More Aston Martin success as SRO America visited a weather affected Nola Motorsports Park

Sunday, April 30, 2023


Whilst we were busy being entertained by the rejuvenated performances of the three Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE teams within the World Endurance Championship at Spa Francorchamps, around the world saw seventeen similar crews to part in the latest rounds of their 2023 seasons around the world.

Principally in North America saw the second rounds of the GT World Challenge America and GT4 America Series as well as the third round of the sister GT America Series from the Nola Motorsport Park near New Orleans.

With six AMR Vantage GT4 powered crews competing again within the bronze driver powered GT America series, the results of their two forty-minute races would also become dependent upon the ability from each crew to adapt to the local weather conditions as torrential rain caused both delay within the meeting schedule as well as officially timed sessions on track.

Looking to continue the form seen at previous rounds at both St Petersburg and most recently at Sonoma, saw all the Flying Lizard, Chouest Povoledo and Heart of Racing crews lock out the opening qualifying session in class with Elias Sabo claiming his first pole position of the year in his #8 car. That however would change by the end of the race as Ross Chouest again took control to take the GT4 class win over the Flying Lizard entry of Jason Bell in second and Gray Newell in third.

Sunday’s second race would this time be under clear blue skies and sunshine, offering a different set of race results within the dominant AMR group within the GT4 class as Sabo would be the victor this time over a terrific drive from Todd Coleman within his #69 Archangel prepared car in second and Chouest again taking home more silverware in third.

As the series looks ahead to their next round from CoTA in mid-May, the GT4 Drivers Championship has closed right up with five AMR drivers within the top five spots with Bell still retaining a slender five points lead of Chouest in second with Newell just another point behind him in third.

In the GT4 America Series however, their two race programme would indeed be interrupted by the weather on Saturday with them losing daylight to run after the larger GT World Challenge America race heavily delayed before it.

They would eventually race just a single race on Sunday using their Am driver Qualifying times where Gray Newell would place his Heart of Racing AMR upon class pole with new co-driver Roman de Angelis in for the WEC busy Ian James.

Multiple Safety Car periods again affected the running of this solo one-hour race which saw the #69 Coleman/Billy Johnson Aston Martin sustain suspension damage on the opening lap only for safety cars to breed safety cars as others became stranded either in the gravel or on track.

During the intervening periods of racing, the #24 Heart car would be involved in a dice for the Pro-Am class lead with both the #7 and #47 Porsche’s but both of those would be pinged for pit stop transgressions allowing the new #24 duo to come home for the class win.

The #50 Chouest Povoledo car of their namesakes just missed out on the class podium in fourth despite having battled the #24 car for the lead at some point, but it was at least a strong showing from the #26 Heart of Racing Am entry for both Rianna O’Meara-Hunt and Hannah Grisham after their tough debut within the series at Sonoma with a P4 class finish.

To round things off in SRO America we had the #007 The Racers Group AMR Vantage GT3 of Derek DeBoer and (this) Valentin Hasse-Clot run again in the GT World Challenge America’s two ninety-minute races.

Having also debuted at Sonoma, greater knowledge and familiarity with their package allowed DeBoer to Qualify P5 in Pro-Am for the delayed race 1 and finish third in class despite the atrocious track conditions.

Prior to that, the Frenchman had also placed their #007 car into overall pole position for race 2 on Sunday, holding the lead throughout his opening stint but having to pit earlier than expected have lightly fuelled the car.

Despite losing overall track position, DeBoer would be racy on the now hot and dry track pushing their class and grid rivals all the way to survive a late Safety Car of their own to finish fourth overall and second in class for a second visit to the podium.

Photo credits - Series
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