Not the dream start for one but more points for Championship leaders

Saturday, October 17, 2020


With just three rounds of the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge to go before this weekend, all eyes had been on the Championship leading #60 Kohr Motorsport Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 of AMR Academy Driver Nate Stacey and his Pro co-driver Kyle Marcelli.

As string of progressively better finishes over the season so far had been noted, not least by the Archangel Motorsport team of Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman who quickly secured an AMR Vantage GT4 of their own in time for the Series return visit to the Michelin raceway Road Atlanta at the weekend as a change in fortune in results from that with their Porsche could see them become title contenders by the last race of the season at Sebring.

Liveried in their distinct Volt Lightning day-glow yellow, the new #7 Aston Martin was a thing of beauty as both drivers got their first test mileage aboard the car in Free Practice on Thursday and by the end of Qualifying, the two front running Astons were split by just 0.01 of a second as the #60 qualified in P4 and the #7 in P5.

Joining these two cars were both of the Automatic Racing cars of both Rob Ecklin/Ramin Abdolvahabi in the #09 and Kris Wilson/Gary Ferrera in the #99.

Taking the start to the Fox Factory 120 under warm afternoon sunshine, Stacey was able to hold his starting position going into the sweeping sequence of turns one to three but Brynjolfsson lost track position and fell back one place and by lap seven, Brynjolfsson had set the fastest lap of the race so far.

Then, just ten minutes into the race came disaster for the #7 car as, sweeping out to avoid the rear of the Mercedes AMG GT4 in front, the #7 car launched itself into an unrecoverable rotation into the bridge parapet after turn 12 – hitting the tyre wall hard and rebounding across of the track with a passing car being hit by debris. Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and all were able to remove themselves from their wreckage or seek assistance and repairs in the pit-lane but the #07 Volt Aston Martin was certainly out!

Nearly twenty minutes of race time was lost whilst that mess was cleared up but a another Full Course Yellow soon after for a stranded TCR car meant that the Am drivers had by then completed their minimum drive time, so most GS Class car pitted including the #60 from P3, the #09 from P15 and the #99 from P17.

Once the whole class had finished their first pit stop cycle, all three Astons had lost rack position with Marcelli dropping to P4 , Wilson down to P18 but worst of all Abdolvahabi who would have to serve TWO drive through penalties as a consequence of two pit lane infractions – one for speeding and another for allowing the rear wheels to spin during their stop. These would shatter to any aspirations that had in what remained of the race!!

The pivotable point within this race again came again from the events immediately either side of another Full Course Caution period as the chasing #96 BMW pitted immediately before the pit lane was again closed to recover another TCR car buried in the tyre wall at turn one. By the time that the pit lane had reopened and the #60 had made their required second stop – they were already behind the BMW of Robbie Foley (and others) down in sixth place with less than thirty minutes remaining.

That time was further reduced as another TCR was pushed off into the parapet of the bridge at turn 12 leaving just a six-minute dash to the flag for their efforts. Whilst Marcelli could not pass anybody on track, their main Championship contenders had already retired from the race after they missed out on securing their Pro drivers minimum drive time at the previous FCY. That in itself increased the gap between the #60 and the #30 Carbahn Audi from seven to twenty points so all was not bad.

The #99 Automatic car of Wilson and Ferrera also demand a mention for one of their best performances to date finishing this race in P11 after having missed the last couple of rounds. For Archangel Motorsport, they now have less than two weeks to repair their #7 car ahead of track formalities at the seasons penultimate round at Wethertech Raceway Laguna Seca.

We have since learned that the #07 is repairable.

Photo credits - IMSA / Archangel / Kohr / CSJ Motorsport
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes