News on last weeks debutants in Japan and the USA

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Whilst the new Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 was quietly winning its first national Championship and with other AMR platforms jockeying for position in others at the penultimate round of the British GT Championship at Brands Hatch at the weekend, two well known names within the AMR racing fraternity where marking their debut appearances with other customer teams around the world.

Despite his length of service with both Prodrive and Aston Martin Racing, WEC driver and brand ambassador Darren Turner was ticking off another series off his 'to do list' by helping Japanese based D'Station Racing AMR in the endurance round of the Super GT Series from Fuji Motor Speedway.

Having already raced with the team in one of their new AMR Vantage GT3's in the Pirelli Super Taikyu Series with much success this season, this weekends appearance in the Fuji 500 marked Turners first appearance in the top flight Japanese GT Series as he joined regular series drivers Tomonobu Fuji and JP de Oliveira in their #7 car at the flagship event of their calendar.

For the crew, early timed sessions of the meeting proved that the team had good pace in the ultra competitive - tyre brand war arena of the GT300 class by finishing P3 in Free Practice before later Qualifying in P10 for the Sunday morning five hour race.

Disadvantaged by the warmer temperatures as far as their Yokohama tyres performed on race day, the #7 car would run as high as P2 in class before tyre degradation, Safety Cars and race contact hampered optimum running and performance on track for the trio. The car would eventually finish P11 in class.

Over in the USA, Akhil Rabindra was chasing his dreams and getting his first taste of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series aboard the CSJ Motorsport supplied AMR Vantage GT4 that Automatic Racing where running last weekend for the Stoner Car Care team of Kris Wilson at Road America.

Normally supported by Gary Ferrera in their older, normally aspirated AMR Vantage, the opportunity of sampling the latest model available out of the Prodrive factory appeared to a be a chance too good to be missed particularly after the near podium success of another driver crew last time out at Lime Rock a couple of weeks ago. That new parings non attendance at the Road America event made this situation with the Stoner Car Care guys possible.

Issues with the car restricted track time for the drivers leading up to Qualifying but Rabindra was already fully up to speed in a car he knows so well from the GT4 European Series and the 24H Series to later finish P3 in Qualifying ahead of Saturday's intended two hour race.

An intense weather front moving over the circuit just prior to the grid being formed forced race organisers to firstly delay the start and then reduce the length of race to just 75 minutes as thunder, lightning and heavy rain pounded the circuit and the surrounding area.

Starting on wets from the second row, Rabindra was soon challenging for the race lead overall before his stint time in the car was done. On what was then a drying track the team elected to send Wilson out on slicks and that appeared to be the correct choice as he continued to hold their P3 position before rain returned just after the pits stop window closed. 

With most of the field having elected for wets (or pitted again for wets) that put the #9 car completely on the back foot with inevitable contact being between cars in the slippery conditions leading to heavy - race ending contact in the wall for Wilson with just five laps remaining.

Disappointment all round but after having contacted Rabindra via social media since the race it very much appears that he may be back in the IMSA series some time very soon as the young AMR Academy driver considers his next steps for 2020.

Photo credits - D'Station Racing / Automatic / IMSA

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes