Picking up the pieces from recent weeks

Friday, November 29, 2019

It was very remiss of us to let our guard down over the last week or so by not giving ourselves time to report upon the plethora of racing and testing activity of many Aston Martin Racing factory and customer enterprises around the world, so here's us just catching up with a few things but not necessarily in particular date order!

A couple of weekends ago we had IMSA present its fifth Historic Sportscar Racing Classic from the Daytona International Speedway with four cars from the Aston Martin Racing stable - two in both the GT3 and GT4 classes competing with some great results coming out of the multi race format that this meeting adopts around the infield and banked circuit of Daytona.

The #27 AMR Vantage GT3 from GT Racing came back with some great results including an overall race win for their drivers Marc and LP Montour whilst Automatic Racing also gained some silverware with a P2 for their team boss David Russell with their IMSA series drivers Ramin Abdolvahabi, and Steve Davison aboard their normally aspirated V8 Vantage GT4.

Davison and Abdolvahabi also raced another of the team's Vantage N24's at the meeting including a double stint for these guys in the Group G Classic 24 3 hour race. For Macro Werner and Oliver Mathai, the event wasn't so productive for them and their #007 AMR Vantage GT3 ("Billie") with only one finish out of their four allotted races.

Last week also saw the Aston Martin Racing factory team take to the race track of Motorland Aragon in northern Spain for some more Michelin tyre testing - again with the Beechdean AMR 'donor' GT3 car converted into GTE form.

Testing over two days it seems that the test went well despite the chilly looking conditions for the teams World Endurance Championship drivers Marco Sorensen and Alex Lynn ahead of the next round of that series in Bahrain next month with a gruelling eight hours of racing to look forward to.

Staying in Spain for a bit, Team Virage again employed the teaching services of Pedro Lamy as they used the talents of the Portuguese driver to coach their inexperienced designate LMP3 driver line up of Freddie Hunt and CO Jones as they seek to step up from GT4 racing to prototypes in the near future.

This is not the first time that the time have used Lamy with him racing with the team at Barcelona in the 24H Series in the early weeks of receiving their new AMR V8 Vantage GT4's from the Prodrive factory.

Then, at the end of last week came the second on-track footage of the new Aston Martin Valkyrie, again from Silverstone and their factory's new proving ground and track in the infield of the Grand Prix circuit where Darren Turner had apparently enjoyed four days of interaction and testing with the new hyper-car in the making.

With torrential rain unfortunately blighting the filmed demonstration runs along the straights, even those few seconds of footage blessed us with the uncharacteristic sound of a normally aspirated V12 being thrashed within an inch of its life.

Thankfully the rain eased to allow Aston Martin to produce this sensational footage available HERE

Regular Aston Martin High Performance Development Driver Chris Goodwin was over in South Africa at the time, racing in the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge with his team Garage 59 and their AMR Vantage GT3. Having endured their unfortunate demise early on in that race, Goodwin did message on social media that "he should have stayed at home to drive the Valkyre!"

Finally moving into this week, yesterday saw TF Sport return to our 'local' at Snetterton for some more GT4 sampling from another pair of young drivers looking forward at moving up another notch or two in the career ladder. Again unfortunately for them, extremes of winter weather at the Norfolk circuit prevented these two from fully demonstrating what they could really do with the teams British GT GT4 winning chassis of Ash Hand and also AMR Academy winner Tom Canning.

Then, because of the bad weather of Thursday the team elected to stay on at the circuit today and make use of the winter clear skies and sunshine as they let Mark Farmer put in a few more laps aboard his #2 AMR Vantage GT3 as he evaluated another return to the British GT Championship.

Happily willing to talk and very openly self critical about his performances in the car and Championship last year, he explained how he had lost confidence in himself even before the season had started after an unfortunate incident in testing and how he had considered walking away from it all mid season. 

With Farmer telling us that he was still about 50/50 about returning for 2020, there were certain enticements on offer for him to do so with a new Pro driver in the offering after his relationship with his last Pro driver deteriorate during his 'difficulties' of last season.

Not even being December yet, team boss Tom Ferrier wouldn't be drawn of any potential line ups in any of his cars for 2020 as his mind was already fully on maintaining the team's new found momentum in the WEC as they prepare to fly out to the final round of 2019 in Bahrain early next month.

Unconfirmed reports in mainstream motorsport media suggest that AMR have secured their first Vantage GT3 (GTD) involvement in next years IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship with the Heart of Racing team based Seattle. We hope that that is true but we will have to wait and see maybe as early as the Roar before the 24 early next year!

Finally catching up with all of these loose ends, today we saw the finale of the Challenge Bathurst for the Pirelli Super-Sprint class around the iconic circuit of Bathurst in Australia.

Nothing special about that except for the fact that this event was the first time a new AMR Vantage GT3 had raced in Australia in the capable hands of Gentleman driver and Aston Martin aficionado Tony Quinn.

Having taken delivery of his GT3 in time for the British GT round at Spa Francorchamps earlier this year, it was originally logged that he would be using his older and normal aspirated V12 Vantage for the event but photos prove that it was indeed his new, or at least another available chassis that he competed with. 

M2 Competition had told us just this week that the car that he raced with Darren Turner at Spa was still with them in Europe!?!?

At the conclusion of this two day invitation only event, Quinn eventually finished P11 out of 26 runners with a time nearly six seconds off Pro driver Ben Barnicoat's record breaking time in the McLaren 720s.  

PS - don't forget to watch Sky F1 this weekend as they screen they production of both Martin and Alex Brundle as they raced an AMR Vantage GT4 around the Nordschleife earlier this year in a VLN Series race.

Photo credits - social media / GT Racing / Team Virage / Go Motorsport Management / Jacob Ebrey

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