And into the desert of Bahrain looking for more GTE success

And into the desert of Bahrain looking for more GTE success

The conclusion of next weekends fourth round of the 2019-20 World Endurance Championship from Bahrain will mark the final race of 2019 and the halfway point of the Championships first full winter season of running as all four Aston Martin Racing runners look to consolidate their championship position as they head into their short winter New Year break.

Ahead of that of course is the small matter of an incredible eight hours of racing around the 3.4 mile Hermann Tilke designed circuit for the 31 car provisional entry for this event. So far the Championship has just faced four hours of racing at Silverstone, six hours at Fuji before another four hours in Shanghai so obviously, Bahrain marks a larger demand on both man and machine so what has been required so far this season.

Last time out in Shanghai gave us a near 'full house' of podium finishes for the two GTE Pro and GTE Am cars of Aston Martin Racing and TF Sport - unfortunately a puncture for the #95 Pro car of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim swallowed up their then convincing race lead and then some to rob them of a probable class win. The sister #97 Pro car of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn benefitted from a post race exclusion from the class winning Ferrari to ultimately claim the third step in that class whilst in GTE Am, that class was dominated by the #90 TF Sport V8 Vantage GTE of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam.

Starting from fourth on the grid, one of his best ever opening double stints from Yoluc (earning himself great acclaim in the process) as well as a faultless run in to the flag from both Eastwood and Adam and despite a last gasp splash and dash just before the end was enough for the #90 crew to claim their second, consecutive win of the season to come away from China with the GTE Am Championship lead.

Their performance in China was only marginally better than that of the #98 Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn car which was quickly consigned to the distant rear of the pack on the opening lap when Dalla Lana was spun around at turn 1 on lap 1 by a errant competitor. A progressive battle to first catch the pack and then pass their class rivals to finish P3 by the end of the four hours of racing was nothing short of miraculous and their resulting podium very well deserved.

After the results of their opening three rounds, we have the #90 TF Sport car leading GTE Am with the #98 AMR prepared car 24.5 points behind in P4 whilst in GTE Pro the two AMR cars presently rest in P3 (#95) and P4 (#97) but just 17 points behind the class leading Porsche crew.

All of that is obviously history as eight hours around a desert race track and into the night is a totally different perspective from what has been faced so far, not least because of the further technical restriction placed on both the GTE Pro cars and the continued success penalties being applied to the #90 car.

Published just last week, the FIA Endurance Committee has confirmed a minor fuel reduction for both Pro cars (taking their maximum fuel capacity down from 98 litres to 97 litres) whilst a similar reduction has also been applied to both Am class cars taking their maximum capacity down from 95 litres to 94 litres. In addition to that, the #98 car has been levied with the maximum 'success' ballast permissible under the new rule set which will now see that car run with a minimum weight of 1292kg (45kg heavier than its season start homologated weight), 40kg heavier than the #98 AMR entry and also as the heaviest car in the class.

Speaking with team boss Tom Ferrier as he helped one of his British GT customers test at Snetterton last week, he confirmed that tyre degradation and management would again be the key to the race as like Shanghai, the track surface and moving sand across it would soon penalise any over exuberance with the throttle pedal. Then there is of course the increase in drive time for all drivers with only two drivers in Pro, each will effectively be racing their own Silverstone or Shanghai race.

Looking at the weather for Bahrain over the next week, light rain is actually being forecasted until midweek before 'normal' conditions resume as track activity begins on Thursday. The start of the 8Hrs of Bahrain will begin at 15:00Hrs local (GMT + 3hrs).

After this event the FIA WEC will be again conducting their annual "Rookie Driver Test" - none of the AMR cars have so far been listed as conducting any such test but that may change over time?

After Bahrain, we can then start to look forward to the second half of the season with races at CoTA, Sebring, Spa and of course Le Mans!!!

Photo credits - AMR / TF Sport / Adrenal Media

Saturday, December 07, 2019 |
Optimum confirm first name for British GT 2020 return

Optimum confirm first name for British GT 2020 return

Having finished the final race of the 2019 British GT Championship at Donington Park back in September under a cloud of an unfortunate DNF, its great to see Conner O'Brien today announce his intentions to return to the Championship, again with Optimum Motorsport and one of their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4's to see out 'unfinished business' in the GT4 Championship.

