Oulton Park leads straight into Long Beach and Portimao for some within the AMR community

Friday, April 07, 2023


For some at Oulton Park this weekend, the falling of the chequered flag to Mondays second race of the opening round of the British GT Championship will simply see the start of their next as many within the Aston Martin Racing factory squad need to be at either Portimao or Long Beach in time for their next action later next week.

IMSA’s Weathertech Sportscar Championship will be running their third-round next weekend from the street circuit of Long Beach in California for the GTD runners with AMR’s Ross Gunn being a highly sought after commodity in both the British GT Championship paddock with Beechdean AMR but also with the Heart of Racing team in IMSA.

Having partnered Andrew Howard around Oulton Park this weekend, Gunn will again partner with Alex Riberas within the teams #23 AMR Vantage GTD Pro entry alongside the teams #27 GTD entry of Roman De Angelis and Marco Sorenson.

With two big events of the season down at both Daytona and Sebring already, it sees the #23 duo with some tough work to do as they lay in sixth overall with the #27 GTD pairing having dropped down to P5 in their class having been ‘taken out’ during the night at Sebring.

This round of the IMSA calendar will see just the topflight GTP class compete alongside the two GTD classes with a collective grid of just 28 entries for this 100-minute sprint that will run on Saturday.

On the flip side of that but also at Oulton Park with Beechdean AMR will see a number of their crew needing to make a quick dash for the airport as their services will be required by the Northwest AMR team at the second round of the World Endurance Championship from Portimao.

Having already missed the British GT Media Day due to their presence at Sebring for the official Prologue test and opening round of the 2023 season in Florida, these crews will again join up with the two crews supporting the ORT with TF Sport and D’Station Racing Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE teams that are full season entries within the WEC.

Last time out around the bumps of Sebring saw three AMR’s apparently ‘languishing’ to the rear of the thirteen strong GTE Am Class during the prologue before upping their pace once the opening round proper got underway for the #25 ORT With TF car of Ahmad Al Harthy, Michael Dinan and Charlie Eastwood to qualify on the second row in third ahead of that eight-hour (1000mile) opener.

An early puncture for Dinan in his opening stint dropped that car back whilst the #777 D’Station car of Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and the debuting Casper Stevenson saw them take over the lead role for a short time as did the #98 Northwest AMR of Paul Dalla Lana, Nikki Thiim and another debutant in Axcil Jefferies.

Whilst opening race trials and tribulations hit most with the class (and grid) the longer the race went out saw the three Aston’s fall further and further back as tyre wear (and further punctures) became an issue and the dominant Corvette stretched its lead still further for three Astons to finish nose to tail of each other but only starting from nineth in the results.

Back to Europe for the next two rounds before the big anniversary race at Le Mans has already seen at least one of the AMR teams drop gear and equipment off at Portimao ahead of next weekend’s race to help lessen the impact of crews otherwise engaged in the days leading up to this event.

With the top three cars from Sebring now affected in base weight by the Class’s Balance of Performance regime, it is obviously hoped that whilst some are ‘slowed’ this will allow the Aston’s to make up the ground lost to them in Florida.

Photo credits – A Lofthouse / D Gibson / Teams

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