Nine Aston Martins for SRO Americas opener at Sonoma next weekend (UPDATED)

Saturday, March 30, 2024


As the SRO begins its racing exploits in Europe this weekend, it will be likewise over in North America next weekend as their trilogy of series – the GT America, GT4 America and GT World Challenge America all convene at the Sonoma Raceway in California for their opening rounds to their 2024 seasons.

With the provisional entry lists to each series having been published earlier this week, there appears to be something of an unfortunate downturn in both overall numbers participating within each series as well as a downturn in the number of Aston Martin Racing powered teams since those heady days of a couple of years ago where entry numbers of Aston Martins were regularly pushing double digit numbers.

Working in the order of the GT World Challenge America Series first, there will again only be one Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 entered for the full season with the Flying Lizard duo of Elias Sabo and Andy Lee replacing last year’s entry from the Racers Group and drivers Derek DeBoer and Valentin Hasse Clot (although we will be seeing their old car again). Sabo (with Pro driver Lee) is just one of several former GT4 racers stepping up to the GT3 class this season but the only AMR runner to take the plunge within the multi-class GT3 only series. Their #8 car will run within the Pro-Am class.

Sabo acquired a new 16A version of the AMR Vantage GT3 which he has ran in winter testing but wants to convert that into the newer 2024 38A version of the car – at this stage to the proceedings, we don’t know if the team has that conversion kit and/or enough spares for his to run in that format at the season opener next weekend.

UPDATE - On Sunday we found out that Saba's car has now been converted up to the 2024 38A version and that they have had AMR factory driver Henrique Chaves help them set the car up in recent testing at Sonoma.

Then, within the GT America Series – a series ran for bronze rated drivers only within either GT3, GT2 or GT4 format, we have five Aston Martin Racing powered entries with two of those running within the GT3 (SRO3) class for the first time.

Across the team garage to Sabo and Lee will be the all new 2024 AMR Vantage of reigning GT America GT4 Champion Jason Bell after he elected not to step up to the two-driver format of the GT World Challenge Series this year. 

His new car only arrived stateside a couple of weeks ago, but he and the team have been out testing within that and his still retained Vantage GT4 cars in build up to this event.

In turn, they will be joined on track by the former Racers Group AMR Vantage GT3, this time in the hands of Tim Savage and the Prosport Competition team as both step up from the Vantage GT4 efforts of last year.

Then in GT4, we have the returning #25 Heart of Racing AMR Vantage GT4 of Gray Newell (someone who’s not quite stepping up to GT3 level despite racing that class of car elsewhere in the world with others from within the team) as well as the returning Flying Lizard Vantage GT4 of Todd Parriott.

At the foot of the entry list, we see the #69 Archangel AMR Vantage GT4 of Todd Coleman has returned to the SRO for the first time since leaving the series under something of a cloud midway through last season. We assume that this is just for seat time as he suffered something of a nightmare start within the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series with a chaotic season debut at Daytona in January and a fire ending DNF next time at Sebring just a couple of weeks ago.

Finally, within the GT4 America Series we see the biggest difference in entry levels as just twenty-eight cars sign up for round one (at least) with just three Aston Martin Racing powered entries amongst them.

The Heart of Racing again field two Vantage GT4 crews (strangely neither listed as being within the new 2024 40A version) for driver crews Gray Newell and Roman De Angelis aboard the #24 car and a revised all female crew of a returning Hannah Grisham this time alongside Hannah Greenemeir aboard their #26 car. The #24 car will again run in the Pro-Am class with the #26 car again in the Am class.

The AMR entry will be rounded off by the #13 Flying Lizard Pro-Am entry of Todd Parriott and Tom Dyer who return for their first full season effort together.

Both series will have two races each of the weekend with track action starting on Friday.

Photo credits – Teams / social media
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