lundi 24 octobre 2016

Aston Martin enjoyed a very successful weekend at Estoril, home of the season finale of the 2016 European Le Mans Series.

The British brand and its customer teams clinched two prestigious victories, three championship titles and two Le Mans invitations in Portugal.

In the European Le Mans Series race, Beechdean AMR won the four-hour event with the #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE shared by Darren Turner, Andrew Howard and Alex McDowell.

The Aston Martin drivers dominated the Portuguese event and took the GTE driver's title ahead of Ferrari's Andrea Bertolini, Robert Smith and Rory Butcher. Beechdean AMR secured the team's title ahead of JMW Motorsport.

In the supporting Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup, Aston Martin customer team TF Sport won the two-hour race on Saturday. The winning #34 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 was driven by Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey.

A strong result enough to give TF Sport the team's title in the new ACO organized series. A second championship title for them this year after clinching the British GT crown.

Beechdean AMR and TF Sport have secured invitations for next year's Le Mans 24 Hours. The two UK based teams are expected to field Aston Martin Vantage GTEs at La Sarthe.

Photos: ELMS / Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup / Adrenal Media

ELMS and GT3 Le Mans Cup, perfect weekend for Aston Martin Racing at Estoril

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dimanche 23 octobre 2016

The Estoril circuit in Portugal played host to an action-packed and thrilling season finale of the 2016 European Le Mans Series.

Beechdean AMR won the GTE class after dominating the four-hour event. The winning #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE was driven by Darren Turner, Andrew Howard and Alex McDowell.

The opening stages were highlighted by a great battle for GTE supremacy between the race winning Aston Martin and the JMW Motorsport Ferrari. The latter faced a real drama in the second hour of the race.

The British #66 Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Andrea Bertolini, Robert Smith and Rory Butcher was forced to head back to its garage twice. A first time after facing technical issues and later the car was collected by an LMP3 Ligier from United Autosports. The Ferrari didn't finish the race which means the title went to Beechdean AMR.

Sadness at the Ferrari camp and joy at the Aston Martin one. Darren Turner, Andrew Howard and Alex McDowell won the driver's title. Beechean AMR clinched the team's one ahead of JMW Motorsport. The two British teams secured invitations for next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Second place in GTE in the Estoril round went to Alessandro Pier Guidi, Alexander Talkanitsa and Alexander Talkanitsa Jr. at the wheel of the #56 Ferrari 458 Italia from AT Racing

Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Aaron Scott completed the class poduim sharing the AF Corse run #55 Ferrari 458 Italia ahead of the sister #51 car.

Proton Competition's two Porsches were fifth with the #88 911 RSR and sixth with the #77 machine

Photos: ELMS / Adrenal Media

Beechdean AMR wins ELMS Estoril finale and the GTE titles

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Watch LIVE the 4 Hours of Estoril, round six and season finale of the 2016 European Le Mans Series. A total of 37 cars will compete in the Portuguese event, 8 of which are GTEs.

JMW Motorsport Ferrari and Beechdean AMR Aston Martin teams are going to battle for the GTE title. A Porsche from Proton Competition will start from class's pole position.

LIVE STREAM: 4 Hours of Estoril - European Le Mans Series finale

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samedi 22 octobre 2016

The TF Sport Aston Martin racing team has won an automatic invitation for next year's Le Mans 24 Hours in the GTE-Am class after clinching the title in the inaugural Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup at Estoril.

The privateer British squad won the two-hour event and season finale with their #34 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 driven by Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey.

The Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup is a supporting series to the European Le Mans Series and open to FIA GT3 spec cars.

Photo: GT3 Le Mans Cup

TF Sport wins GT3 Le Mans Cup title and GTE-Am invitation for Le Mans 2017

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Proton Competition's Ben Barker has taken the GTE pole position for tomorrow's 4 Hours of Estoril, the season finale of the 2016 European Le Mans Series.

