AMR Festival at Le Mans raises a few firsts

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

This years third running of the Aston Martin Racing Festival from Le Mans saw over forty of Aston Martin Racing's creations past to present day join three of Aston Martin's exclusive Vulcans for a race around the ultra exclusive Circuit de La Sarthe at the weekend.

Catching up with many old friends in the Festival Paddock, it was great to see many of the marques older DBR/DBRS9 platforms as well as well as some of the newer machinery including the very latest Vantage GT3 and GT4 revealed by AMR join in the frivolities of the Festival.

With a couple of empty tents and a couple of cars clearly not running that left thirty eight cars to hit the track for the first time on Thursday with a certain Ross Gunn hitting the top position aboard his brand new V8 turbo Vantage GT3 some six seconds ahead of Graham Davidson's Jetstream V12 Vantage GT3.

Joining the 'first' list was the TeamBrit car of Warren McKinley and Jamie Falvey as they took their next step in being in being the first disabled team to compete at the main event at Le Mans in only their second race outing aboard their V8 Vantage GT4.

AML boss Andy Palmer took to the track aboard the Vantage GT8 that he would share with Peter Cate for his first race of 2018 whilst AMR's boss John Gaw also took to the track aboard his Vantage GT3 in what must be his first race since the last AMR Festival in 2015.

This years event saw the first competitive race involving the AML Vulcan supercar having only ran demonstration laps last time out in 2015. Three such cars would end up competing in the event including one being raced by TV presenter Chris Harris with seasoned race Peter Dumbreck.

Teething problems soon hit various teams in the paddock that would see them sitting out both the final Free Practice session and Qualifying leaving them to start from the rear of the grid. The Generation AMR SuperRacing V8 Vantage of Matt George and James Holder was one such car after having sustained gearbox damage from a kerb in the first session forcing to miss the next two sessions to facilitate repairs.

The forty five minute race on Saturday morning proved to have just as high as a rate of attrition with several cars ending their race early with either damage or technical fault. Despite their elongated repairs of earlier, the Generation AMR would force a Safety Car after coming to a grinding halt on the final corner having lost drive.

Despite Ross Gunn first to cross the finishing line having also posted the fastest lap of the race (a time that was actually quicker that those posted by the teams GTE cars in Qualifying for the 24Hr of Le Mans main event) his car wassoon  'withdrawn' after the chequered flag and that allowed Harris and Dumbreck to collect the accolades just ahead of Bennie Simonsen and Lasse Sorensen in their V8 Vantage GTE Dane Train in second and Dominik Roschmann in his DBR9.

All in all it was good fun for all - we do however extend our best wishes to Stephen Phillips for a speedy recovery.

Scrapbook of Festival images to follow.

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