race after the retirement of the #52 Deranged car after mechanical issues in Sunday mornings Sprint and subsequent withdrawal from the weekends final race.

The Century Motorsport prepared AMR for David Holloway reacted well to the loss of Adam Hatfield even before the start of the race weekend as he was called away from the circuit, but his slot was soon taken by the team’s ‘resident’ driver coach Bradley Ellis. Holloway and Ellis would come close to securing their first AMR derived podium in GT Cup by finishing just off the podium in P4 in Saturdays endurance race.


Whilst the three new AMR Vantages were racing in the GTH Class, the #72 Whitebridge Motorsport car of Chris Murphy would be competing in the GTB class for older production-based car’s and he would have a good weekend with a podium finish in class both on Saturday and Sunday.

Moving in Sunday’s finale, another Safety Car interrupted race saw the #82 Feathers car of Guess and Darren Turner take another podium for their efforts this weekend by taking a class win with Holloway and Ellis rounding off the podium in P3. Leaving Donington, the #82 Feather car leads the GTH Class Championship by nine points.


The collective seven podium finishes was just icing on the cake after another entertaining weekend of racing that now moves on to Brands Hatch at the start of May.

Photo credits – GT Cup / Feathers / Century
Sunday, April 11, 2021 | Read more...
Northwest AMR finally declare driver line up in WEC GTE Am assault

Northwest AMR finally declare driver line up in WEC GTE Am assault


Better late than never in this current financial climate sees Aston Martin Racing finally confirm the full driver roster for Paul Dalla Lana’s return to the World Endurance with his Prodrive supported AMR Vantage GTE.

With Provisional full season entry list after entry list being released by the WEC ahead of their opening round of the season at the end of April, the #98 Aston remained one of the few cars without a full driver allocation – until today.

Farfus/Dalla Lana/Gunn ELMS 2020

Surprisingly without any of the available AMR factory allocation of drivers being utilised sees Dalla Lana again hook up with friend Augusto Farfus for a full WEC assault in the GTE Am Class having raced with him in the European Le Mans Series last season.

They in turn join forces with another name new to the AMR marque with Marcos Gomes joining his countryman (Farfus) and the Canadian businessman. With the AMR factory team also taking a back step from topflight GTE racing this season, the #98 will also now race under the Northwest AMR title.

Gomes

Paul Dalla Lana said: “I’ve had great success with Aston Martin Racing over the past nine years and winning the title in 2017 in Bahrain was undoubtedly the highlight. However, I still have unfinished business at Le Mans and I believe we now have the best package of car, team and drivers to emulate 2017 and to secure our first Le Mans title.”

This car of course joins the two TF Sport entered Vantage GTE cars in the highly competitive racing area of GTE Am that this season features the largest category of all in the Championship with thirteen Am class entries due to attend.


Having already been delayed from the intended season opener at Portimao at the end of March, the WEC will formally get underway at their Prologue Test at Spa Francorchamps in two weeks’ time and ahead of the opening round at the Belgium circuit just three days later.

Whilst that is all good news – the ongoing exclusion of paying fans obviously isn’t.

Photo credits – AMR
Friday, April 09, 2021 | Read more...
GT Cup Championship opens their season at Donington at the weekend

GT Cup Championship opens their season at Donington at the weekend

 


With GT racing now underway in many regions around the world now, the GT Cup Championship kick starts the UK’s 2021 motor racing campaign with their opening event of the season from Donington Park this weekend.

Always an entertaining arena for multi-class GT racing in the UK, the Championship has always been a stepping-stone between club racing to those at the higher end of the spectrum – like with what we learned of Newbridge Motorsport with Matt Topham and Darren Turner progressing up to the British GT Championship today.


Amongst the impressive thirty-eight car entry for this weekend four opening races will now feature four Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4’s – two being the older normally aspirated engine cars whilst two will be the newer 2019 specification, turbo charged model.