At the wheel of the #88 Porsche 911 RSR, the British driver set the quickest time class in a wet ten-minute qualifying session, 1:54.754. An impressive performance for Ben Barker is his first appearance this year in the ELMS with German squad.

Ben Barker:

It's fantastic for Proton Competition. This is my first round with them and it's my first pole position this season as well. It's fantastic for everyone and this is a good start for tomorrow.

Alessandro Pier Gudi was second fastest driving the #56 Ferrari 458 Italia from AT Racing.

Marco Cioci completed the top-three in GTE with the AF Corse run #51 Ferrari 458 Italia ahead of team-mate Matt Griffin, fourth with the sister #55 machine.

GTE leader Andrea Bertolini was sixth with the JMW Motorsport #66 Ferrari 458 Italia. Mikkel Mac was seventh with the #60 Ferrari 458 Italia from Formula Racing. Wolf Henzler was seventh with the Proton Competition #77 Porsche 911 RSR. 

Beechdean AMR had a frustrating qualifying session, Darren Turner was eighth fastest driving the #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Photo: ELMS / Adrenal Media

Ben Barker gives Porsche GTE pole at Estoril

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AF Corse's Marco Cioci was the fastest in a very close second European Le Mans Series practice session at the Estoril circuit.

At the wheel of the #51 Ferrari 458 Italia, he set the best time in class with 1:45.976. The Italian ace shared the CAR with team-mates Rui Aguas and Piergiuseppe Perazzini.

Darren Turner, Andrew Howard and Alex MacDowall were second fastest with the #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE from Beechdean AMR.

The top-three in GTE was completed by Johnny Laursen, Mikkel Mac and Christina Nielsen sharing the Formula Racing run #60 Ferrari 458 Italia.

The JMW Motorsport #60 Ferrari 458 Italia was fourth. The Proton Competition #77 Porsche 911 RSR was fifth. The AT Racing #56 Ferrari 458 Italia was sixth. The AF Corse #55 Ferrari 458 Italia was seventh. The Proton Competition #88 Porsche 911 RSR was eighth.

The ten-minute qualifying session will start at 12:45 local time.

Photo: Ferrari Media

AF Corse topped GTE in Estoril second practice

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vendredi 21 octobre 2016

Proton Competition's Wolf Henzler was the fastest in the GTE class in the opening European Le Mans Series practice session at the Estoril Circuit.

The German ace set a best time 1:40.165 at the wheel of the #77 Porsche 911 RSR. He shared the car with team-mates Mike Hedlund and Marco Seefried.

The ninty-minute session was highlighted by multiple incidents and was red flagged with twenty minutes to go.

The AT Racing #56 Ferrari 458 Italia was second quickest in GTE. Another Ferrari completed the top-three in class, the #51 458 Italia from AF Corse.

Beechdean AMR was fourth with the #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE. The AF Corse #55 Ferrari 458 Italia was fifth.

GTE points leaders from JMW Motorsport were sixth with the #66 Ferrari 458 Italia. The Proton Competition #88 Porsche 911 RSR was seventh. The Formula Racing #60 Ferrari 458 Italia was eight.

Estoril First Practice Results

Action at Estoril will resume on Saturday with a second ninty-minute practice session followed by the ten-minute qualfying one.

Wolf Henzler and Porsche lead GTE in Estoril first practice

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GT driver, Matt Griffin heads to Estoril circuit in Portugal this weekend for the 6th and final round of the 2016 European Le Mans Championship.

Griffin teams up with his regular teammates, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott in their AF Corse run, #55 Ferrari 458 GTE.  The trio are currently lying 5th in the championship after being hit with some bad luck earlier in the season, however they have always been fast and are heading to Estoril after a podium in the previous round held at Spa Francorchamp Belgium.

“Estoril is a great track so I am definitely looking forward to the race this weekend.  Overall this year things have not quite gone our way but we have always been fast and finally at the last round in Spa we managed to turn the speed into a result with 3rd place so I am really confident we can be on the podium and fight for the win on Sunday” explained Griffin.

