Hexis AMR arrives at Silverstone leading the World Championship!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

This weekend, the HEXIS AMR team will arrive at Silverstone leading the FIA GT1 World Championship. The French team's two Aston Martin DB9s have won 50% of the first four races in the championship shared equally between the two driver line-ups. Three weeks ago, Andrea Piccini-Christian Hohenadel came first at the Sachsenring and are leading the drivers ‘standings, while the Abu Dhabi winners, Clivio Piccone-Stef Dusseldorp, are lying fourth. But there's no use turning a blind eye when things are not going well, which is why we‘re also analyzing the team's situation in the Blancpain Endurance Series after no. 4's sixth place in Navarra and the retirement of no. 3.

Tourist Trophy: objective - victory!

Silverstone is a special event on the FIA GT1 World Championship calendar for the team as only 30 kilometers separate the Northampton circuit from the AMR workshops in Banbury. So it's a home race for Aston Martin. As in 2010, this event will carry the prestigious Tourist Trophy name, a race held for the first time in 1905! Last year, HEXIS AMR put on a great performance and the French DB9 scored a double in the qualifying race, as well as second place in the championship round. Without a penalty for having started the engine a fraction too early during a pit stop, HEXIS AMR would have won.

Team manager, Philippe Dumas, makes no bones about his ambitions in the British round of the championship. "It's MY race, by which I mean it's THE race I want to win. We're investing more hope in Clivio and Stef as Andrea and Christian will have to carry thirty kilos ballast after their victory in Germany. We all really want to win at Silverstone and fight for the world championship title. It's obvious that there are many other favourites but we can no longer be considered as outsiders."

Blancpain Endurance Series; Navarra tougher than Monza with Spa next up!

At Monza, the two HEXIS AMR Aston Martin DBRS9s were in a position to fight for the podium - victory even. They did not show the same scintillating form at Navarra. Frédéric Makowiecki, Gilles Vannelet and Henri Moser finished fifth in the GT3 Pro Cup, as at Monza, and sixth overall. They are in fourth place in the championship. Yann Clairay, Pierre-Brice Mena and Julien Rodrigues posted their second retirement, this time because of a defective gearbox.

"In GT3 as in GT1 when I say we're going to have a good weekend, we do, and when I see a difficult one, that too turns out to be the truth," comments Dumas. "In Italy and in Spain we ran into brake problems. At Monza it only led to wear while at Navarra it was a handicap for the driveability of the cars. It's a short track where you have to use first gear a lot of the time. When the car's not braking properly it's difficult to line it up for the corners. We really were in difficulty but that doesn't explain everything. We have problems keeping up with more modern cars, which are more agile and have more advanced driver aid systems. In fact, the quickest GT3 at Navarra was only 1.3s slower than the best GT1 last year on the circuit. Judging by the performance of our lead drivers our setup was competitive. Fred Mako said to me that the car was well balanced, and he drove a perfect lap in qualifying - one-and-a-half-seconds off pole! But it's not all negative given our level and an encouraging sixth place. We were also able to fine-tune a host of small details and improve our refuelling stops, a new area for us endurance debutants!"

Philippe Dumas' and the whole team's thoughts are now turned towards the Spa 24 Hours. HEXIS AMR's first taste of two rounds of the clock racing will take place on 30-31 July. "I'd really love to be able to take part in the test day at Spa on 6th July. We have to work on the aero balance and the brakes if we want to stack all the odds in our favour, so we'll be completely ready to tackle the 24 Hours, our number one objective of the GT3 season!"
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