A worrying start turned out good for The Racers Group around Road America

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The GT World Challenge America Series of course completed the SRO trilogy of series from Road America with the #007 The Racers Group Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 of Derek DeBoer and Valentin Hasse-Clot back in action together.

Like the GT4 America before it, their last action together was around the small but perfectly formed Virginia International raceway back in mid-June when the crew came away with a fourth and seventh in class after the two races there, so it was hoped that the longer, more open circuit in Wisconsin would provide the blue AMR with greater possibilities amongst its seventeen strong grid.

After the pleasantries of a downtown car and drivers parade with the locals, it was supposed to be quickly back down to business for the #007 crew for the two Free Practice sessions, but technical issues (brakes) would restrict the duo to just eleven laps over both sessions putting both onto the back foot going in Qualifying.

Starting Saturday’s ninety-minute opener, DeBoer would start from P14 on the grid and enjoyed something of an apparent BoP adjustment from series as the Aston Martin had 10kg of ballast removed from it going into race 1.

An early place gain for the #007 saw the race going under the Safety Car as a Mercedes AMG GT3 lost it through the Kink. Going back to green the race quickly came back under the Safety Car as the Pro-Am Championship leading Porsche threw itself into the tyre wall and retirement, as well as losing another ten minutes of the race.

Appearing as one of the fastest on track at the time, DeBoer would move up to P11 by the time the pit window opened, and the #007 car pitted, leaving the young Frenchman with a few target cars ahead of him to pass.

Dropping back to P12 overall and P6 in class, an easy pass was made as the #8 car ahead was given a drive through penalty before Hasse-Clot moved up to P9/P3 going into the final fifteen minutes before eventually taken the chequered flag in that position for another much-deserved podium finish.

Sunday obviously saw Hasse-Clot make the start from his P11 overall starting slot which was fortunately maintained during the frantic opening laps but once warmed up, the front six soon moved away from the rest of the pack.

With the Pro drivers all aboard, the racing was very competitive but very respectful as the race clock countered down towards the pit window and Hasse-Clot would pit from a very spirited P10 overall. Going into the final thirty minutes, it appear that DeBoer’s greatest battle would be by defending his then P10 position overall from the charging #120 Porsche after their off in during race 1 but a significant incident on track between two Mercedes (one the overall race leader) saw that come to halt as the Safety Car was again required.

Both involved drivers otherwise OK considering, it became a ten-minute dash to the flag as DeBoer has only a couple of seconds to make up to enjoy another podium finish and to round off what became another good weekend for the team, the #007 would take the flag P8 overall but still just off the Pro-Am podium in P4.

Like both the GT America and GT4 America Series, the next round will be their penultimate round of the season at Sebring in four weeks’ time.

Photo credits – Team / Series

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