Four Aston Martin GT4's for the Michelin Pilot Challenge visit to Sebring

Wednesday, March 09, 2022


Its back down to two hours again for the second round of the 2022 Michelin Pilot Challenge Series as the series again supports the IMSA / World Endurance Championship double header at Sebring next weekend having opened their season with a four-hour marathon at Daytona earlier in January.

Four Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 powered teams entered the opening round, and all four are expected back again for this second-round next weekend with a combined grid of over thirty GT4 cars and fifteen TCR cars.

The opening round had a lot of ‘new’ for these AMR teams with just the #7 Volt Racing car of Alan Brynjolfsson and Trent Hindman continuing from where they left off last year and with the remaining Aston’s containing two new series entries with also two of them running in the new for 2022 GS class.

The #9 Stoner Car Care car of Rob Ecklin and Ramin Abdolvahabi entered the new Bronze Cup Class as did the sister Automatic Racing prepared #27 car of Paul Kiebler and Jon Branam whilst the other new series #12 entry from the NTE Sport team for Manny Franco, Tom Merrill and Josh Hurley competed within the usual Pro-Am Class for the GS runners at Daytona.

Whilst the familiarly bright #7 Volt Racing car finished P7 overall at the end of the opening four hours of racing, the other Astons unfortunately did not fare as well with the #12 car an early retirement having punctured its engine sump beyond trackside repair having ridden the kerbs little too much on their Championship debut.

Previously listed as a one-off entry into the Series and despite the damage caused, the team quickly confirmed a full season worth of commitment within the Michelin Pilot Challenge with both Franco and Hurley again confirmed for Sebring.

Bronze Cup runners Ecklin/Abdolvahabi and Kiebler/Branam also suffered technical issues of their own during the opening race to both finish a lowly P28 and P27 respectively.

Whilst we do know that the #09 car is a full season entry, little is known about the continued commitment within the IMSA series for the #27 Automatic entry beyond that of Sebring. Now having two AMR Vantage GT4 chassis of their own, it is expected that Kiebler may just return to the SRO GT4 America and GT America once that restarts later in April.

Only time will tell.

Photo credits - Teams
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