D'Station Racing AMR triumphant in ALMS opener

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Pace, endurance, determination and a little bit of luck were just some of the ingredients that Japanese based team D'Station Racing AMR used to great effect in their inaugural race of the 2019-20 Asian Le Mans Series to claim their first Series win at the Shanghai International Circuit in China this morning.

Already comfortable with the racing characteristic of their new Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3, the team used the experience and coaching expertise of AMR factory driver Ross Gunn to help the Prodrive assisted team set up their #77 car with the Michelin tyres - something which were new to both the team and co drivers Satoshi Hoshino and Tomonobu Fujii with their AMR's back home.

Already having competed in Shanghai twice in recent months in both the China GT Championship and World Endurance Championship, Gunn qualified the car P3 out of the nine GT car field for this opening round and just quarter of a second back from the then pace setting Ferrari 488.

Todays race was ran in dry, warm conditions although a familiar combination of low cloud cover, haze and smog around the large metropolis of Shanghai did keep visibility down again from what it perhaps should be in this day and age!

With the start of the four hour race beginning with its customary ACO rules rolling start, it really didn't take starting driver Fujii very long at all to dispatch the two Ferrari's ahead to lay an early claim the GT Class lead having completed less than 1/3rd of the opening lap. During the next hour and a bit of his stint, his lead over the chasing #88 JLOC Lamborghini in second would both increase and decrease as the Super GT racer pushed on before letting his tyres then rest slightly over this highly abrasive circuit. The Ferrari's meanwhile were nowhere!

Just after the 70 minute mark, Fujii would pit to hand over to co-driver and team principle Satoshi Hoshino but time would be lost on track within this stop allowing the #88 car to effectively take the lead of the race in class by the time all had pitted at least once.

Having to try and reduce that gap, the stint for Hoshino was something of a lonely affair as he could neither see in front the car that he was chasing nor the car behind, the one he needed to keep away from but despite his years, Hoshino would drive a faultless stint as a large part of it was cut short by the first Full Course Yellow/Safety Car needed to recover the #90 Team AAI BMW M6 GT3 that had become lodged on top of the armco.

Going back to green with a further FCY quickly after the restart shrouded the #77 cars second pit stop for Gunn to get in with about 1hr 45minutes to go and he would be up against a number of other factory works drivers as all looked to press on to claim those coveted points that would ultimately take the winning team to Le Mans.

Out of sequence to one another, it soon became abundantly clear that the other BMW in the race, the #17 Astro Veloce Motorsport car of Jens Klingmann had stealthily assumed the front spot in GT leaving both the #88 Lambo and #77 AMR to chase with just over 16 seconds covering first to third with 90 minutes remaining.

By the time of the final hour of the race, Gunn had caught up to the rear of the #88 car but had to pit for its final stop for fuel and tyres. Whilst the #77 car was in pit lane a third FCY was called for a stranded LMP2 car out on track and only time would tell wether or not those who pitted under full caution would benefit more than those who pitted partly under green like the D'Station car did.

Answering some of that question and just ten minutes later, Gunn caught and passed the #17 car for position - up to P2 in class but still some 15 seconds to make up the leading Lambo! Then came that little strike of luck as the #88 car would be pinged for a pit lance violation at its final stop earlier and that meant that during their compulsory drive through penalty the #77 AMR would assume the lead of the class.

For the final 20 minutes of the race, that class lead would never come under threat again as Gunn would finish 10 seconds ahead of the #88 after their significant improvement in performance from that of Free Practice. For the four Ferrari 488's in the class, none would ever challenge the eventual victors in the class despite their quicker Qualifying time as most simply mirrored each others strategy and even tripped over one another in the process!

A great start for D'Station Racing AMR in China, in racing you just need to limit your mistakes (and they make some) as well as capitalise upon the mistakes and bad luck of others and that is precisely what these guys did today.

The Series next round out of their four round season will be at The Bend in Australia! Not many people have been there, even fewer have raced there so that will be a very interesting race. That race takes place in mid January 2020 - looking forward to that already!!

Photo credits - ALMS / D'Station Racing

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