Long standing AMR runner and former GTH Class Champion, Chris Murphy again returns to the Championship as a solo driver with his older model of AMR GT4 competing in the GTB class along with the Deranged Motorsport squad of Matthew Lewis/Ollie Brown running their car in the GTH Class.


Joining these two entries will be the two new turbo charged AMR Vantage GT4’s from both Feathers Motorsport and Century Motorsport and their crews of James Guess with Darren Turner and David Holloway with former GTH Champion Adam Hatfield.

This won’t be the first time the latest AMR GT4 has competed in the Championship after Holloway ran an Optimum Motorsport prepared car at the Snetterton round in 2019 with the intention of running a full season entry in 2020 before COVID took care of that before Newbridge ran their new Vantage in selected rounds last season. Today we have had the first glimpses of the #15 Century Aston.



Hopefully, it will be better luck for all concerned this season.

Photo credits - Teams social media
Wednesday, April 07, 2021 | Read more...
Newbridge Motorsport shape up for British GT GT4 Pro-Am effort with AMR factory driver

Newbridge Motorsport shape up for British GT GT4 Pro-Am effort with AMR factory driver

 


Today sees the Newbridge Motorsport team confirm a full season return to the British GT Championship for their successful GT Cup racer Matt Topham, who shall this time be joined in the team’s Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 by none other than AMR factory driver Darren Turner.

Having competed in ad-hoc rounds the GT Cup Championship last season alongside Alex Toth-Jones with some class success in their AMR GT4, today sees the 31 year old and the Milton Keynes based team both step up to the Pro-Am Class of the British GT Championship for the first time alongside the extremely experienced and longest serving AMR factory driver in support.


2021 will indeed by another busy year for Turner as he will also be co-driving with another AMR Vantage GT4 Customer team in the GT Cup Championship that starts only next weekend.

“We know British GT is very competitive, but the success Newbridge and I achieved last season has given me a lot of confidence ahead of my debut,” said Topham. “Racing with an AMR driver who was part of the Vantage’s original development team will be a huge bonus. Darren also knows how to win a championship and has a lot of experience working within a Pro-Am environment. And that will be invaluable because we expect GT4 to feature many more Pro-Am entries this year.”


Turner added: “I’m really pleased to be back in British GT, joining Matt and Newbridge Motorsport. This championship is always competitive and I have no doubt that the 2021 season will be another absolute cracker. AMR is placing even more emphasis on its customer racing programmes this year and I will do my utmost to help Matt and the team achieve their goals. I really can’t wait to get started and enjoy my first season in the Vantage GT4.”

This announcement still only brings up the Aston Martin Racing based team head count up to two cars with the long since announced Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3 entry for Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam. Whilst we already know about there be no full season programme this season in the Championship for the likes of TF Sport, we are still hopeful of at least another part time entry later this year.


The British GT Championship now starts at Brands Hatch on the 23rd May.

Photo credits – Newbridge / AMR / GT Cup
Wednesday, April 07, 2021 | Read more...
Early success for AMR runners in opening races of FFSA GT4 Series at the weekend

Early success for AMR runners in opening races of FFSA GT4 Series at the weekend


An emphatic statement of intent came from the AGS Events Racing Team at the weekend as they and two other Aston Martin Racing Customer teams battled out the opening races of the 2021 FFSA GT4 Series from Nogaro in southern France.

With six AMR Vantage GT4’s (four from AGS Events Racing and one apiece from both Mirage Racing and JSB Competition) making up part of the thirty-four car entry into each of Sunday and Monday’s one hour races, the SRO sanctioned series again produced two exceptional races around the technically demanding but open Nogaro circuit.


Sunday’s opener proved to be the most productive of the two races with three of the six Aston’s claiming a podium position with the #89 AGS car of Nicolas Gomar/Mike Parisy claiming the highest honours in Pro-Am with their P3 finish in class whilst both the team’s sister #007 and #161 cars of Valentin Hasse-Clot/Romain Leroux and Christophe Carriere/Didier Dumaine claimed P2 apiece in their Silver Cup and Am Classes respectively.

