Finally - a very busy weekend of motor racing to look forward to

Monday, July 27, 2020

Oh, how we have yearned to make such a sweeping statement of the last few months but this time we can honestly say that there is a real cracker of a race weekend coming up with Aston Martin Racing Partner teams in action in both the USA and in Europe.

Starting farthest afield from us here in the UK sees that IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship make for their third round of their revised 2020 calendar, this time making their way to Road America near the Great Lakes of Wisconsin for the IMSA Sportscar Weekend and the supporting Road America 120 with the Michelin Pilot Challenge GT4's.

As previously reported, the Heart of Racing team return with their AMR V8 Vantage GTD (GT3) for the first time since the opening round of the season at the Rolex 24 way back at the start of the year, having elected to sit out the two most rounds in Florida because of the ongoing COVID-19 situation in that state. They have unfortunately have had to submit a revised driver pairing with Roman De Angelis teaming up with their designated endurance round co-driver and Team Principle Ian James as regular co-driver Alex Riberas is presently caught up in the world's ongoing travel restrictions that are stopping many drivers from taking up the full schedule of commitments.

We must remember that apart from wanting to race and succeed at the highest level that the IMSA Series can offer, the team also work hard to raise much needed funds for the Seattle Childrens Hospital both at the trackside and afar so these closed door or restricted access race meetings are affecting their latter endeavours hard!

The #23 car makes up a field of 14 GTD cars amongst the total expected grid of thirty three cars.

Again supporting the headlining IMSA series are the GS and TCR cars from the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series who should arrive with another bumper grid of thirty three cars themselves within which should feature two AMR Vantage GT4's.

Having featured three AMR Vantage GT4's at the previous round from Sebring two weeks ago where the #60 Kohr Motorsport car of Nate Stacey and Kyle Marcelli secured a P2 overall finish in the weather affected race, it looks like their car will be joined by just one of the Automatic Racing Vantage's - the only question is which one.

Viewing two entry lists posted by the series just five hours apart would suggest that it will be the #99 car competing but depending upon which list you look at would dictate which of their driver line ups will be attending. So that's either Kris Wilson/ Gary Ferrera or Rob Ecklin/Ramin Abdolvahabi.

That still leaves the Cameron Motorsport AMR Vantage unaccounted for - we did see them test at Laguna Seca on the same weekend as the last round of the Series at Sebring and we understand that their potential non attendance is again down to ongoing health concerns for their team and drivers but that is yet to be confirmed.

Moving closer to home, Saturday sees the fourth round of the now Nurburgring Langstrecken Serie (formally VLN Series) from the Nordschleife in southern Germany.

Having announced their ADAC Total N24 entry for their new AMR Vantage GT4 a fortnight ago for drivers Alex West, Chris Goodwin, AMR factory driver Darren Turner plus one more as yet to be confirmed, Saturday sees the former two drivers take part in the fourth round of the NLS series in preparation for the main event at the circuit in late September.

Having tested their GT4 at various circuits this year, NLS 4 will be the first competitive outing for the teams new 'baby' Vantage.

Finally but certainly by no means least, this weekend sees the opening rounds of the revised British GT Championship take place from the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire but unfortunately on a racing landscape that is now nearly devoid of the new AMR Vantage race car.

From an AMR Partner team perspective, the Championship has seen a high post COVID-19 attrition rate through the GT3 class of cars with TF Sport withdrawing both of their entries for Jonny Adam/Ahmad Al Harthy and Graham Davidson/Tom Canning early on and with Beechdean AMR only now confirming a single - part time GT3 entry instead of the intended two cars for both both Valentine Hasse-Clot/Jack Mitchell and Andrew Howard/Ross Gunn.

So celebrating who will be there for the opening races will be both TF Sport GT4 cars of Partick Kibble/Connor O'Brien and GT newcomers Jamie Caroline/Dan Vaughan aboard the teams now distinctive bright yellow cars amongst the expected twenty one car entry

Having made the most of what the post lockdown restrictions have placed upon UK motorsport as a whole, all four drivers will arrive at the circuit with as much seat time as time has allowed after multi day tests at most of the UK circuits being used by the Championship this season.

Those wishing attend the event in person are reminded of the need to secure their entry ticket in advance as no tickets will be sold at the gate - sadly another necessary CV-19 safe protocol. Admission into the paddock area will also be prohibited and there will be no pit walks for the foreseeable future.

Photo credits - IMSA / Garage 59 / Eat my Pixels

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