Having been partnered with another GT4 debutant in Jack Butel aboard what was then a brand new and unquantified new AMR race car, the young pair of Silver Cup drivers went onto finish P12 in the Silver Cup class having endured a 'difficult' second half of the season in the Championship despite a confidence boosting, podium finishing run out in the GT Open Cup at Silverstone with AMR young gun Charlie Eastwood.

With entries for the 2020 British GT Championship opening at the start of October, we have heard how entry numbers are already approaching the reduced 2020 headcount but todays announcement sees O'Brien join a line up now confirmed in just six other cars so far. The remainder of the entries submitted to the SRO are (as we understand it) simply provisional slots made by the team in the anticipation of further customer interest moving forward before the close of entries early next year.

Commenting on todays news, O'Brien said “I enjoyed last year a great deal and while the start was tricky with the new car, we made great gains as the season progressed. It was superb to have the fantastic support from Aston Martin Racing and the Academy was so helpful. We showed what we could do in qualifying at both Spa and Donington, so we take the year of experience into the coming season with the aim of regular podium finishes.”

Welcoming back the long standing Optimum Motorsport customer for another season with the Wakefield based team, team boss Sahun Goff added “We’re delighted to be returning to the British GT Championship with two GT4s. We have a proven championship winning record in this series and we are now entering our third season as an Aston Martin customer team. It is now a proven winning package; so, we head into the series expecting to be challenging for the title. Connor has developed with us, first in Ginettas and is now making great strides in this championship. I’m sure 2020 will see a strong campaign from him.”

With more driver news clearly still to be confirmed there is still much to look forward to before the opening round of the season at Oulton Park in mid April 2020.
Friday, December 06, 2019 |
AMR Vantage GTD now confirmed for IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship in 2020

AMR Vantage GTD now confirmed for IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship in 2020

There can surely be no better Christmas present to the many Aston Martin Racing fans over in the United States today (as well as the rest of the world in fact) to see a new AMR Vantage GTD (GT3) finally get confirmed with the Florida based Heart of Racing Team to run in next years IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship.

First muted in the mainstream motorsport media only few weeks ago, the team has today formally confirmed their new Race Partner status with the Banbury based team in a deal that also provides them on-site technical assistance as well as 'works' drivers for the 2020 season that starts at the Roar before the 24 in less than four weeks time.

This announcement not only sees the return to the IMSA Championship of the team but also Aston Martin Racing as a fully paid up OEM in the US, the first time since the days of the factory supported TRG-AMR over three years ago and the last visit of an AMR to Daytona since 2017.

Racing under The Heart of Racing banner, the team will be lead by former team racer Ian James and Seattle businessmen Gabe Newell and Yahn Bernier under a continuing arrangement of raising much needed funds for the Seattle Children's Hospital - an organisation that has so far raised over $6 million dollars in charitable contributions.

The team is due to make its public debut with the car and 'freshly announced ' driver line up at the opening test sessions of the Roar before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway on the 3rd January 2020.

“The Heart of Racing program has always been an inspiring environment to be in for everyone involved,” said James. “This is in addition to the very compelling fund-raising element. Gabe and Yahn’s support and vision is incredible and I’m delighted they decided to bring the program back to the IMSA paddock full-time. We have a close-knit crew, awesome full-time drivers to announce, and a great manufacturer partner. All the ingredients are in place.”

David King, President of Aston Martin Racing went further to confirm that "the United States obviously represents a huge market for Aston Martin Racing and as such it is fantastic to see Heart of Racing return to IMSA with one of our Vantage GT3s. The success of the new Vantage in its first year of customer racing means that we will see more exciting programs extend our reach further around the world next year, and we very much expect Heart of Racing to be a key pillar in our overall US motorsport strategy in 2020."

It's certainly a 'good luck' from us!

Source material - Heart of Racing
Photo credit - AMR

Friday, December 06, 2019 |
Picking up the pieces from recent weeks

Picking up the pieces from recent weeks

It was very remiss of us to let our guard down over the last week or so by not giving ourselves time to report upon the plethora of racing and testing activity of many Aston Martin Racing factory and customer enterprises around the world, so here's us just catching up with a few things but not necessarily in particular date order!

