The changing of the guard at TeamAMR

Sunday, February 24, 2019

February 2019 will go down in the annuals of Aston Martin Racing as the time when saw the factory's Partner teams finally transfer from the racing service of its normally aspirated V12 and V8 Vantage GT3's and GT4's over to the new 2019 specification, turbo charged V8 chariots of both classes.

Seeing out the services of the final V12 GT3 competing at the high international level were TF Sport who again hosted the private driver coaching services of Red River Sport at the final round of the 2018/19 Asian Le Mans Series at Sepang in Malaysia this weekend.

With just two drivers available again this weekend, it was left to Bronze driver Ivor Dunbar and his professional driver coach Johnny Mowlem to compete in the searing temperature of the Far East, a pair who overcame early adversity at the meeting to finish a proud P4 at the conclusion of todays four hour race in the GT Class having suffered an unusual component failure within the V12 block to need an engine change prior to qualifying yesterday and then a two minute time penalty in the race today to boot.

Success can be measured in many ways and does not always necessitated the standing upon any step of the podium to show it, and this is very much the case with these Red River Sport guys who, as two Gents and Pro' mixed it with the 'big boys' (factory drivers in newer GT3 machinery) on alien circuits to expand their race knowledge and take another step forward towards their ultimate dream.

That saw the final run out (as far as we presently know) of any Partner team's V12 Vantage GT3 that they may still presently have at an international, multi- class level. Whilst this was all going on - over in Europe saw the first significant run outs of several teams new V8 Vantage GT3 as well as other drivers getting back into the new V8 Vantage GT4 for the first time since their three lap 'appreciation test' at Oulton Park last year.

Starting at Snetterton last week, TF Sport gave their first GT3 chassis another three day run out (having first ran it at the Gulf 12Hr with the Oman Racing crew) with Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson behind the wheel as well as receiving delivery of their second GT3 chassis that Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim shall share in the British GT. Joining them for the first time on track were the four new GT4 racers that the team have taken on board this year in the British GT Championship.

Although it had been first intended to compete this test with their own new Vantage GT4 equipment, the best that the team could do was to borrow the factory's test and development car again so that drivers Josh Price, Rory Collingbourne and Patrick Kibble could at least get some serious mileage in each aboard the car. Tom Canning was also in attendance but of course he raced the GT4 at the Gulf 12Hr event.

It was also noted that Andrew Howard tested his own new Vantage GT3 at Silverstone as well, a car that he has already raced with in Abu Dhabi.

Then this weekend we saw Optimum Motorsport take their brand new V8 Vantage GT3 down to Paul Ricard in southern France for the first of two winter tests that drivers Ollie Wilkinson and Bradley Ellis will participate in in advance of their upcoming International GT Open season.

The weekend was finally rounded off with the confirmation from Academy Motorsport that they are about to receive the first example of the new V8 Vanatge GT4 that the Prodrive plant have released to a European based team (chassis #001 infact) so as long as the factory can keep turning out high quality examples of these new cars, all Partner teams should have all their orders with them in time for pre-season testing over the coming weeks.

Next week, we understand will also be peppered with other #TeamAMR announcements both at home and abroad!

Photo credits - Optimum / TF Sport / Academy

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