With a total of 37 cars on the grid and having raced at Estoril circuit twice previously in European Le Mans Series, Matt is feeling confident with the mathematical chance of finishing 2nd in the 2016 championship.

Matt continues “I know Estoril quite well after racing here for the past two seasons so I hope the track knowledge helps me.  Weather conditions can be really changeable in this part of Portugal at this time of the year, so I am expecting a tough race and as always with the ELMS, the competition will be fierce with every car on the grid capable of winning the race. We have a chance to finish in 2nd in the championship if everything goes perfect but I’m just focused on trying to win the race”

The race weekend kicks off with free practice on Friday.  Qualifying takes place at lunchtime on Saturday with the 4h race due to start at 13.30 CET on Sunday.

Matt Griffin Press Release

Photo: ELMS / Adrenal Media

Matt Griffin aiming high for ELMS final at Estoril

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Christina Nielsen will contest her final race of a packed season at the season finale of the 2016 European Le Mans Series (ELMS) in Estoril this weekend.

In her North American series, Nielsen and Scuderia Corsa teammate Alessandro Balzan secured both the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar GT Daytona Championship and the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup title earlier in October at the season finale at Petit Le Mans. Nielsen is now traveling back to Europe for her 16th endurance race of the year.

“It’s been a long but very successful season, Nielsen said. “We passed 100 hours of racing during Petit Le Mans and I am ready to finish the season on a high note.”

Since January, Nieslen has taken in the full 11-race IMSA calendar, plus the world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA season has also seen Nielsen score seven podium finishes, including a pair of class wins.

Estoril will be the fourth race of the six-round ELMS that Nielsen will start for the Formula Racing Danish team in the Ferrari 458 Italia GTE car.

The team missed the race at Imola in Italy after a practice accident and Nielsen stepped aside for the race at Paul Ricard in France due to a clash with her North American program as she worked to secure the Championship with Scuderia Corsa.

“It is fantastic to arrive back in Europe with a championship already won,” Nielsen said. “We can’t repeat that here but we can set our own targets for this last race of the season.”

“Others will be racing with one eye on the points standings. We just need to push as hard as we can for the best finish we can achieve. I know how good it feels to be on the podium and it would be great to finish with a podium here in Europe.”

Christina Nielsen Press Release

Christina Nielsen targets strong results in ELMS finale at Estoril

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jeudi 20 octobre 2016

Oliver Gavin enjoyed a very successful 2016 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Corvette Racing.

The British sportscar ace clinched the drivers' title in the ultra competitive GT Le Mans (GTLM) class along with team-mate Tommy Milner. The two drivers also managed to win the two stellar events of the series, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring at the wheel of the #4 Corvette C7.R.

We recently interviewed Oliver Gavin about his 2016 season with the factory Chevrolet squad in the IMSA series, Le Mans 24 Hours and more.

How emotional was it to win the GTLM title at Petit Le Mans?

It was very satisfying as well as emotional. There was also a certain sense of relief to get the car over the line and to get the championship wrapped up.

The previous two races for the No. 4 Corvette had been quite bruising and I think a pairing, crew and team with less experience than ours may have buckled under the pressure. We showed our resolve and delivered on everything that was asked of us.

You are sharing the #4 Corvette C7.R with Tommy Milner, how is the work split between the two of you during race weekends?

A lot depends on who is qualifying/starting the race. Whoever is qualifying/starting will do the majority of the work that weekend in practice/qualifying. Tommy and I are fortunate in that we like very similar cars.

So if it works for one of us it’s likely it’ll be good for the other. It makes the job of our engineer (Chuck Houghton) a little easier, even though he wouldn’t say that ;-)

There are no team orders at Corvette Racing, tell us more about the rivalry with the #3 of Magnussen and Garcia.

Well I think everyone could see how close it is between the two cars by the finish at Daytona. Each weekend our teammates are pushing us as hard as possible.