The remaining car from AGS Events, the #79 Am entry of Lauris Nauroy/Stephane Desbrosse only just finished off the podium in P4 in Am whilst the two new AMR runners from Mirage Racing and JSB Competition got valuable track time in to finish P10 and P12 in Pro-Am respectively in only their first race with their new AMR machinery.


Mondays second race of the weekend was equally dramatic but unfortunately included the first AMR DNF of the season as the #89 AGS car hit the barrier and deranged its steering early on but that disappointment was countered by the first class win for the #007 Silver Cup car (which also finished P2 overall as well) as well as another podium (P3 this time) for the #161 Am car.


The series now moves onto the second round from the Magny-Cours circuit in four weeks’ time.

Photo credits – FFSA / Teams
Tuesday, April 06, 2021 | Read more...
AMR success at The Mountain in GT World Challenge Australia

AMR success at The Mountain in GT World Challenge Australia

 


This weekend’s second round of the GT World Challenge Australia from Bathurst continued Tony Quinn’s opening form from the first-round last month with a pair of Class wins aboard his new Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 to take the overall lead in his class.

Joining him at The Mountain was the Mike Bailey AMR V12 Vantage GT3 that this time sported an equally colourful livery after its lengthy rebuild after the car’s sizeable impact with the tyre wall in the opening race of the first round at Phillip Island last month.


Whilst Quinn was able to take on the infamous 3.8mile public road circuit with confidence during Free Practice, Bailey kept things a little more reserved wanting to see out the full event at his first attendance at the circuit in his Vantage again in the presence of some sizable Aussie driving talent.

With race one yesterday, Quinn started fifth on grid (first in class) in the field of just seventeen runners whilst Bailey started further back in P12 as the Safety Car again set the clock in motion at the start of the warmup lap. Surprisingly and considering the Pro-Am nature of the grid, the race was to run its hour-long distance cleanly with no incident or accident out on track and considering the speed at which all were pushing the envelope – that was only a good thing!.


Quinn pushed former one time Bathurst V12 Vantage GT3 racer Tony Bates hard in his Audi in the opening laps with the two ‘senior in years’ drivers distinctly able to keep up with one another over the top. Bailey, meanwhile let the pack go through turn one on the opening lap unchallenged as he elected to take this steady this time with the thought of the solid concrete walls being able to cause more damage than a tyre wall!

As both Astons were with solo drivers again, both had to stop still in the allocated window but nothing more was required as both cars emerged in P7 overall – P1 in class for Quinn and P13 overall and P6 in class for Bailey by the end of the stop sequence.


With the Pro-Am entries now having their professional drivers aboard, it was unsurprising to see track position of both Aston drop as the laps counted down to end with Quinn securing another comfortable class win with Bailey a lap further back in P6 in class.


Sunday’s second race was nice an early as the GT3/GT4 series gave way to the headlining 6Hrs of Bathurst saloon car race later in the day. Again, Quinn would start form class pole in P7 whilst Bailey started from a familiar P12/P5 position.

Going into turn 1 on lap one three wide probably wasn’t a good idea in reflection for Quinn but he got away with it whilst Bailey again elected to see out the long game as a better option than another early race exit.

This time the pro drivers were in the cars ahead and they disappeared into the distance as Quinn battled things out for his class rivals in the #51 Lamborghini which was to be the case all the way through to his stop at the halfway mark.


As Quinn enjoyed a two-horse battle ahead, Bailey was in the depths of a four-horse battle for P12 overall with the #9 Am Class Audi ahead before a bullish move saw Bailey get past for track position only.

Having just served their stops, an error from another of Quinn’s class rivals saw his car nudge the wall and lose a wheel in the Dipper bringing out the Safety Car for the first time that weekend. Fortunately, only seven minutes were lost to that incident and that left a thirteen-minute dash to the flag for the remaining runners.

