And then the Aston Martin fortunes changed ..............

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The weekend just gone was certainly another ‘all or nothing’ affair for the many Aston Martin Racing powered crews that competed around the world as their efforts were rewarded with either silverware for a job well done or the thought of what might have been.

Whilst we have already seen about the successes within the British GT Championship, the NLS and the ADAC GT4 Germany Series, the remaining bastion of celebration came from South Africa as the Into Africa AMR racing team celebrated a multitude of firsts with their Vantage GT3 and driver Stuart White.

Two Pole positions, two race wins and a lap record came there way after the latest round of the G&H Extreme Supercar Series from the Killarney Racetrack near Cape Town at the weekend.

Meanwhile in Austria, their now close friends at Street Art Racing were involved in their latest round of the GT Open Championship from the Red Bull Ring where drivers Pascal Bachman and Jahid Fazal-Karim were racing their Vantage GT3 amongst the Am class runners again. Whilst a P8 in class would be taken as a decent finish for the Am/novice pairing after race one on Saturday, another DNF on Sunday sets the tone for the rest of this review of the weekends activities.

Being otherwise preoccupied at Brands Hatch on Sunday, the early hours of Sunday for us in Europe also saw the running of the penultimate round of the World Endurance Championship from the Fuji Speedway circuit in Japan.

Whilst the preliminary track sessions had seen problems with the #25 ORT with TF Sport AMR Vantage GTE of Ahmad Al Harthy, Michael Dinan and Charlie Eastwood, there would be a robust Qualifying run from both the #777 D’Station Racing and #98 Northwest (Heart of Racing) AMR Vantage GTE crews of Satoshi Hoshino/Tomonobu Fujii/Casper Stevenson and Ian James/Alex Riberas/Daniel Mancinelli respectively to attain a second row start each ahead of that six-hour race.

With the locally based #777 soon taking the class lead on pace, there could have been a snipped of possibility that the AMR Vantage GTE’s poor run to date within the championship could have allowed then to continue with its podium winning form at the circuit over recent years especially with that class lead extending into the second hour.

However bad luck would again prevail as issues within the #25 car continued to blight and the #777 slumped down to P10 in class after contact with the #98 Northwest crew then running as the highest Aston in P4 before they too struggled against the superior pace of those around them – and we are especially confused as to the blistering pace of the new championship winning Corvette considering its maximum ballast weight – for all three to eventually finish in the lower half of the thirteen strong class again.

With the Championship already won long before the long trip to Japan and with the GTE platform being mothballed at the end of the season, it’s hard to see just where any motivation can come from within the three AMR powered teams as they now look forward to the finale in Bahrain at the start of November. At least there's a decent party afterwards!!

Photo credits – Teams / Series / social media / D Gibson / A Lofthouse
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