Team AMR end a busy weekend with plenty of silverware

Monday, September 07, 2020

Yesterdays conclusion to the weekends marathon of GT racing events ended generally well for the many Aston Martin Racing teams with another seven podium finishes split between them in the six race series that they participated in from around the world.

The early hours of Sunday morning (European Time) saw then #47 D'Station Racing AMR Vantage GT4 come home P3 in class after the exhausting and heavily weather affected Pirelli Super Taikyu Series 24 Hour event at the Fuji Speedway. Having qualified that position in class and considering the weather conditions that they constantly had to endure - that was a mighty finish from a crew that had so little race experience within the new car or even together as a team.

Congratulations to drivers Tatsuya Hoshino, Kenja Hama, Takura Shinohara, Max Orido and Tsubasa Meikaru for their efforts. The next round of the Series is scheduled for Sugo in four weeks time with two - three hour races in that event.

After the fantastic race from the Heart of Racing Team in the Weathertech Sportscar Championship yesterday in their V8 Vantage GTD, yesterday saw the GT4's take their racing turn at the undulating Road Atlanta circuit for their four hour marathon within the IMSA supporting Michelin Pilot Challenge.

Taking pole position in Qualifying late on Saturday evening was AMR Academy Driver Nate Stacey with his #60 Kohr Motorsport AMR Vantage that he shares with Kyle Marcelli with the two Automatic Racing AMR's again joining the fray as Brandon Kidd returned to the team for the first time since Daytona in January (Placing the #09 in P10) and the #99 car of Kris Wilson and Gary Ferrera (P18) again after they skipped the last event at VIR.

In an extra ordinary race for the #99 car, they were suffer from repeated systems failure within the car as early as the opening lap that demanded a system reboot from within the cockpit each time. Whilst be able to place the car at a relative place of safety each time whilst on track, the car eventually ground to a halt for a final time with an hour remaining.

The #60 car meanwhile enjoyed a cracking opening ninety minute stint with Stacey behind the wheel fending off the close attention of first the #22 Ford Mustang and then the #56 Mercedes before eventually pitting from the lead.

All seemed to be going relatively to plan as Kyle Marcelli pitted the #60 car with just an hour to go but over eagerness on his part saw the car lurched forward with the refuelling equipment still attached. That error cost the team a drive through penalty - something that added over thirty seconds onto their gap to the then leaders.

Despite their efforts to the end, the #60 car would eventually finish P7 overall and some thirty six seconds down to the winner so its next time lucky for these guys at Mid Ohio in three weeks time.

A new series for us to report on is the #55 Virage Group's AMR Vantage GT4 competing in the opening round of the 2020 Ultimate Cup Series from Dijon, France at the weekend. Despite our mix up in driver line up, the teams Julien Gerbi, Stephane Adler and Javier Cobain Qualified in P7 for Sundays 4 hour Challenge GT Endurance event where they finished P5 overall but P1 in their UGTX class.

It will take a little bit of investigation to find out why their team's AMR Academy Driver Antonio Lesdesma did not drive at the weekend (?travel restrictions for the young Mexican maybe) ahead of the Series next round at Magney-Cours in two weeks time.

PROsport Racing were back in the 24HSeries at the weekend at the hastily re-arranged 16hrs of the Hockenheimring instead of being at Barcelona. With resident Pro driver Nico Verdonck again shepherding his gentleman countrymen Rodrigue Gillion and Tim Heeren, the #401 was to Qualify P7 overall in P1 in the GT4 class ahead of the customary two part race.

Despite some treacherous driving conditions during parts of the race, spinning off with a tyre missing and a fire onboard, these all played to the talents of the Belgium Pro driver (probably not his colleagues mind!) to take the finish P10 overall but a rewarding P2 in Class! Great stuff form them.

Then and 'just up the road' at the Nurburgring we had the GT4 European Series and the GT World Challenge Europe Series take to the track for their two-one hour and six hour races respectively for AMR teams AGS Events Racing and Garage 59.

For these guys there was the most reward with the Silver Cup #27 car of Valentin Hasse Clot and Theo Nouet taking pole and a class win in their second race whilst their sister #89 AM class entry of Gilles Vannelet and Nicolas Gomar went one better with a class win in race 1 followed by a class P3 in race 2.

Things would have been different for the #27 car during race 1 before a rear puncture at the start of the final lap relegated a double series stinting Hasse-Clot down to P7. These scores leave the AGS Events team at the top of the overall Teams table, top again in the Am Class and P2 in the Silver Cup as the Series heads to Zandvoort in Holland in two weeks time.

During the main 6 hour race for the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup event, it was the top step of the podium for the #159 Silver Cup runners from the Garage 59 team. Up to a three man team for the first time, the driving services of Hasse-Clot and Andrew Watson were bolstered by those of James Pull for the first time as it was he who drove the final stint to hold off the charging #78 Barwell Lamborghini to the end for them to lift their first class win of the year.

For their sister #188 Pro-Am entry from Alex West, Chris Goodwin and Jonny Adam, there was sadly to be no repeat of their class win at the opening round of the season at Imola as the car never really seemed to be on the pace with those around them.

The Nurburgring round was also the final dress rehearsal for the Endurance Cup teams entered into the Spa 24 later in October as only Sprint Cup rounds remain between now and then. They do however have the customary Test Day at Spa Francorchamps at the end of the month.

Now that was a busy weekend!!

Photo credits - GT4 European / GTWCE / Garage 59 / IMSA / Stoner Car Care / Team Virage / Prosport / Super Taikyu
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