Rounding the season off in style under the sun and lights of Abu Dhabi

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Both Aston Martin Racing customer teams entered into the 2017 Gulf 12Hr event from the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi certainly ended their 2017 racing season's on a high scooping three class titles between them.

With the Oman Racing team (this year supported by TF Sport team of course), it was an expectant return to the event with their V12 Vantage GT3 having taken a sabbatical last year, whilst for the Generation AMR SuperRacing team it was a case of proving their worth having narrowly missed out last year in their V8 Vantage GT4.

Indeed, this event could have been a 'fairytale' season finale for both crews as the #97 Oman Racing controlled, not just their own Pro Am class but periodically the race as a whole as drivers Ahmad Al Harthy, Tom Jackson and Euan McKay stretched their legs around the F1 grade circuit against some higher class opposition.

Unfortunately, a technical issue with the #97's gearbox cost the team eight precious minutes during the second half the the event, time that resigned the trio to fight for just class honours rather than the overall race eventually finishing second in Pro Am.

Meanwhile in the GTX3 class, James Holder, Matt George and Steve Tandy quickly dispensed with any threat from their only class rival in the Scuderia Villorba Corse Maserati to lay chase to a new prize - that of a combined GTX class.

Brought in to assist with the lower than expected GTX entry, the combined GTX class allowed the slowest GTX3 (GT4 cars) to compete for a higher prize with the faster Lamborghini Trofeo and Porsche Cup cars. At the end of the 2x 6hour races and without having allowed any entry from either higher class to exceed the 23/27 lap handicap required by the series to beat them, the #44 car ended up claiming not just a win in the GTX3 class but also the top step of the GTX Overall class.

Although great results for these team thee final third of the first half of the event was sadly marred by a nasty accident for one of the Graff LMP3 cars, nose-diving into the barriers after an apparent on-board technical issue. We later learned that despite getting out of the car unaided, driver James Winslow was later hospitalised with multiple serious injuries from which we obviously wish him a speedy recovery.

Photo credits - Gulf 12Hr

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