Like motor racing had never been away!!!

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Consecutive weekends again with multiple race series and events in progress amongst them make it again feel that nothing has been amiss in the world of GT racing as we see multiple Aston Martin Racing Partner teams perform to the highest level at circuits around the world.

Yesterday saw Aston Martin Racing announce their 2020 intake of young driving talent into their coveted Drivers Academy process and many of those young drivers have been practising and Qualifying yesterday and today for their respective teams with many displaying just why they have been selected.

Over in the USA, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge started their third round of their season at the picturesque Road America circuit in Wisconsin with Kohr Motorsport's Nate Stacey putting his #60 AMR Vantage GT4 onto pole position for tonights two hour race just a couple weeks after he and co driver Kyle Marcelli secured a P2 overall finish at their 'return to racing' event at Sebring.

Whats more remarkable is that the #60 ran zero laps in the first of two Free Practice Sessions as they and their AMR stablemates at Automatic Racing suffered electrical gremlins again. Recovering themselves to P2 overall by the end of FP2, the #60 car then went on to secure overall pole position by just over one second. The #99 Automatic car of Ramin Abdolvahabi and Rob Ecklin were unfortunately not so lucky to end this morning Qualifying down in P20 in class.

Over at Oulton Park in the UK, four further AMR Academy drivers were displaying their racing prowess in the early Free Practice sessions of the opening round of the British GT Championship with TF Sport.

Having already snatched the early headlines with being 1-2 in private testing at the circuit yesterday, the pace of the #95 Patrick Kibble/Connor O'Brien and the #97 of Jamie Caroline/Dan Vaughan  continued into todays officially timed sessions with both cars being consistently within the top 4 within the GT4 class going into this afternoons double Qualifying sessions.

In the earlier GT4 Am session, O'Brien claimed overall pole position for tomorrows first of two, one hour races 0.374 seconds ahead with Vaughan claiming P4 in his first GT Qualifier since stepping up from Porsches. That was almost mirrored in the GT4 Pro Qualifying session as Caroline claimed P2 ahead of Kibble in P4 but then Kibble did have two lap times deleted for track limits! Caroline missed out on his first GT4 pole by just 0.027 of a second.

Over in southern Germany, the AMR Vantage GT4 belonging to the Garage 59 team finally had her first competitive outing with drivers and team co-owners Alex West and Chris Goodwin in the fourth round of the national Nurburgring Langstrecken Serie (formally the VLN Series) in the SP8T class.

Having gained his permit only last year with one of Aston Martin's Performance Centre normally aspirated V8 Vantage's, this race was West's first within the newer turbo charged version of the Vantage and gave the team good race mileage ahead of their ADAC Total N24 race later this year when both will be joined by Darren Turner plus one more as yet TBC driver. Goodwin is however no stranger to the Green Hell having raced with AMR when the debuted the new Vantage at the 24Hr event in June 2019.

Despite the rain during Qualifying, the #160 car finished P4 in class albeit two laps off the class winning pace but experience is something that is earned and that is all that mattered to them today.

Their finish was also mirrored by the PROsport Racing SP10 entry for Guido Dumarey and Alex Walker who also completed the fourteen hour event two laps down their class winner.

Qualifying for the Heart of Racing AMR Vantage GTD within the Weathertech Sportscar Championship at Road America is yet to take place ahead of Sunday race.

Photo credits - IMSA / Garage 59 / Jacob Ebrey

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