It’s a good rivalry with data being shared across the two cars and drivers comparing notes on setup changes and track conditions. We all get on well.

How competitive is the GTLM field in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship?

Each year we say that the competition gets more and more intense in our class, that has definitely gone up a notch with Ford coming in. The level of drivers is world class and we are racing in one of the most challenging championships in the world.

There are four classes but the performance level in those classes can vary widely with different tyres, car configurations, driver experience levels, unforgiving race tracks, to just name a few reasons. Never a dull moment, you have to be on your toes every lap.

Corvette Racing faced a frustrating 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, how penalizing was the BoP at La Sarthe?

Le Mans 2016 was tough. We had a certain expectation going into this year’s race and yes we were surprised how far off we were. That was frustrating and disappointing but we knuckled down and worked hard to make our cars better and faster. As soon as we left La Sarthe 2016, we started working on 2017 Le Mans 24hrs.

What is your favourite racing circuit?

Le Mans is right up there for the challenge of getting right lap after lap. The race is so unforgiving.
Many race tracks in the North America are still close to their original layouts and so rewarding and unforgiving at the same time.

The one that regularly gets my attention is Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, a massive thrill to drive around.

Photos: Chevrolet

Interview with Oliver Gavin - 2016 IMSA GTLM champion

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mardi 18 octobre 2016

Young Driver AMR has maintained its lead in the GTE Pro class drivers and teams championship of the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC). At the 6 Hours of Fuji in Japan, the seventh of nine rounds of the world championship, Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim finished fifth in the Aston Martin Racing entered #95 Young Driver AMR-Aston Martin Vantage V8. With two rounds to go in China and Bahrain in November, Sørensen/Thiim lead the championship by a margin of ten points.

After three consecutives pole positions, Sørensen/Thiim started fifth into the seventh round of the season. During the race, which turned out not to be the most exiting one of the season in the GTE Pro class, the two Danes dove their own race and finally finished fifth, one lap behind a pair of Fords and Ferrari after six uneventful hours.

„Fifth position was the maximum we could archive today“, Young Driver AMR´s Jan Struve said after the race. „Ford und Ferrari were too fast today and since we are leading the championship, we have to focus on this. At this stage of the season it’s important to bring the car to the finish and score points. This is what we did today. Neither the drivers, nor the team did a mistake today. We clearly didn’t had the pace to challenge Ford or Ferrari in this race, but are now looking forward to the next round in Shanghai in China in three weeks.”

The penultimate round of the 2016 FIA WEC will take place in China on 6 November. Young Driver AMR leads the GTE Pro drivers and teams championship with a margin of ten points.

Young Driver AMR Press Release

Photo: Aston Martin

Young Driver AMR maintains World Championship lead in Japan

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This weekend Beechdean Aston Martin Racing (AMR) will compete in the final round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series (ELMS). The Series will head to the south of Portugal, where the final race will take place on the tight and twisty circuit of Autodromo do Estoril.

This will be the third year running that Autodromo do Estoril will host the championship finale. Estoril is situated thirty minutes’ drive away from the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. The 2.599 mile circuit presents a unique challenge to drivers and teams. In last year’s race, high crosswinds and varied weather conditions added to the spice of the finale. With this in mind, teams will need to be prepared for all eventualities during the four hour race.

The 2016 European Le Mans Series has been close all season, with the leading teams constantly fighting it out on the track. The GTE title is still to be decided at the finale, however JMW hold a significant lead as the final race draws closer. The Beechdean AMR drivers; Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and Alex MacDowall have an outside chance of taking the ELMS title. However with a 20 point deficit and only 26 points available, luck will play a big part. Realistically the #99 crew will look to consolidate on their second position in the championship, with a 12 point gap to third.

“It’s been a great debut season for the team. To be in with a chance of winning the championship – even if it is a slim one – is more than we would have dared hoped for, especially given the class field of competitors” stated Howard. “However we have to be practical. Realistically we have a good chance of coming second, which will be our main priority. Overall, it had been a great season and we are pleased with what we have achieved in our first full year.”

