Three AMR Vantage GTE's travel to Monza for the last dance before Le Mans

Monday, July 12, 2021

They go in three’s this weekend as the three Aston Martin Racing Vantage platforms competing in this weekend’s IMSA programme at Lime Rock, Connecticut are equally matched by the three AMR Vantage platforms that are due to compete in this weekend’s third round of the World Endurance Championship from Monza, Italy.

Just over a month since the last round of the Championship from Portimao, this weekend will be remarkably different to that and the season opener from Spa by the way of actually having (limited) fans allowed inside the circuit for the first time in ………too long!!

The 2021 re-arranged calendar from the WEC has now left this weekend’s round in Italy as the round before the big one at Le Mans as obviously the traditional June date for the 24hr has long since passed and we will now have to wait until next month to see if the WEC’s plans for that event continue to bear substance with the ongoing domestic situation in France.

Looking back at the events of Portimao, it was obviously something of a bruising affair for the TF Sport entered #777 D’Station Racing AMR Vantage GTE of drivers Tomonobu Fujii, Satoshi Hoshino and Andrew Watson after the emerald green car was effectively taken out of the eight hour race by the debuting Glickenhaus Hypercar after just two hours. Another amazing run in the opening stint from Fujii was let down by the damage caused in the collision that lead to Hoshino (who was in the car at the time of the incident) having to park the car to avoid any possible engine damage. Extremely disappointing for them all!

Then we have the other TF Sport entered AMR Vantage GTE of Ben Keating, Dylan Pereira and Felipe Fraga who had its own issues with involuntary contact and spins around the Portuguese circuit – sometimes of their own doing and earning themselves time penalties in the process and others not. They would eventually come home P8 in class after their season opening podium in Spa back in late April.

Then there was the AMR factory supported #98 Northwest Racing AMR Vantage GTE of Paul Dalla Lana, Marcos Gomes and Augusto Farfus who strung together their best result of the season so far at the eight-hour event to finish P4 in class on top of their P6 finish in Spa.

These results have the #33 TF Sport car third in the GTE Am Tourist Trophy Championship, with the #98 Northwest car mid table and the #777 in tenth, all a long way behind already to the Championship leading Cetilar Racing Ferrari who secured maximum points in Portimao on top of their podium finish at Spa.

With the TF Sport team already at Monza for last weekend’s ELMS race, Keating took the opportunity to race at the circuit for the very first time in one of the teams AMR Vantage GT3’s in the supporting Michelin Le Mans Cup Series alongside their ELMS driver Ross Gunn. Having crossed the podium first after that two-hour race, a technical transgression with the cars rear wing saw them struck from the results but that the purpose of that exercise had already been won by the American.

In news today, we see that Fujii is already in Europe and has today been undertaking his mandatory simulator test in Paris ahead of his first visit to Le Mans next month and will join his teammates at the circuit in time for the first Free Practice session on Friday.

There after follows two further Free Practice sessions on Saturday before the start of a more traditional six-hour WEC race on Sunday.

The three Aston Martin’s will compete amongst a GTE Am class of fourteen other cars in a grid of an expected 37 cars.

Photo credits – WEC / Teams
















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