A late pass for Quinn took him up to P6 overall for another class win at Bathurst whilst Bailey had his best result of the season so far with a P9 overall finish – just off his Trophy Class podium in P4.


With points now on the board for Bailey and a clear class lead for Quinn in Am, the Series now takes another short break before the third round at The Bend Motorsport Park at the beginning of May.

Photo credits – GTWCA / Daniel Kalisz
Sunday, April 04, 2021 | Read more...
This week

This week


 
This weekend we welcome the opening salvos of a European racing season as the French FFSA GT4 Series is first to get under way from Nogaro in south-western France with a gaggle of six Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4’s hitting the circuit from three different teams.





AGS Events Racing come back to their national series with another quartet of cars whilst JSB Competition and Mirage Racing each step up to the very much in vogue AMR GT4 for the first time.


Today’s set up day has seen liveries finalised and family photos being taken for what will be another intense series.


Down under we have the second round of the GT World Challenge Australia Series from the infamous Mount Panorama circuit at Bathurst.

The two AMR Vantage GT3 cars old and new from both Tony Quinn and Mike Bailey again grace the mixed class grid with the attending crowd having the benefit of seeing and hearing both the new V8 turbo and older V12 iterations of AMR GT3.


Free Practice has gone well so far for both cars with Quinn showing himself as particular speedy whilst Bailey is obviously savouring the moment of Bathurst after having had it all go wrong for him first time out at Phillip Island last month. His re-bodied and re-liveried Vantage GT3 will certainly grab the attention of everyone on and off track.

Across in North America we have also had a number of the GT4 America and GT America crews test at the Circuit of the Americas ahead of their next round there in a months time. 


Finally, and in the week that should have seen the World Endurance Championship Prologue from Portimao has the ACO confirm today the inclusion of the Garage 59 team amongst their Le Mans 24hr reserve list of just four cars. Third on the list for the initially named Alex West still looks like a hopeful possibility as the world still struggles with COVID related travel difficulties. 


Should they be successful in getting the nod, they would be joining the three full season WEC AMR entries from both AMR and TF Sport as well as the additional LM24 entry from TF Sport for their ELMS AMR GTE crew.

This is where 2021 suddenly gets extremely busy but whatever happens - cars look great - lets go racing!!
Friday, April 02, 2021 | Read more...
Five become six (maybe more) AMR Vantage GT4's (so far) confirmed so far ahead of GT4 European Series opener (UPDATED)

Five become six (maybe more) AMR Vantage GT4's (so far) confirmed so far ahead of GT4 European Series opener (UPDATED)

 


The GT4 European Series today finally confirmed their expected full season entry list today ahead of a six round season that starts at Monza in just two week’s time.

Initially hoping to match or even out strip their sister FFSA GT4 Series, the European Series today confirms five Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 runners from two familiar teams, although the list did omit all the driver’s names.


The AGS Events Racing Team again take the bull by the horns with another four-car entry (to match their commitments to their national FFSA GT4 Series) with only two crews being so far identified by the team.


Cesar Gazeau and Konstantin Lachenauer were the first two young guns identified by the team as moving up to GT4 racing for the first time and they will be joined by the pairing of Akhil Rabindra and Hugo Conde. Rabindra stays with the team but swaps back to the European Series having battled hard in the FFSA Series last season without success. Conde steps up from the FFSA Sprint Cup where he finished fourth in his Rookie year last season.

That obviously leaves two AGS Events cars with unidentified driver crews and class.


Joining these guys and returning to the series after a year’s sabbatical due to COVID is the Belgium based Street Art Racing who come back with a single car for their 2019 GT4 Am Champion Pascal Bachmann and a GT4 debuting Belgium racer Paul Theysgens. An inexperienced driver with Bachmann is no problem for the team of course after he guided an equally inexperienced GT driver Clement Seyler to the title.


