Out with the old and in with the New (Year)

Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 has certainly been a very successful year for both Aston Martin Racing and its global customer team network, with some new teams stepping onto the podium for the first time and other more established teams clinching a number of international and national championships. All will now be looking to channel this #TeamAMR success into their own programmes for 2017.

Coming up first in 2017 will be the Rolex 24 headline event from the IMSA series where we believe (although not officially confirmed) a GTD (GT3) entry return to the Daytona circuit for the third placed World Endurance Championship GTE Am driver line up of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathas Lauda. That same trio together with additional driver Richie Stanaway finished fourth at this event in 2016 so they will be looking for a similar strong performance to 'spring board' their 2017 WEC efforts.

Also at the Rolex 24 and featuring in the Continental Sports Car Challenge support series on the IMSA package will be a V8 Vantage GT4 entry from The Racer Group (see previous post) for Craig Lyons and Kris Wilson.

Just a week later comes the Bathurst 12hr from Mount Panorama in Australia. We already know from the official entry list that there should be at least four AMR cars at the event - two potential V12 Vantage GT3 cars from Miedecke Stone Racing team with a V8 Vantage GT4 and Vantage GT8 from Swiss based St Gallen's R-Motorsport racing arm as they return to the Mountain with AMR works driver Darren Turner for his first Aussie adventure.

After the official AMR winter test at Portimao, Portugal in mid February the works team will be focussing on the upcoming WEC Prologue at Imola, Italy towards the end of March. Again in the absence of any official confirmation we expect another two car GTE Pro entry with the Young Driver AMR squad defending their Driver and Team Championship wins with certainly one GTE Am entry - rumoured two??!!

Then a few days after that will be the turn of the European Le Mans Series entries, with defending GTE Champions Beechdean AMR being expected to step up yet another level and compete in a 2016 specification car. Also from what has (or indeed hasn't been said) upon social media it appears that team's young hot shot Ross Gunn could be the second third of the trio alongside team boss Andrew Howard but again that is yet to be officially confirmed.

Expected to join them in 2017 will be TF Sport having scooped the team championship in the inaugural GT3 Le Mans Cup Series with Salih Yoloc and Euan Hankey. That championship win guaranteed the team an automatic entry into the 2017 24hrs of Le Mans subject to a full season ACO sanctioned series entry in 2017. Drivers and car specification is again yet to be confirmed.

Then, there is always the highly competitive British GT Championship with another plethora of Aston's expected to enter across the two classes. To date just both of the TF Sport GT3 cars have been confirmed with both Derek Johnston and Jonny Adam returning to defend their GT3 titles along with three seats out of four at MacMillan Racing and their new for '17 GT3 and GT4 entry package.

More on that front will become public knowledge as we get closer to the Championship's Media Day at Snetterton on the 28th March.

That still leaves teams such as Solaris who endured a topsy-turvy season first time out in their V12 Vantage GT3 in the Italian GT Championship but despite that they enjoyed a small handful of podium positions, so with a full season under their belt we expect them to perform stronger.

The same could be said of the Miedecke Stone Racing outfit who claimed their first outright race win at Sydney and had a few more potential podium positions cruelly taken from them in the Australian Endurance Championship. Theres more to be seen from these guys - starting at Bathurst in February!

All will come apparent as the days and weeks into 2017 pass us by. In the meantime we would like to thank you all for your support in 2016 and look forward to what should be a cracking 2017.

Happy New Year.


Photo credits - GT3 LMC / R Motorsport / Daytona / AMR
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