Aston Martin powered success under the darkened skies of Spa Francorchamps yesterday

Sunday, July 02, 2023


Yesterday’s second race of the third round of the 2023 GT4 European Series got underway from soaking wet Spa Francorchamps all in stark contrast to the natural glory that was the opening round.

Whilst we then thought that the rain would simply add to the spice of the upcoming one-hour race, we later learned of the tragedy that already had befallen the motor racing community with the confirmation of the loss of eighteen-year-old single seater racer Dilano Vant Hoff in an earlier support race. 

Starting from behind the Safety Car, the now fifty-seven strong grid carefully went about their opening laps once the race went to green – just how much information the drivers knew at the time of the race is unclear, but Vant Hoff was clearly known to many drivers within the grid, and it was reassuring to see (in hindsight) that at least best advice was being heeded by all during these difficult opening laps.

Overnight work by the GPA Racing team had got their #48 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 back on track for driver Tom Verdier after his race 1 incident where a McLaren had tapped him heavily into the tyre wall on his outlap, but he and co-driver Bailey Voisin would come back to complete the best race of their series so far.

Two quick succession Safety Car periods were called as the results of (thankfully) minor collisions between competitors that left cars stranded both on track and in the gravel just ahead of the opening of the pit stop window.

Delayed by these incidences, the pit stop window was finally completed as the track slowly cleared of both standing water and spray from the cars to allow a faster developing race to ensue with several Aston Martins jockeying for position in class.

The most notable was the #18 Team Spirit Racing AMR of Lorenz Stegmann who, having just taken over from Marcus Lungstrass was metaphorically ploughing through the ranks in still tricky conditions to elevate his position from 4th, up to third and then higher as the laps counted down. Despite his heroics of race 1, Ruben Del Sarte was finding the conditions trickier than he had hoped for as he slipped down the order with a wide excursion around the parameter of the circuit before re-joining.

The #72 GPA Racing AMR of Kevin Jimenez was also looking good for a possible Am Class podium finish to go with the P3 that he and Florent Grizaud earned themselves in race 1, but an inadvertent off-track experience for them dropped them out of contention in third to a distant fourth at the end.

As the Belgian circuit brightened up for the final lap, we saw a great inter AMR team competitive run in to the flag between the #74 Racing Spirit of Leman car in P9, the #48 GPA Aston in P10 and the #18 Team Racing Spirit in P11.

Also coming home with podium success of their own was the #89 AGS Events Racing Aston Martin of Nicolas Gomar and Mike Parisy. Having endured something of a difficult season and a half in both GT4 European Series and the FFSA GT4 Series, it’s great to see these guys get some kind of reward back for their efforts as they finished P3 in the Pro-Am class as well.

The next race of the series will be at Misano, Italy in two weeks’ time.

Photo credits – GT4 European Series
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