This list misses out a number of other cars expected to be entered – particularly from the Swiss based R-Motorsport team after two late season entries last year but news elsewhere suggests that the team will also be sitting out 2021 as well.


With two weeks still remaining before the season start, only time will tell if any further entries will be accepted on a race-by-race basis.


UPDATE

Today saw French team Mirage Racing also confirm that on top of their already stated racing commitments within their national FFSA GT4 Series that they have now also placed an entry into the larger GT4 European Series with their AMR Vantage GT4.

One half of their Pro-Am FFSA GT4 crew Ruben del Sarte will be joined in their GT4 European Series endeavours by 2019 British GT GT4 Champion and AMR Drivers Academy winner Tom Canning. 

Not only this, but we also understand that todays announcement will not be the last from an Aston Martin Racing Customer/Partner team into the European Series pushing AMR car headcount to that of the FFSA GT4 Series.

Photo credits – GT4 European Series
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 | Read more...
AMR Vantage GT3's old and new to take on The Mountain at Bathurst this weekend

AMR Vantage GT3's old and new to take on The Mountain at Bathurst this weekend

 


Never mind the return of a certain individual to the next round of the new GT World Challenge Australia Series this weekend, we want to welcome back the mighty Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3 of Mike Bailey after their long hard slog in getting their #38 car ready again for racing.

Just over two weeks ago, Bailey entered his Red Bull liveried AMR Vantage GT3 into the first round of the rebadged GTWCA Trophy Series from Phillip Island only to badly damage it in avoidance during the opening laps of the opening race that weekend.


Two full weeks of repairs and late pick ups of valuable parts flown in from Europe later and Bailey says his car is now ready to face its latest challenges in the Series this weekend as they visit the toughest circuit that Australia can offer at Bathurst.

Suffering from wholesale damages to the exterior of the car after its dramatic meeting with the tyre wall, the chassis thankfully remained straight but whilst some bodywork panels could be repaired, others had to be flown in from Europe. That has obviously put paid to the cars former Red Bull livery enjoyed at Phillip Island to something new and as yet not revealed. Bailey has put the cars new livery design into that of an “Art Car”.


That aside and Bailey’s AMR is again joined by the Tony Quinn turbo charged #7 AMR Vantage GT3 who races within the main Series’ AM Class.

Two class podium finishes from Quinn at the opening two races of the series at Phillip Island has him share the Class lead with the #91 Audi as the multi-class grid looks forward to two one-hour sprint races over The Mountain.


Both races are due to be shown live on the SRO’s YouTube channel for international viewers.

Photo credits – GTWCA / Bailey
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 | Read more...
Six Astons go to Nogaro in FFSA GT4

Six Astons go to Nogaro in FFSA GT4

 


Best get brushed up on your French racing commentary as six Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4’s finally got confirmed today ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the FFSA GT4 Series from Nogaro that will feature over thirty cars.

AGS Events Racing were of course the first to confirm an extended series entry of four full season entries with driver crews spread across the three available classes. Team boss, Nicolas Gomar again pairs up with Mike Parisy for another assault on the Pro-Am class whilst Valentin Hasse-Clot has his first full season silver Cup entry with new driver Romain Leroux.


Then the team will field two AMR’s into the Am Class – one for a returning pair of Didier Dumaine and Christophe Carriere and another for Lauris Nauroy and Stephane Desbrosse who finally get their chance to race together in a Aston.

Since these announcements back at the end of February we have since had both Mirage Racing and JSB Competition confirm a single Pro-Am entry each for Ruben Del Sarte/Yves Lemaitre and Julien Briche/Jean-Laurent Navarro respectively.


Like most SRO sanction GT4 series, the weekend format will take on two – one hour races over the Easter bank holiday weekend with both races streamed live (with French commentary) via the series social media channels. Like the lack of current photographs also suggest - we still have a few liveries to be unveiled too.

Can’t wait!!.

 

 

Monday, March 29, 2021 | Read more...