Hard earned podium success for two AMR runners in opening race of GT4 European Series

Saturday, July 01, 2023


There was podium success for some of the Aston Martin Racing powered contingent at the end of yesterday’s opening race of round three of the GT4 European Series from Spa Francorchamps after the heavy rains of Thursday have now passed them by, it was to be a dry and warm end to the day of racing for what had become a grid of ‘just’ sixty cars.

There were unfortunately casualties within the group leading up to this stage of the weekend as the additional entry from the Racing One team on behalf of American GMG Racing team and their drivers Andy Lee and Todd Pariott had suffered an unseen incident on track during Free Practice 2 that consigned that #9 entry to the back of the team awning with irreparable damage.

That left the first Qualifying session, and it would be the #24 JSB Competition AMR Vantage GT4 of Julian Briche who would steal the honours with an overall front row start in P2 and on pole position for their silver class entry. The #7 Mirage AMR of Louis Meric/Romain Carton was not far behind in P5 overall with the #74 Racing Spirit of Leman entry of Victor Weyrich and Konstantin Lachenaur beside them in P6.

Holding the lead into turn one at the start, the #24 car would just hold onto the lead on the opening laps as the huge chasing bunch squabbled and slow themselves down behind and before two cars had contact at the bus stop leaving one stranded on car and another leaving fluid across the racing surface.

Fifteen minutes were lost behind the Safety Car during that clean-up process and at the restart, the race entered only its second racing lap. With such an expansive field, battles between cars in differing classes were everywhere as the #19 Racing One AMR of Andreas Bachman was paying very close attention to the rear of Jamie Day’s #5 Mirage.

By the time the pit window opened, the #24 JSB Aston had opened up a 1.2 second lead although preferred not to pit until the very end of the process. Those who pitted early hoped to make the jump off track as the masses delayed themselves battling for position both on track and through the pit lane.

With all cars having pitted, the #48 GPA Racing car of Bailey Voisin and a deputing Tom Verdier suffered rearward contact with a McLaren that would send the Frenchman hard into the tyre wall which (together with another incident elsewhere on track) would eventually bring out the Safety Car again.

Losing his then six second lead, Florian Briche now had the remaining grid directly behind all trying to pressurise him into a mistake at the restart. With just eight minutes remaining the race went back to green and Briche was very quickly being swamped for position but battle hard he did to keep himself within the top three overall ass the race entered its final lap.

With the #24 car now in P3, a charging Ruben Del Sarte had lifted the #5 Mirage Aston up to P6 whilst a once charging Lachenaur had sadly gone the wrong way in his #74 car to find himself battling hard in P15.

Eventually crossing the line in P4 (#24) and P5 (#5), post-race time penalties would quickly take effect on the finishing order as the #24 was given a ten second penalty for track limits that would cast them down to P11 overall (P4 in class) whilst the #5 Mirage crew would eventually step up on to the silver Class podium in third as a result. The #72 GPA Racing Am crew of Florent Grizaud and Kevin Jimenez would complement that achievement with another P3 finish in class for their efforts.

Race 2 takes place later this morning.

Photo credits - Series / social media
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