A couple of weekends ago we had IMSA present its fifth Historic Sportscar Racing Classic from the Daytona International Speedway with four cars from the Aston Martin Racing stable - two in both the GT3 and GT4 classes competing with some great results coming out of the multi race format that this meeting adopts around the infield and banked circuit of Daytona.

The #27 AMR Vantage GT3 from GT Racing came back with some great results including an overall race win for their drivers Marc and LP Montour whilst Automatic Racing also gained some silverware with a P2 for their team boss David Russell with their IMSA series drivers Ramin Abdolvahabi, and Steve Davison aboard their normally aspirated V8 Vantage GT4.

Davison and Abdolvahabi also raced another of the team's Vantage N24's at the meeting including a double stint for these guys in the Group G Classic 24 3 hour race. For Macro Werner and Oliver Mathai, the event wasn't so productive for them and their #007 AMR Vantage GT3 ("Billie") with only one finish out of their four allotted races.

Last week also saw the Aston Martin Racing factory team take to the race track of Motorland Aragon in northern Spain for some more Michelin tyre testing - again with the Beechdean AMR 'donor' GT3 car converted into GTE form.

Testing over two days it seems that the test went well despite the chilly looking conditions for the teams World Endurance Championship drivers Marco Sorensen and Alex Lynn ahead of the next round of that series in Bahrain next month with a gruelling eight hours of racing to look forward to.

Staying in Spain for a bit, Team Virage again employed the teaching services of Pedro Lamy as they used the talents of the Portuguese driver to coach their inexperienced designate LMP3 driver line up of Freddie Hunt and CO Jones as they seek to step up from GT4 racing to prototypes in the near future.

This is not the first time that the time have used Lamy with him racing with the team at Barcelona in the 24H Series in the early weeks of receiving their new AMR V8 Vantage GT4's from the Prodrive factory.

Then, at the end of last week came the second on-track footage of the new Aston Martin Valkyrie, again from Silverstone and their factory's new proving ground and track in the infield of the Grand Prix circuit where Darren Turner had apparently enjoyed four days of interaction and testing with the new hyper-car in the making.

With torrential rain unfortunately blighting the filmed demonstration runs along the straights, even those few seconds of footage blessed us with the uncharacteristic sound of a normally aspirated V12 being thrashed within an inch of its life.

Thankfully the rain eased to allow Aston Martin to produce this sensational footage available HERE

Regular Aston Martin High Performance Development Driver Chris Goodwin was over in South Africa at the time, racing in the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge with his team Garage 59 and their AMR Vantage GT3. Having endured their unfortunate demise early on in that race, Goodwin did message on social media that "he should have stayed at home to drive the Valkyre!"

Finally moving into this week, yesterday saw TF Sport return to our 'local' at Snetterton for some more GT4 sampling from another pair of young drivers looking forward at moving up another notch or two in the career ladder. Again unfortunately for them, extremes of winter weather at the Norfolk circuit prevented these two from fully demonstrating what they could really do with the teams British GT GT4 winning chassis of Ash Hand and also AMR Academy winner Tom Canning.

Then, because of the bad weather of Thursday the team elected to stay on at the circuit today and make use of the winter clear skies and sunshine as they let Mark Farmer put in a few more laps aboard his #2 AMR Vantage GT3 as he evaluated another return to the British GT Championship.

Happily willing to talk and very openly self critical about his performances in the car and Championship last year, he explained how he had lost confidence in himself even before the season had started after an unfortunate incident in testing and how he had considered walking away from it all mid season. 

With Farmer telling us that he was still about 50/50 about returning for 2020, there were certain enticements on offer for him to do so with a new Pro driver in the offering after his relationship with his last Pro driver deteriorate during his 'difficulties' of last season.

Not even being December yet, team boss Tom Ferrier wouldn't be drawn of any potential line ups in any of his cars for 2020 as his mind was already fully on maintaining the team's new found momentum in the WEC as they prepare to fly out to the final round of 2019 in Bahrain early next month.

Unconfirmed reports in mainstream motorsport media suggest that AMR have secured their first Vantage GT3 (GTD) involvement in next years IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship with the Heart of Racing team based Seattle. We hope that that is true but we will have to wait and see maybe as early as the Roar before the 24 early next year!

