Weekend round up

Monday, July 22, 2019

With our own sporting commitments last weekend keeping ourselves away from both race track and laptop together with the speed in which fresh news is coming out into the public domain, we only have time (literally and metaphorical) to post this quick recap of the weekends racing adventures for #TeamAMR.

The biggest event in terms of volume of AMR participants was of course the British GT Championships annual visit to Spa Francorchamps which serves as the catalyst to the SRO's Speed week of motorsport and the Total 24H Spa which starts on track tomorrow.

Fresh from his first race win of the year in the International GT Open series, Optimum Motorsports Ollie Wilkinson maintained that momentum aboard his Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 to secure his and their first overall pole position in the British GT with co-driver Bradley Ellis during some really tricky track conditions as the heavens opened just before the first of the four Qualifying sessions.

That feat was even more remarkable as the next highest placed AMR was down in P10 with the #47 TF Sport car of Graham Davidson and Jonny Adam. That lad from Leeds is seriously going places!

In GT4, a strong showing from the six AMR Vantage crews (#61 Academy would be running with a McLaren 570s due to previous damage to their Vantage) would be the prelude to a magnificent showing during Sundays two hour race.

Come yesterdays race, the #96 Optimum GT3 would go on to convert their pole position start into a lights to flag overall race win to beat the Ram Racing Mercedes AMG by over ten seconds!

Not a podium contending car this time, it was good to see that the #2 TF Sport GT3 of Mark Farmer and Nicki Thiim made up for some lost ground with a albeit distant P5 finish whereas the debuting M2 Competition Vantage GT3 of Tony Quinn and Darren Turner could be proud of their 13th position finish in a car and circuit that the now New Zealand domiciled Scott had not seen before now.

In GT4, it was double delight for the TF Sport team as the #97 Vantage of Tom Canning and Ashley Hand who claimed their first class win of the season after the leading #4 McLaren suffered technical issue going into the final lap after a slight collision with the #97 at the bus stop. They were supported on the podium by their sister #95 car of Patrick Kibble and Josh Price who claimed third in class.

In GT4 Pro-Am, a fourth place finish saw the Championship lead for Beechdean AMR's Martin Plowman and Kelvin Fletcher reduce to just half a point after the extended points round of Spa with just two rounds remaining.

Over in Japan, D'Station Racing AMR baptised their brand new Vantage GT3 with a P2 finish in the latest round of the Pirelli Super Taikyu Series from Autopolis on the southern most island of the country.

After qualifying P4 in the overall ST-X class for Sundays race, drivers Tsubasa Kondo, team co-Principle Satoshi Hoshino and their Super GT driver Tomonobu Fujii would run a competitive race until track conditions became quite treacherous with a passing Typhoon and a late puncture dropped the #777 car down to P2 by the time the race was red flagged and abandoned due to the conditions.

Finally but by no means least, its was sad to read of some of the comments coming out a Barcelona after the latest round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup Series there on Saturday in regards to the race experience suffered by Ross Gunn aboard the Beechdean AMR Vantage GT3.

With the new Vantage having been very much the bridesmaid at the previous rounds of the series (except for race two at Le Mans) to date compared to the Ferrari 488, the red, white and blue #99 car found its 'charge' from its super Silver driver in the second stage of the race somewhat thwarted by a lumbering LMP3 car the seemed to position itself just enough ahead of Ross Gunn to prevent his progress to the back of the then P3 Ferrari.

Team boss and co-driver Andrew Howard tweeted that the #55 Spirit of Race prepared LMP3 car had a lap time of 1:45:50 before overtaking Gunn on the circuit before reducing that time to 1:49:00 afterwards. If true - sanctions should really be taken against those involved - motor racing is expensive enough as it is without any cross class entrant, driver or team taking matters 'into their own hands' to influence the outcome.  Not good!

Next up this week (like tomorrow) is the start of the two day World Endurance Championship Prologue official test from Barcelona ahead of the start of the Spa 24 that also commences tomorrow.

Photo credits - LMC / Super Taikyu / Steve Jackman

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