A whirlwind round up of last weekends racing activities

Monday, October 16, 2023


Four further race series came to an end around the world at the weekend with what appears to be the Aston Martin Racing powered having to make do with second best from their efforts this season in many of them.

In North America, the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship, Michelin Pilot Challenge and VP Racing Sportscar Challenge Series all came to an end at the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta circuit with the GT4 based classes rounding off what will have been for them a very disjointed and frustrating season whilst the headlining GT3 powered crews will be looking back upon what might have been.

Despite early promises within the new for 2023 VP Racing Sportscar Challenge Series, just two AMR Vantage GT4 drivers took part at this final round as both Scott Blind and Brady Behrman took at a look at what this circuit had to offer under IMSA rules for the first time.

Whilst Blind scored a third within the inter-class Bronze Cup after Thursday’s opening with his #45 Ruckus Racing entry, a DNF and then a DNS for Behrman rounded off a rotten weekend for him and his Van Der Steur crew.

Then in the Michelin Pilot Challenge Series, another decreased AMR powered entry of just three runners saw just the #46 Team TGM entry of Hugh and Matt Plumb break through into the top ten in class with a P9 finish after the end of the final two-hour race with the team #64 car of Ted Giovanis and Owen Trinkler in P14 with the #19 Van Der Steur entry of Rory Van Der Steur and Austin McCusker scrapping it home in a distant P19.

None of these entries retained any Championship aspirations going into this final race weekend, but it’s always good to end what may have been a challenging year on something of a high to tide you over the winter months and next season – something that in these Series starts in late January.

Within the Weathertech Sportscar Championship, the #27 Heart of Racing entry of Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorenson and Ian James did retain some Championship ambition within their allotted GTD class as their season reached the title defining round of the ten hour visit to Petit Le Mans.

Despite James qualifying the car on pole, the performance from the title leading #1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GTD crew was enough for that crew to lift the GTD crown from the title defending Heart of Racing crew despite the #27 crew outscoring them again at the final round. The #44 Magnus Racing AMR crew of John Potter, Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly, would have an awful season finally with their engine letting them down hours.

Their results saw the crew and team secure P2 within the Drivers / Team / Manufacturers title battles in GTD whilst their #23 GTD Pro line up of Ross Gunn, Alex Riberas and David Pittard had to make do with a P5 overall finish within the Drivers and Team’s Championship battles.

With the Heart of Racing firmly within the GT and sportscar news of late, it will be very much about what the team will have coming up next season (with the new ‘evo’ version of the AMR Vantage GT3 across the world as well as the Valkyrie just beyond that as well.

We also said farewell to those at CSJ Motorsport as they leave the extended AMR family at the end of this North American race season

Completing the weekend round up saw the #50 MKH Racing AMR Vantage GT4 crew of Peter Montague and Stuart Hall unable to beat the Venture Innovations Mercedes AMG GT4 at the final round of the British Endurance Championship at Donington Park on Saturday, finishing behind the #21 car both on track and in the Champiosnhip for their efforts.

The guesting Newbridge AMR Vantage GT4 of Tom Canning and Humaira Mushtaq did manage to complete the two-hour race together, despite the cold and wet conditions for the UK/Championship/AMR deputising Indian racer.

Likewise, the #47 D’Station Racing AMR Vantage GT8R crew again finished behind their Super Taikyu Series ST-1 class leading #2 KTM X-Bow crew at this weekend’s penultimate round of the series from Okayama. 

Needing to beat them and for them not being classified as only they compete within the same class; their 2023 season efforts appear to be restricted to that of class runners up again this season.

For Stuart White and his Into Africa Racing AMR Vantage GT3, there would be yet another lap record for the combination at the latest round of the G&H Extreme Supercars Series at Zwartkops in South Africa.

Photo credits – Teams / Series / social media / J Price Photo
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