Mixed fortunes amongst the podium finishes for the AMR runners in GT4 America

Monday, August 21, 2023


The GT4 America Series certainly gave two highly eventful races around Road America at the weekend with the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 powered crews finally getting to race at least some of their opposition, although some of it didn’t result quite how they had planned.

Round five of the season and six such teams made their way north to the Wisconsin circuit having enjoyed something of an eight-week break since their last round at VIR in June.

The four full season entries from the Heart of Racing, Chouest Povoledo Racing and Flying Lizards teams were all back in attendance although there was (like the GT America Series before it) some adjustment with the remaining entries as Van Der Steur served us up another driver crew whilst the GMG Racing was a new entry.

The #24 Heart crew of Gray Newell and Roman De Angelis where certainly out to improve upon the disappointment of VIR whilst their all girl #26 crew of Hannah Grisham and Rianna O’Meara-Hunt were each getting faster and more consistent as their Am Class season progressed. The #8 Flying Lizard crew of Elias Sabo/Andy Lee and the #50 Chouest Povoledo crew of tehir namesakes Ross and Aaron were also already up to speed in Pro-Am although the Aston was clearly not the speediest platform within.

Hitting the hot and humid circuit of Road America this weekend, there were signs of progress as Grisham hit P4 overall during Q1, only marginally beaten by three silver grade crews whilst their #24 crew were also within the top five within Pro-Am.

Unfortunately for the #26 crew, a necessary chassis change before the race saw that effort go to waste and for Grisham having to start race 1 from the rear of the grid as the race finally got underway towards the end of the day.

Always chasing the faster silver crews, the #24 Heart crew led the AMR charge with the new #119 Rory Van Der Steur VDS Aston behind and the #8 car of Sabo behind him. Disaster soon become the #50 car however as rear contact with a McLaren from Chouest caused himself and the McLaren crew race ending damage that would also bring out the Safety Car after a further car hit the outside retaining walls hard and stopped on track.

Nearly fifteen minutes were lost to that clean up with Newell doing well to keep the silver grade car of Van Der Steur behind once the race went back to green. Further confusion came during the pit window as a Toyota also hit the wall, but the race did stay green long enough for all to complete their mandatory stop before falling back behind the Safety Car again.

With De Angelis now aboard the #24, a near miss for him came as to cars hit each other immediately behind but terminal trouble soon came the way of O’Meara-Hunt as contact of her own with the #26 car would see them retire from the race and the event as that damage was irreparable at the circuit. That pain for the team would however be lessened by the performance of the #24 as De Angelis brought the car home to take the win Pro-Am behind the Safety Car.

The #8 Flying Lizard car would take P4, the #119 VDS car of Van Der Steur and Jamie Day would take P4 in Silver with the #13 GMG Aston Martin finally coming home P7 in Pro-Am.

Sunday’s second race was a mess right from the start of issues during Q2 didn’t see enough cars make representative lap times due to a prolonged red flag situation which meant that grid position was set by their times during FP2.

That saw the #13 GMG Racing car of Tom Dyer take his first series start in an Aston Martin from the front row, the #8 car from the second row and the #119 from the sixth row. A much repaired #50 car would take the start but from the pit lane.

With the top five (mainly silver grade crews) quickly breaking away from the pack, Dyer paved the way for the chasing Astons as Lee easily countered the attacking gestures of a series debuting Day behind in P8. De Angelis also started from the rear of the grid – he wasn’t to have such a good race this time around as Povoledo passed him for position just before the pit window.

Another car off during the pit stop window this time saw the Safety Car called leaving some crews high and dry. Although the #119 car did pit within regulation, a technical issue aboard the #119 saw Van Der Steur fall away and disappear from the running order to spoil what had otherwise been a decent weekend for them.

Again, another length caution eventually saw the race get back to green with fifteen minutes remaining but by this time the #13 car of Todd Parriott had fallen away for Sabo to take the AMR powered lead in P3 with both Chouest and Newell distant P14/15.

Continuing a Road America resurgence in Aston Martin GT4 America fortune, the #8 Flying Lizard car of Sabo and Lee secured a Pro-Am P3 finish with the #13 crew coming home a very credible P6 in class and the #24 crew P9.

The series now has another four-week sabbatical before racing resumes at its penultimate round of Sebring in mid-September.

Photo credits – Team / Series
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