Dinan completes hat-rick at final day of GT4 America's return to racing

Monday, July 13, 2020

Getting back to racing at last weekend's GT4 America Series visit to the Virginia International Raceway proved itself to be a very successful one for one Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 driver as well as some of his AMR stablemates as podiums finishes were collected throughout the Series triple header.

Having already secured Am Class wins within both the shorter Sprint races, Flying Lizards gentleman driver Micheal went on to complete his hat-trick on Sunday with a hard worked but thoroughly deserved class on the hottest and most humid days of this extended race meeting.

With the meeting having started with testing back on Wednesday, the Series used the extended track time to recover two races that had been lost to them by the COVID-19 induced lockdown with Sundays Sprint X race was in lieu of the one lost from Long Beach with the third Sprint race being in lieu of the one lost from St Petersburg from the weekend after the opening round from CoTA back in March.

With such a gruelling schedule, all the four AMR teams that attended the meeting did well to make ready their Vantage rolling stock although some experienced some significant technical issues. The Flying Lizard team had already lost one off their two AMR Vantage GT4's due to drive train issues and then RS One had had electrically issues that put their distinctive #33 car into limp mode simply due to the heat being generated within the body of the cars.

Starting in a reverse order on Sunday, it was the Sprint X racers who got the benefit of the 'cooler' temperatures of the morning race with the previous race fastest laps again being used to determine the starting order. This time it was Jeff Burton who had the honour of leading the AMR cars away from his P8 position on the grid, Dinan in P14, Bryan Putt P15 and Matt Dalton P17.

For yesterday's second place overall #15 BSport Racing AMR of Putt/Kenton Koch, it was sadly to be an early end to their racing weekend as the car suffered an engine issue that couldn't be rectified within the time limits of the fifty minute race. Two crashing Porsches then neutralised the race behind the Safety Car to loose fifteen minutes of race time - something that obviously helped everyones tyres before their respective Pro drivers took control just before the halfway mark of the hour race.

With each AMR visiting pit lane on the same lap, the #91 Rearden car of Burton/Vesko Kozarov maintained their P8 status on track but the #210 Flying Lizard car was soon penalised for speeding in the pit lane - another driver through penalty for that!! Kozarov later had his own issues on track as he went to the inside of a slower Mercedes only for that car to turn in on him spinning fortunately only himself around, but the Russian lost pace and position as a result.

Again, the racing performance (or lack of) of the V8 Vantage along the long straights of VIR proved evident as every other marque was able to make up gaps to AND pass the Aston's before the next corner. We heard unconfirmed reports that the Aston was down on power to the tune of about 7/10th of a second to the BMW's and 1 second down to the Porsches!

At the conclusion of the final Sprint X race of the weekend, again things hadn't gone easy for the Vantage chassis with (outside Putt/Koch's P2 finish on Saturday) their next highest finishing position was P5 in class - but that's motor racing!!

Then finally, in the searing heat and humidity of yesterday afternoon came the final 50 minute Sprint race - again with starting positions determined by Saturdays results leaving Dinan starting from P5 overall and P2 in class, Burton in P9/P4 and Paul Terry P11/P6 respectively.

With the Pro class cars again pulling away from the pack, all three Astons had the pace and race craft to stay with the leading Am class bunch making for some more excellent racing between platforms with everyone chasing down the #99 Mercedes who was leading the class at the time.

With Dinan in hot pursuit in P2 in class, both Rearden cars of Burton and Terry were having their own little battles as the pace up front became too much for them at times but it wasn't long before everything was again neutralised after the Sin car went off at Old Oak Tree and couldn't get restarted again. Initially losing ground on the restart, errors from those ahead allowed Dinan to catch back up to the rear of the #99 car before he managed to sneak past, through the twisty sections of the circuit with only eight minutes remaining.

With four minutes to go, the #99 car got alongside Dinan but the #210 car just managed to fend him off through that corner in a move that preserved his third race win of the Sprint weekend. Despite his best of efforts, Burton was unable to secure his first GT4 America podium often season finishing P4 behind a very obstinate and wide Porsche Cayman!!

Great racing - great circuit. Very pleased to have the Series back on track and if all goes well they will be back racing at Sonoma Raceway in southern California in three weeks time.

Photo credits - GT4 America / CSJ Motorsport / Rearden Racing / Flying Lizards

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