Testing times ahead! (Updated)

Monday, March 07, 2022

Testing times indeed this week but this time for all the right reasons as two headline GT series host their official pre-season test events ahead of the start of their 2022 season later this month.

Firstly and down in what has been reported as being a chilly Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France has the GT World Challenge Europe host their two-day official test with some forty-three cars taking part including one from the Beechdean Aston Martin Racing team.

Having last seen two of Andrew Howard’s Beechdean Ice Cream liveried AMR Vantage GT3's test down in Portimao a couple of weeks ago with some very ‘Pro’ drivers aboard, we knew that there was something on the cards as up until then, the AMR brand was somewhat devoid of any obvious representation within the headline European GT3 series.

In a series that has become something of a poisoned challis for the AMR brand off track, since the start of COVID-19 we have seen the demise of the R-Motorsport team altogether (with their cars and equipment now in the hands of a private collector in Germany) and most recently with the switching of allegiances to another marque by the Garage 59 team. Whilst it is obviously great to see the Beechdean AMR team back ‘strutting their stuff’ in a European arena, we are a little bemused by that considering previous remarks made to us over previous years – but then, everyone is permitted to a change of mind!!

Getting back to this week’s two-day test, Howard so far*** appears to be the only driver there with his team and their #97 car with two open sessions running per day and with this being their first organised test/track session of the year so far, it would be unfair to make too much of track times, etc.

***Team later confirmed that both 2020 GT4 European Series Champions Valentin Hasse-Clot (no stranger to the Beechdean team) and Theo Nouet completed some laps within the #97 car in addition to those of Howard.

That time will come as and when the team officially confirm their full driver line up for the six-round series (including the Spa 24) with drivers probably getting busy themselves ahead of their next set of official testing later this week at the World Endurance Championship’s Prologue over at Sebring in Florida.

The official Prologue test for the tenth year of WEC running starts this weekend around the infamous and notoriously challenging former WW2 airfield that now makes up the Sebring International raceway. With this also being the first collective running of any WEC class since the Rookie Test in Bahrain of last season, we would expect all of the teams and crews to be in attendance (even if not mandated to by Regulation) as personal and team experience around the 3.7-mile circuit would be at a premium ahead of the season opening round at the circuit less than a week later.

Three Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE crews are entered into this tenth year of running and all have already been confirmed by the team and Championship and all should be unaffected by any of this global lockdown on “Russian interests” abroad.

The #33 TF Sport entered car of Ben Keating, Marco Sorenson and Florian Latorre is back again to hopefully improve upon what Keating narrowly missed out upon last season with his P2 overall finish and they will be joined again within Tom Ferrier’s team by the Japanese D’Station Racing Vantage GTE crew of Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and new third man, Charlie Fagg.

The third AMR of Northwest AMR’s Paul Dalla Lana, Nicki Thiim and David Pittard completes an expected grid that should have been of thirty-seven cars overall and thirteen in the GTE Am Class within which all three Aston’s will compete in this year but then and for the reasons already said – we do expect that number to adjust down slightly as international restrictions take effect.

We do however see that going into the Sebring opener, the AMR Vantage GTE gets a 2 litre reduction in fuel capacity compared to its last running in the Championship in Bahrain whilst the Ferrari 488 gets a 1 litre increase as does the Porsche with a 3 litre increase accordingly!!

Like the GTWCE Series above, the Prologue will also run two open sessions per day of the test.

Photo credits - GTWCE / Teams

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes