Time passing galleries - Part 12 AMR on top of the world

Sunday, May 31, 2020

With civilisation and motor racing slowly but surely returning towards something that will eventually be construed as being 'normal', there is no way we could miss off the events of the 2017 World Endurance Championship in our series of corona-virus passing time galleries.

Being the second year with the new aero regulations that produced those prominant rear defusers, 2017 would again see the same variant of Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE run in both GTE Pro and GTE Am and having stayed with tyre partner Dunlop, the team thought that they had retained an edge over their class competitors after the success of the previous year in GTE Pro.

Running just three cars again for the nine round series of that year, another juggle around in drivers saw Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen being joined by Richie Stanaway (for the first three rounds only after which he would leave the them and return home) in the #95 Pro car whilst Darren Turner and Jonny Adam were joined by Brazilian stock car racer Daniel Serra in the sister #97 car. The #98 GTE Am car of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda saw out the line ups for the full season at least.

With photographs from the only two rounds of the year that we attended, things proved difficult for the ageing normally aspirated V8 Vantage at the opening round at Silverstone with both Pro cars only able to bring up the rear in class by the end of the six hours whereas the #98 crew did at least convert their class pole into a P2 finish in their field of just five cars.

The big news of course came two months later at the Circuit de La Sarthe in France where the avoidance of last years shenanigans in Balance of Performance put last years winning Ford GT's firmly back in their place but at least allowed the Vantage to blossom. A late Qualifying session run for Turner late on Thursday night put his #97 on Pole for the 24 hour race with the #95 only just behind in P3.

Joining the #98 crew in GTE Am saw the return of the #99 Beechdean AMR GTE of Andrew Howard, this time with Ross Gunn and Oliver Bryant and a new GTE entry from TF Sport for their customer racer Salih Yoluc. He would be joined by his then usual side kick Euan Hankey and a returning Rob Bell.

For this race the proceeding 23hours and 55minutes were all just a warm up as Jonny Adam left it to the last lap to pass the then GTE Pro class leading Corvette to secure his and Serra's first win at Le Mans - something that Turner was a little more used to but a massive result for the oldest car in the Pro field!! The #99 Beechdean AMR car would finish highest of the Aston runners with a P4 in GTE Am.

That class win at the home of endurance racing was later complimented the #98 crew's ultimate achievement of finally lifting the GTE Am Drivers and Team's Championships by the end of the season with another mighty podium winning string of results.

What a way that was  of putting the 'old girl' out to pasture in the Pro class at least with the factory about to deliver their new turbo charged iteration of Vantage ready for the start of the 2018 season.

These photos (not in any particular order we're afraid) may not be anything special, but are ones we certainly have enjoyed taking and witnessing events from behind the lenses - hope you like them too.

Seeing more news today of some imminent AMR customer team testing coming up next week, we hope that part 12 will be the last of our looking back in time as circumstance now allows us to look forward to what's in front of us for a change.

In the meantime - keep safe and we hope to see you at a race track soon.


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