Shanghai delivers for AMR in GTE Am

Monday, November 06, 2017

Bolstered by the double, record creating GTE pole positions of yesterday, Aston Martin Racing completed the 6 hours of Shanghai yesterday back on top and back in the records books for their efforts.

With the GTE Am car of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda being the only car of the trio who could end the 2017 World Endurance Championship season with any chance of a championship title, the #98 delivered maximum points back from the penultimate round to re-establish themselves at the top of the GTE Am Team and Drivers Championship's with just a single round remaining. The race win also notched the 50th GT win for the team under the Aston Martin Racing banner.

It wasn't all clear cut for the #98 car at the start however, as Mathias Lauda was quickly overtaken by former AMR Am driver Francesco Castellacci in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari on the opening lap but that only lasted for about fifteen minutes or so before 'normal service' resumed and a domineering drive was established.

It was always going to be another tough day at the office however for both of the team's GTE Pro cars and despite qualifying on pole Nicki Thiim was soon overtaken by the 'faster in the corners' #92 Porsche and #66 Ford. Overall speed wasn't the issue for either the #95 or #97 - it was just the stopping and the twisty bits that their Dunlop's were to have problems with!

Thankfully, it was just not AMR who were having issues with earlier tyre degradation as could be seen on the TV feed with tyre material strewn all across the race track at every point of high friction. Both AF Corse Ferrari's were also struggling in the opening stint and were at one point be running last in class and that gave hope that the all conquering 488 could indeed be fallible!

As a connoisseur of GT racing we were to be unfortunately robbed of a potential great battle for GTE Am honours as just after the first stops the #54 Spirit of Race was unceremoniously punted off the race track and ultimately out of the race care of a wayward LMP2 That incident would also hobble another GTE Am Championship contender in the #61 Clearwater Ferrari but (for a change) the luck went in the way of the #98 car who capitalised on it to the full to run to the chequered flag, winning by a clear lap to the second placed Gulf Racing Porsche. Just what the doctor ordered!!

For a while it looked like the #95 might to be able to run its own race and hold station in P3 but whilst the #92 and #66  had cleared off ahead the second of the Porsche's and #71 Ferrari had other ideas and both leap frogged the #95 in the first pit stop cycle.

With some very spirited LMP2 battles going on around them, the #97 car with Jonny Adam then at the wheel watched on as a Manor car ahead simply out braked himself at a corner only to find the P2 car burying itself into the rear quarter of the V8 Vantage as he tried (unsuccessfully) to rejoin the track. The apportioned drive through penalty hardly covered the stupidity of the event yet alone the additional loss in time (for spinning) and performance incurred by the #97 for the remainder of the race.

Whilst Shanghai was another difficult race for Aston Martin Racing in GTE Pro, they at least have their eyes set firmly upon the imminent release of the new for 2018 GTE car along with some further testing announced for Sebring this week for both the Pro drivers and indeed the Am crew as they consider their options for 2018.

For GTE Am, the race continues into the final event of the WEC calendar at Bahrain in two weeks time and with a ten point lead over the now second placed Dempsey Proton crew, prospects now at least look better than they did after Fuji.

Saying no more!!

Photo credits - AMR

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