Finally catching up with all of these loose ends, today we saw the finale of the Challenge Bathurst for the Pirelli Super-Sprint class around the iconic circuit of Bathurst in Australia.

Nothing special about that except for the fact that this event was the first time a new AMR Vantage GT3 had raced in Australia in the capable hands of Gentleman driver and Aston Martin aficionado Tony Quinn.

Having taken delivery of his GT3 in time for the British GT round at Spa Francorchamps earlier this year, it was originally logged that he would be using his older and normal aspirated V12 Vantage for the event but photos prove that it was indeed his new, or at least another available chassis that he competed with. 

M2 Competition had told us just this week that the car that he raced with Darren Turner at Spa was still with them in Europe!?!?

At the conclusion of this two day invitation only event, Quinn eventually finished P11 out of 26 runners with a time nearly six seconds off Pro driver Ben Barnicoat's record breaking time in the McLaren 720s.  

PS - don't forget to watch Sky F1 this weekend as they screen they production of both Martin and Alex Brundle as they raced an AMR Vantage GT4 around the Nordschleife earlier this year in a VLN Series race.

Photo credits - social media / GT Racing / Team Virage / Go Motorsport Management / Jacob Ebrey

Friday, November 29, 2019 |
Announcing Prodrive Legends

Announcing Prodrive Legends

Not content with still building some of the most competitive, cutting edge motorsport vehicles of today, Prodrive now look to bolster the ever increasing historic racing scene with the creation of their new Legends operation from the Banbury facility to help support those who race their cars from its previous three decades of manufacturing.

"Prodrive is seeing a growing demand for its historic race and rally cars and has launched Prodrive Legends, a new operation that is dedicated to the authentication, restoration and support of these cars.

The creation of Prodrive Legends is a direct response to a significant rise in requests from vehicle owners to verify the provenance and then restore race and rally cars Prodrive has constructed over the last three decades. There are also an increasing number of opportunities to race historic competition cars and a dramatic rise in values, especially for vehicles that have won high-profile events, fuelling the market for historic cars.

Since its formation in 1984, Prodrive has built more than 1,100 race and rally cars, from the first Porsche 911 SC RS to the latest Aston Martin Vantage GT cars. These cars have won titles across a range of motorsport disciplines, from World Rally titles for Subaru with Colin McRae, Richard Burns and Petter Solberg, to world sports car and Le Mans titles with Aston Martin and Ferrari; and British Touring Car Championships with BMW and Ford.

“Many of these cars are now appreciating classics with immense value to their passionate owners,” says Paul Howarth, head of motorsport operations. “With the formation of Prodrive Legends, owners can now bring the cars home to the same company – and even many of the same people – who originally designed and built them and took them to multiple wins.”

The programme, which only covers Prodrive vehicles, includes: a ‘fixed price’ authentication service that will verify whether a chassis is a genuine Prodrive car; factory specification engine rebuilds in Prodrive’s new powertrain centre; and whole-vehicle work from servicing and race preparation to ground-up restorations to the original Prodrive specification.

Over the years, Prodrive has built more than 700 Subaru rally cars, including nearly 100 Impreza and Legacy Group As and 160 Impreza World Rally Cars. In the 1980s the company also built 40 BMW E30 M3s and, more recently, nearly 50 Aston Martin racing cars based on the DB9 and a further 180 on the previous generation Vantage"

The range of historic Aston Martin and Aston Martin Racing cars that can benefit from this new service facility include the DBR9, DBRS9, DBR1-2 prototype, V8 GTE and V12 GT3.

Source material - Prodrive
Wednesday, November 27, 2019 |
AMR runners miss out in rain affected IGTC finale

AMR runners miss out in rain affected IGTC finale

Last weekends final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge from the rejuvenated Kyalami race track in South Africa was very much a breath of fresh air in the world of motorsport with all too many events these days taking place at sterile, more heartless and lack lustre venues.

Obviously, the Kyalami of today differs greatly to that of the seventies when Formula 1 commanded and got the admiration of the world at large that it deserved back then even though there were all too many darkened days amongst them. Last weekends event however, was conducted in more notably enjoyable surroundings as the international racing community finally accepted this iconic name back into its fold with local fans in their thousands coming out to catch up on what they had so far been missing.

