Happy Anniversary CSJ Motorsport

Friday, May 22, 2020

Just under a year ago was the when it was all officially confirmed by Aston Martin Racing that they had finally filled that void in their customer racing programme in North America with the appointment of a new strategic partner to oversee all new customer racing endeavours in that region on their behalf.

Officially appointed in writing many months previous but not announced to the world by the UK team until after the 24 Hours of Le Mans in late June 2019, work had already got well underway from their base in San Antonio, Texas as CSJ Motorsport set about cementing their own business and management credentials with that of their new corporate partner in the ever expanding American GT marketplace for the first time since AMR parted ways with their previous ally in TRG-AMR some four years earlier.

For Aston Martin Martin Racing, they had already taken the decision to introduce their new turbo charged V8 Vantage GT4 into the American marketplace earlier than otherwise expected with supplying long standing AMR customer and IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (as it is now) team Automatic Racing with one example in time for the series opener at Daytona International Speedway in January 2019. That bold move by the factory at the most significant event in the US GT calendar, together with the early successes that the new car was then enjoying with their new teams over in Europe during the early stages of the 2019 season more than helped the cause of CSJ Motorsport promote and capitalise on early interest and indeed seat time to anyone who enquired.

Only weeks into their new business arrangement with AMR, Cy and Susan Jary (founder members of CSJ Motorsport) delivered their first pair of AMR Vantage GT4's to their new customers in time for the next IMSA race weekend at Watkins Glen in early July before they saw out the 2019 IMSA season with a variety of driver pairings with more than some impressive performances between them.

Although not immediately successful in terms of end of race silverware (other than a class pole for Akhil Rabindra later at Road Atlanta) despite from some excellent racing in between, success can always be measured in many ways and that reward came about towards the end of the 2019 season when the team received multiple orders for the new Vantage GT4 which had till then been somewhat limited in numbers to marketplaces outside of Europe - mainly due to the lack of capacity at their Prodrive facility in the UK.

Before years end, teams like BSport Racing and Rearden Racing had already announced their new alignment to the AMR marque and the assistance of CSJ Motorsport as they (and others) prepared for the start of their respective IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and SRO GT4 America Series for 2020.

By the time the official entry lists had been revealed for the 2020 opener at Daytona in early January, the role call had escalated to two AMR Vantage GT3's for the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Challenge (AMR supplied vehicles with CSJ support) and four GT4 Vantages - one each for new team's Cameron Racing and Kohr Motorsport and another new chassis for Automatic Racing.

Although the 24hr race certainly didn't go in favour of either Vantage GT3 (both retired before the end of the night with accident damage) it was certainly game on in the events proceeding GT4 race as both Kohr Motorsport and Cameron Racing finished in the top 10 with both Automatic racing cars also completing strong finishes. CSJ's hospitality efforts along Pit Road at Daytona also went down a storm with fans getting both access and informed conversation from those within the teams!

That hard work and determination from CSJ Motorsport was in addition to their new and expanding SRO GT4 America customer base who were also 'swarming at their door' with orders in time for their season opener at the Circuit of The America's in early March.

For this Series, the customer count had risen to an incredible eight cars, not all supplied by CSJ and not all would run at each event admittedly but that would be the number of cars that the team would need to keep race ready as the season progressed. By the time this Series had started in early March, CSJ Motorsport had already made numerous trips over to California for Rearden Racing as that team had their three new Vantage GT4's running in the SRO Winter Invitational at the Thermal Club - a trilogy of races that came with much success in class for the AMR Vantage!!

With the SRO GT4 America Series running both Sprint and Sprint X race formats again, some teams would enter each race with a fresh car whilst others would use the same car for both. Two cars from Rearden Racing, two for the Flying Lizard team and single cars for each of Rennsport 1, BSport Racing and Roberts Racing again made for some exciting racing.

Unlike the opening round of IMSA, GT4 America proved itself to be a happy hunting ground for the new Vantage GT4 as both the Flying Lizard and Rearden Racing teams enjoyed podium winning success over the opening weekend.

Clearly, there was something to like about AMR's latest creations as the American Pro-Am drivers from each series looked forward to their next rounds at Sebring and St Petersburg respectively but whilst Free Practice did actually kick off at St Pete's, the engulfing problem with the Corona-virus pandemic spreading around the globe stopped track action all around the world in a instant with St Pete's being abandoned with cars still out on track until later in the year and the cancellation of the Sebring IMSA event in its entirety.

Several other events between the two series have now also been lost due to social restrictions imposed due to the virus.

That 'emergency stop' in world events yet alone in motorsport circles has already been catastrophic for many around the world. Whilst we still wait for motor racing in North America kick start itself back into action (which it did last weekend with a class podium for Jeff Burton and his Rearden Racing at a regional event in Utah), what impact these events have had on the customer base of both CSJ Motorsport/Aston Martin Racing and the greater paddock is still yet to be seen.

In addition to Rearden Racing getting back out on track last weekend, we have also recently seen the Rennsport 1 car of Matthew Dalton and Patrick Gallagher take to the track already at Virginia International Raceway as that will be the next destination for the GT4 America Series (if able) at the beginning of July so there are still positives to be taken after all of this and that very small number of personnel at CSJ Motorsport remain buoyant as to what the future holds for them.

The initial Press Release confirming their appointment as North American agents to Aston Martin Racing used the term "a fresh start"in AMR's GT3 and GT4 customer programmes on the continent.

Whilst any deal to provide and support a further GT3 to a customer team into any of the IMSA/SRO Series remains illusive to them, CSJ Motorsport have certainly already come up trumps in the GT4 scene with an incredible twelve cars now in circulation all because of them. A thirteenth car (seen below in an commemorative Anglo/American livery) is also available for immediate delivery!

Its certainly a big thanks from us for all what the team have achieved in this first year, we can only thank them again for all their time, help and information that they have provided us since so here's looking forward to the resumption of racing in the USA!!

Happy Anniversary guys!

Photo credits - IMSA / SRO GT4 America / CSJ Motorsport / Automatic Racing / Fabian Lagunas
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