Aston Martin Racing  veteran Turner commented on the upcoming race, saying, “We have everything to play for in Estoril. Although we need a lot of luck to go our way to clinch the championship. It’s been a good season and would be great to finish the season like we started with a win.”

“It is great to be fighting for the number one spot in the championship, even if our chances are extremely slim. We have had a promising season so far and have scored points at every round.” Commented MacDowell “Hopefully we can improve on last year’s result, and finish the season in style. We will go with the plan to fight, but our ultimate goal is to finish and secure second.”

Beechdean AMR are looking forward to an action packed weekend and are hopeful that Estoril will be able to produce a fitting finale to what has been an enthralling ELMS season.

Beechdean AMR Press Release

Beechdean AMR heading to Estoril for ELMS finale

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Quotes from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing drivers following the brand's 1-2 GTE-Pro win at the 6 Hours of Fuji. The UK based team scored its first ever victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Andy Priaulx:

Today’s result was great for Ford, for the team, for Multimatic and for Chip Ganassi. It’s a young team, it’s a new team and today they were faultless with the pit stops. It was a tough race as we never had a big gap to the No. 66 car. Every lap of the race felt like a qualifying lap. We made no mistakes and just stroked the car home. The pit stops were brilliant, Harry (Tincknell) did a great job and I’m delighted we finally got our first win. We’ve had some really good performances this year but we haven’t had the result we all deserve. This one is for the team.

Harry Tincknell:

Your first win for a manufacturer is always special but with everything we’ve been through this season it’s a massive relief. We’ve pushed like hell at every race this year and it just hasn’t gone our way for a number of reasons. I felt nervous going into the race as I knew this was our big opportunity and I had to grab it with both hands. To come away with the win is amazing but it was hard work! We had to push all the way through, leaving nothing in reserve so we will enjoy this moment.

Olivier Pla:

It wasn’t an easy one today. For some reason my line didn’t go as fast as the right-hand line so I lost the advantage of pole position at the first corner. From then on we were so evenly matched it was hard to pass the other car. I lost a lot of time behind an Aston Martin in my last stint and I had to push so hard to catch up I had a small spin. Well done to the team, to the guys in No. 67. Everyone did a perfect job.

Stefan Mücke:

A 1-2 finish is great for Ford, great for the whole team,” said . “It was a long time coming. It was one of those races where you are doing qualifying lap after qualifying lap. There was no room for error, no lifting, just pushing hard. Unfortunately we were unlucky at the start but everything was perfect after that and it was a great job from everyone.

Photos: Ford

Ford drivers quotes after the 1-2 victory at Fuji

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lundi 17 octobre 2016

After Mexico City and Austin, Joel Camathias has finished in third position also at the Fuji 6 Hours, the 7th round of the World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC), conquering the third consecutive podium finish in the closely-fought LMGTE Am category. On the legendary Fuji Speedway, the Swiss driver and his two German team mates, Christian Ried and Wolf Henzler, have again performed a faultless race at the wheel of the KCMG Porsche 911 RSR, being always among the front-runners.

The excellent result in Japan proves once again the competitiveness of the package racing the Hong Kong flag, which will now aim at improving its form even further in the two remaining rounds of the season, Shanghai and Bahrain.

Joel Camathias:

This too has been a great weekend for us, where everything has flown smoothly since free practice. The Fuji is really a nice circuit, especially this time when we have enjoyed unusual good weather throughout the three days. 

The team has given us a car in perfect conditions and we have been able to give everything. I did again the initial double stint, which always has a little extra excitement, and Christian and Wolf have completed the job. After three consecutive third finishes, we aim at further progressing in the two remaining races, even though the competition is really fierce.

Joel Camathias Press Release

Photo: Porsche

Joel Camathias: "The team has given us a car in perfect conditions"

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