Whoever devised the day into night Free Practice and the similar nine hour race format was a stroke of genius as having the best the GT3 racing world could offer, all competing on a track brand new to most together with the unpredictable sub-tropical weather that the southern tip of Africa can come up with made the event what is was despite results not going the way of the Aston Martin Racing runners.

Having already contended with some truly remarkable weather patterns moving in across the circuit during the course of Free Practice and Qualifying, the start of the race on Saturday at least started under clear blue skies and increasing track and cockpit temperatures as the twenty eight starters got under way.

For the #188 Garage 59 Pro-Am entry, the race sadly never really got underway as an uncharacteristic gearbox failure aboard their AMR V8 Vantage GT3 sluiced oil onto the rear wheels of the car, putting starting driver Chris Goodwin into a half spin and through the gravel trap before making heavy contact with a sausage kerb with the front end as he began the recovery process to the pits. That was only his third lap!!

That combination of damage at either end of the car would consign them to the garage for the next two hours of the race - effectively ending their podium bid unless they could later complete 70% of the race winners distance. Co-drivers Alex West and Come Ledogar would have to sit patiently for their turn.

Garage 59's misfortunes meanwhile left the reigns of the AMR brand firmly in the hands of the two R-Motorsport GT3's with them having started from a post Qualifying penalised P12 (#76) and P19 (#62) for their starting drivers of Maxime Martin and Hugo de Sadeleer respectively.

Despite both cars competing in the full Pro class, each car carried a non full Pro driver in the form of World Challenge Europe Silver Cup winner De Sadeleer in the #62 and single seater racer but GT rookie Enaam Ahmed in the other. Their performance on track however far from compromised the cars overall performance as the #62 raised itself as high as P2 overall just after the halfway mark with the #76 hovering around P17.

Just as the light began to fade, incidences began to happen on track and the threat of rain before the end of the race began to hold some real likelihood. A huge tyre blowout on the #108 Bentley threw up the need for another FCY following on from one earlier to recover a stricken Lamborghini from the local trio within the National Cup class in what had been a reasonably clean race so far. By then the Garage 59 crew had already worked their wonder on the #188 car with Goodwin already having completed his 'opening stint' before handing over to Alex West for his first laps in the race.

With the clock counting down to just three hours remaining, the #62 car still looked a menacing threat to the leading Porsches as the grey and blue liveried car circulated just 40 seconds back from the leader in P6 having themselves lost track time for an earlier drive through penalty for track limits.

Then everything got turned upon its heads!!

The #108 Bentley that earlier suffered a massive blowout suffered a more significant dilemma as it nosedived heavily into the tyre wall - another FCY was needed to recover it and repair the barrier damage just as the rain began to fall. Not slowly and progressively like we maybe more used to in Europe but with an off to on effect, quickly swamping the track with rivers of water for it to suddenly stop as quick as it had started.

Twenty five minutes behind the Safety Car later and it wasn't looking good for a restart anytime soon as the rain came and went only to return again as progressively longer and intense downpours. This, together with the poor weather forecast for the remaining two hours proved to be the end of the race for the #188 Garage 59 car as it was returned to the garage - not with any technical issue other than not being able to make up its minimum race time to be able to be classified by the chequered flag. They would finish their IGTC finale some 50 laps + short.

For the best part of the next ninety minutes, the remaining field tried to tippy toe around the 5.45km circuit as the thunder, lightning and rain continued to hammer down around the circuit as rivers of flood water washed over the circuit. At times it appeared impossible to simply drive around the circuit at the slowest of speeds yet alone race at any significant speed.

Collard in the #62 (P9) and Martin in the #76 (P17) were the ones having to keep themselves alert enough not to loose the car off the track from either aquaplaning or collect the car in front as speeds behind the Safety Car fluctuated as an when conditions allowed.

Then, and with just 25 minutes remaining on the clock, Race Control let the pack go with a final dash to the flag for the ten cars that remained on the lead lap as a small break in the weather saw the rain stop and a drier line soon establish itself on track. 

