A bruising encounter for the AMR teams on the streets of Detroit yesterday

Sunday, June 04, 2023


It was to be another bruising encounter for many of the five Aston Martin Racing powered teams within this weekend’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series fresh visit to Detroit and their new foe 2023 short street circuit layout.

With the Detroit round of the IMSA calendar normally reserved for GTP’s and GT runners of the Weathertech Sportscar Championship, this year’s event was rescheduled to run with just the GS (GT4) entries of the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series who would run their first visit to any wholly based street circuit for the first time in nearly fifteen years.

Again running with the two entries from Team TGM, Van Der Steur, Archangel Motorsport and Accelerating Performance, it would be the #19 Van Der Steur car of Rory Van Der Steur who would again claim the highest Qualifying position of the five – not quite on pole like last time out at Laguna Seca but in P5 ahead of the one-hundred-minute sprint race on Saturday – that would turn into P4 after a post session penalty for another car.

Hugh and Matt Plumb were next best in P9 with Moisey Uretsky and Michael Cooper again pairing up aboard the #44 car to start P9, with the #88 Archangel car of Todd Coleman and Patrick Lindsey P16 and the #63 TGM car of Ted Giovanis and Owen Trinkler bringing up the rear of the grid – obviously not gelling with the demands of this new circuit layout.

Considering a circuit based around the grid system of any large American town or city, twenty-two GS cars thundering down into a tight 180-degree left hander didn’t bring about any waved yellows or indeed contact as all drivers showed abject discipline and control to avoid that and its ensuing and race destroying period of caution.

Van der Steur held fourth during the opening stages but a mistake from the #19 car soon dropped him back to P14 as the top 3 runners started to break away and after just twenty minutes of running, unseen contact for the #64 car had Giovanis back into pit lane with a broken tie rod and into immediate retirement as a consequence.

That left Hugh Plumb leading the AMR charge, or at least what was supposed to be but for the AMR Vantage GT4’s continued poor Balance of Performance that has seen the car loose much of its power compared to its peers for the whole season so far!

Just before the forty-minute mark and with minimum drive time already completed with the end of the race within sight of a single stint, many of the tailenders began pitting for service and driver changes. Staying out for a few more laps, the #19 Van Der Steur car soon had the so far dominating Turner BMW M4 GT4 upon its tail and going into T1 for position.

Car failure or simply driver error, what ensued next was nothing but scary as the #95 car rode up the back of the Aston Martin and then right over the top of it for both cars to come to a grinding halt within the outer tyre wall. Miraculously, both cars were still able to drive away from the scene but only as far as pit lane where both were retired.

Visibly shaken by the events, Van Der Steur was seen existing what was left of his car under his own steam to be checked over and OK’s by attending medical staff. Van Der Steur later praised the construction of his Aston Martin for protecting him so well in such an impact as that.

The resulting Safety Car neutralised the race for the next twenty minutes with the remaining cars allowed to pit for service once the immediate drama had been controlled on track. Great driving from both Uretsky and Coleman had seen them preserve their own cars in mid table positions before handing them over with little under an hour to go.

However, with what was left on the clock and the power available to them under their right foot, that again proved to be insufficient for their needs as the BMW’s and Mercedes romped away out front to leave the #44’s move into the top 10 the highlight of the event for the AMR runners. The #46 TGM car would finish P12 whilst the #88 would eventually come home P15 out of the declared seventeen strong finishers!

Next stop Watkins Glen in little over three weeks’ time.

Photo credits – Teams / social media
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