Finishing off the 2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup on a high

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Where has the season gone?

Seems only last month that three Aston Martin Racing Partner teams started the year off with their new fleet of AMR Vantage GT3's but here we are today - season concluded with one Class title, Team title and one runners up position in another class under their belts at the end after another exciting season of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup racing.

Entered into three out of the available four classes it was the Pro-Am and Am Classes that provided the season accolades this year as Oman Racing with TF Sport secured both the Pro-Am Drivers and Teams Titles at the end of another highly eventful final round in Barcelona at the weekend whilst 2019 AMR convertees Garage 59 secured the runners up position in the Am Class Drivers Championship.

That was a another great result for Tom Ferrier's squad, securing their third overall Championship title of the year so far after class wins in both GT3 and GT4 in the British GT Championship and a great end to the year aboard the new turbo charged era of AMR race car for drivers Ahmad al Harthy, Salih Yoluc and AMR Junior driver Charlie Eastwood.
Successfully defending a slender points lead going into the final round, the TF Sport trio secured both Class titles after another podium finish at the Circuit de Catalunya with an extended winning margin of thirty four points after their closest rivals spun out of Sundays race (and into retirement) during one of the many Safety Car periods.

In the Am Class, P2 was the best that Garage 59 could hope for with drivers Alex West, Chris Goodwin (and a returning Chris Harris) as the former pair had already 'lost out' in the Championship race due to late 'drama' for the #188 car at the Spa 24 which cost the team valuable Championship points. A final P2 podium of the season in Spain, although totally warranted and worthy was small consolation for the team who had put so much into the season.

That of course leaves the three Pro Class entered cars from Garage 59 and R-Motorsport, all of whom endured a 'difficult' transition into the Series with the new Vantage GT3 with both technical difficulty and accident damage preventing the cars from competing yet alone finishing the five races over the course of the year.

The #62 R-Motorsport car of Mathieu Vaxivierre, Matt Parry and Maxime Martin was the most unfortunate bunch of the trio with just a single point being secured at the first race of the year at Monza with the Garage 59 #59 car of Jonny Adam, Andrew Watson and Come Ledogar just above with two points secured. Whereas the #62 suffered from technical issues the #59 suffered from the blight of other peoples accidents directly affecting their own outcomes.

The remaining #76 R-Motorsport Vantage GT3 of Marvin Kirchhofer, Jake Dennis and Alex Lynn (with a little help from Nicki Thiim at the start of the year) was by far the best performing Pro class AMR runner but still with just three points finishes but two being on the podium including their best result of the year at Barcelona where late 'issues' for the cars ahead gifted them a P2 finish to see the year out.

But all of that was just year 1 with the new Vantage GT3.

With working knowledge, data and understanding of how things went across the classes this year, any entries from these teams for the 2020 season will always place them in a better position than where they found themselves at the start of the year with new cars being rushed out of the Prodrive factory leaving the teams little time to test and prepare.

We see potential planning and development going onto 2020 already taking place with both Garage 59 and R-Motorsport continuing their current racing season by entering November's final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Series at Kyalami in South Africa.

R-Motorsport are entering two cars - one featuring an existing Blancpain GT Series driver line up of Hugo de Sadeleer, Ricky Collard and Marvin Kirchhofer whilst their second car will have Jake Dennis and Maxime Martin return but with a new young gun in Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year final four nominee and single seater racer Enaan Ahmed. Both of these cars are entered into the Pro class.

For Garage 59, team bosses Alex West and Chris Goodwin return with their Pro driver Come Ledogar aboard their #188 Pro-Am entry yet all will view this final race of the year as another opportunity to further develop their knowledge and understanding of this GT3 platform.

Next up for up for TF Sport is of course this weekends second round of the World Endurance Championship from Fuji in Japan for their AMR Vantage GTE Am line up of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam.

Photo credits - TF Sport / Blancpain / Garage 59

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