For the remaining two AMR cars, the #62 car would eventually finish highest in P10 overall for the Collard/Kirchhofer/De Sadeleer trio whilst the #76 car would finish P14 but three laps down to the leader following earlier issues.

With neither team in any Championship position at this season finale in South Africa anyway, attention has already turned to the 2020 season of the Intercontinental GT Challenge that starts in little over sixty days at the 12hours of Bathurst in Australia at the end of January.

This is where the new AMR Vantage GT3 finally make its full debut in Australia having missed out on homologation rules at this years event.

Whats there not to like about this series?

Photo credits - Garage 59 / R-Motorsport / IGTC

Monday, November 25, 2019 |
D'Station Racing AMR triumphant in ALMS opener

D'Station Racing AMR triumphant in ALMS opener

Pace, endurance, determination and a little bit of luck were just some of the ingredients that Japanese based team D'Station Racing AMR used to great effect in their inaugural race of the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series to claim their first Series win at the Shanghai International Circuit in China this morning.

Already comfortable with the racing characteristic of their new Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3, the team used the experience and coaching expertise of AMR factory driver Ross Gunn to help the Prodrive assisted team set up their #77 car with the Michelin tyres - something which were new to both the team and co drivers Satoshi Hoshino and Tomonobu Fujii with their AMR's back home.

Already having competed in Shanghai twice in recent months in both the China GT Championship and World Endurance Championship, Gunn qualified the car P3 out of the nine GT car field for this opening round and just quarter of a second back from the then pace setting Ferrari 488.

Todays race was ran in dry, warm conditions although a familiar combination of low cloud cover, haze and smog around the large metropolis of Shanghai did keep visibility down again from what it perhaps should be in this day and age!

With the start of the four hour race beginning with its customary ACO rules rolling start, it really didn't take starting driver Fujii very long at all to dispatch the two Ferrari's ahead to lay an early claim the GT Class lead having completed less than 1/3rd of the opening lap. During the next hour and a bit of his stint, his lead over the chasing #88 JLOC Lamborghini in second would both increase and decrease as the Super GT racer pushed on before letting his tyres then rest slightly over this highly abrasive circuit. The Ferrari's meanwhile were nowhere!

Just after the 70 minute mark, Fujii would pit to hand over to co-driver and team principle Satoshi Hoshino but time would be lost on track within this stop allowing the #88 car to effectively take the lead of the race in class by the time all had pitted at least once.

Having to try and reduce that gap, the stint for Hoshino was something of a lonely affair as he could neither see in front the car that he was chasing nor the car behind, the one he needed to keep away from but despite his years, Hoshino would drive a faultless stint as a large part of it was cut short by the first Full Course Yellow/Safety Car needed to recover the #90 Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 that had become lodged on top of the armco.

Going back to green with a further FCY quickly after the restart shrouded the #77 cars second pit stop for Gunn to get in with about 1hr 45minutes to go and he would be up against a number of other factory works drivers as all looked to press on to claim those coveted points that would ultimately take the winning team to Le Mans.

Out of sequence to one another, it soon became abundantly clear that the other BMW in the race, the #17 Astro Veloce Motorsport car of Jens Klingmann had stealthily assumed the front spot in GT leaving both the #88 Lambo and #77 AMR to chase with just over 16 seconds covering first to third with 90 minutes remaining.

By the time of the final hour of the race, Gunn had caught up to the rear of the #88 car but had to pit for its final stop for fuel and tyres. Whilst the #77 car was in pit lane a third FCY was called for a stranded LMP2 car out on track and only time would tell wether or not those who pitted under full caution would benefit more than those who pitted partly under green like the D'Station car did.

Answering some of that question and just ten minutes later, Gunn caught and passed the #17 car for position - up to P2 in class but still some 15 seconds to make up the leading Lambo! Then came that little strike of luck as the #88 car would be pinged for a pit lance violation at its final stop earlier and that meant that during their compulsory drive through penalty the #77 AMR would assume the lead of the class.

For the final 20 minutes of the race, that class lead would never come under threat again as Gunn would finish 10 seconds ahead of the #88 after their significant improvement in performance from that of Free Practice. For the four Ferrari 488's in the class, none would ever challenge the eventual victors in the class despite their quicker Qualifying time as most simply mirrored each others strategy and even tripped over one another in the process!

A great start for D'Station Racing AMR in China, in racing you just need to limit your mistakes (and they make some) as well as capitalise upon the mistakes and bad luck of others and that is precisely what these guys did today.

The Series next round out of their four round season will be at The Bend in Australia! Not many people have been there, even fewer have raced there so that will be a very interesting race. That race takes place in mid January 2020 - looking forward to that already!!

Photo credits - ALMS / D'Station Racing

Sunday, November 24, 2019 |
Former AMR driver Stanaway retires from motorsport

Former AMR driver Stanaway retires from motorsport

A great shame to read today that former Aston Martin Racing young gun, Richie Stanaway has elected to hang up his race suit and helmet at the end of this year.

Formerly a single seater racer, Kiwi Stanaway became a firm fan favourite and hot lap qualifying expect during his days as an AMR factory driver in the World Endurance Championship as well as in guesting roles for other AMR's customer cars in events such as the European Le Mans Series and British GT.

Last featuring as a full AMR driver in the 2016 season when he shared the sometimes Valero livered #97 V8 Vantage GTE with Fernando Rees and Alex MacDowall (amongst many others during his time with the Prodrive based team) he then went on to return home to compete in the Australian V8 Supercars Series leaving his established and successful GT pathway behind.

We will remember him fondly for his actions at the WEC round at Silverstone in '16 where an engine blowup put his car out of the race only for him to catch one of the many circuit buses that transport fans between the two pit lanes and back to his garage - cool as a cucumber, helmet still on and visor down without saying a word!!

We last saw him when his raced the #96 RoFGO GTE in the ELMS on that same double header weekend at Silverstone in 2016 with Roald Goethe and Stuart Hall when they could have/should have won the race before eventually finishing P4 after a post race penalty was applied for an incident during Stanway's final stint.

His return to V8 racing back home didn't really go to plan with accident and incident blighting his race and championship performances, compounded more recently with personal injury that it is presumably that has lead to this decision.

A post on his Instagram page reads "After wearing a helmet for 23 years, I feel it's time to make this announcement. I never thought my career in motorsport would be so short".

"It's not a decision I take lightly, but it's like that. I have gone further than I ever imagined and I will never be able to thank enough everyone who has been with me. It's time for me to open a new chapter. "

Good luck to this young man in whatever he choses to do after this!

Photo credits - Social media / AMR
Sunday, November 24, 2019 |
First toe in the water for D'Station Racing AMR in ALMS

First toe in the water for D'Station Racing AMR in ALMS

The opening gambits of the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series have already taken place at the Shanghai International Circuit in China yesterday as twenty five LMP2, LPM3 and GT3 cars look to fight for their cause around the 5.4km track at the opening race of the season on Sunday.

Competing with a field of nine GT cars, Japanese based D'Station Racing AMR enter into ACO rules racing for the first time as a team entry (rather than drivers buying into another teams race package) with one of their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 cars for team boss Satoshi Hoshino, team driver Tomonobu Fujii and AMR's Ross Gunn.

Having now had a complete season of racing with AMR's latest GT3 creation in both their national Super Taikyu Series and Super GT Series, D'Station Racing enter into the Asian Le Mans Series as a clear conduit towards an automatic invitation to participate in the 2020 round of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a GTE Am guise which their GT3's can now be easily converted into.

The team arrive in China buoyant from their success in the Super Taikyu Series where both Hoshino and Fujii won the final round of the season at Okayama whilst AMR factory driver Gunn still sports the grin of satisfaction having claimed another podium in the World Endurance Championship when they visited Shanghai just two weeks ago.

One issue the team (bar Gunn of course) will need to get quickly used to are the Michelin spec' tyres of the Series having been used to running their fleet of Vantage GT3's back home on either Pirelli or Yokohama rubber.

With the first of two Free Practice sessions now complete, the #77 D'Station car presently sit in a comfortable mid table position after FP1 on Friday (and at the top of the table in private testing on Thursday), the team will be spending the available time overnight looking for improvements ahead of FP2 and Qualifying on Saturday.

The four hours of Shanghai begin at 09:45hrs Local (GMT +8hrs)

Photo credit - D'Station Racing 
Friday, November 22, 2019 |