Saturday, November 19, 2016

ASTON MARTIN RACING SEALS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLES IN BAHRAIN


Aston Martin Racing drivers Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen have today been crowned world champions after taking victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s season finale in Bahrain.

Heading into the race, the pair led the GT Drivers title battle by 12 points, with the team controlling the GTE Pro championship with a 2-point advantage. While a third place finish would provide the necessary points to take the GT Drivers title, the Danes claimed victory in style by taking their second win of the season, securing the GTE Pro championship for Aston Martin Racing in the process.

After battling hard with the #51 Ferrari in the opening hours, the duo accrued a lead of over 20 seconds by the fifth hour. With their rivals pushing hard in the closing stages to close the gap, Thiim showed true class to maintain the advantage to the checkered flag, finishing 12.695 seconds over second place.

Thiim said, “As I said over and over again. I made a big change to my racing career at the beginning of this season. That was to come to a new team in Aston Martin Racing with a range of new partners in Total and Dunlop.

I told my teammate that it would be amazing to win the championship with this team and with a fellow Dane and I still can’t really believe that we now have our first WEC championship with Aston Martin. I’ve just driven two stints in the car so I need a moment to calm down but I am sure the emotions will come.

He added, “The consistency throughout the season has been amazing, the car has been great and the improvements we’ve made with our partners throughout the year have been incredible. To be up there in our first year with two new partners in Dunlop and Total and to compete against some big teams with their two new cars is really something special. Right now, I’m very happy with what I and the team have achieved”.

Thiim’s teammate Sørensen added, “It’s absolutely amazing to win the championship and I’m going to say it’s even more incredible to win it with a Danish brother like Nicki. When we were 10 years old, we raced against each other in karting but to be here winning a championship with him and Aston Martin Racing is fantastic.

Nobody would have thought we could be here together. I’m so proud of the whole team. We had a lot of new partners at the beginning of this year but it all just came together so well and today has been fantastic. I still can’t really believe it.”

Speaking of today’s success and reflecting on a successful season overall for Aston Martin Racing, Team Principal Paul Howarth said, “What a fantastic day to get to the end of the season and for Marco and Nicki to claim the GT Drivers and GTE Pro titles. Credit to them and the way they drove today and to all the team for helping them deliver these results.

2016 has been an incredible journey for this team and for us to consistently prove ourselves against other world-class outfits is testimony to the professionalism of this team. I’m proud to have led them throughout this season and the team can travel home thoroughly proud of their achievements”.

Aston Martin Racing leaves the Middle East with two world championships to its name, adding to its other recent championship victories in European Le Mans Series with customer team Beechdean AMR and British GT with TF Sport.

With this weekend’s result concluding a successful year for the British marque, the team remains hungrier than ever to return next season and achieve further success on the track.


Friday, November 18, 2016

Aston Martin Racing Achieves Clean Sweep in Bahrain Qualifying

Aston Martin Racing has achieved the perfect start to its race weekend, as the team take a 1-2 in GTE Pro and pole position in GTE Am for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Bahrain.

"With the sun set in the Bahraini desert, the #97 V8 Vantage GTE of Darren Turner  and Jonny Adam  set identical lap times to clinch pole position for tomorrow’s title deciding round and score a vital pole position championship point," said Sonny Morgan, General Manager of Late European. "The two were soon followed by GTE Pro and GT Drivers championship leaders Nicki Thiim  and Marco Sørensen, who brought their #95 entry home to lock out the front row of the GTE Pro grid."

With the team in contention for all five GT championships on offer - including the overall GT Manufacturers title - the result brings a major boost to the team’s hopes, with the deficit to the championship leaders reduced to nine points.

According to Turner, “We needed to get both cars on the front row of the grid. It was important that one of us took the pole to help the #95 crew for their championship bid and that obviously helps with the GT manufacturers title too. It’s going to be a very tough race tomorrow but we couldn’t have asked for a better qualifying session. Jonny’s jumped in and done a fantastic job and I’m really delighted for all of the #97 boys after working so hard to repair the car after Shanghai”.


“It’s nice to be back here in Bahrain especially after doing my testing work with Dunlop last year,” said Adam. “There were positive signs last year and its clear the tyre has improved drastically throughout 2016. The car’s been getting better and better throughout the weekend and it was ultimately perfect in that session. The car feels really strong, particularly on the longer runs and we’ll be looking to fight for victory tomorrow”.


Nicki Thiim, driver of #95 added, “That was brilliant for Aston Martin. It’s been quite difficult in the past couple of races but the car is working really well here, particularly the tire, and I think that’s where our advantage is. Tomorrow, it’s a long race but I want to win and make sure that we get the team, drivers and GTE Pro championships. I will be taking the start for tomorrow, I want to stay out of trouble and then we’ll see what the race brings”.


In GTE Am, the #98 V8 Vantage GTE of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda claimed pole on the final flying lap of the session. After Lamy and Dalla Lana placed the car in second following their initial timed runs, Lamy was sent back out for one final attempt.


After crossing the start/finish in the final minute of the session, a sensational lap brought the pair’s average to 0.02 seconds ahead of their nearest rival, providing them with an essential pole position championship point to keep their title hopes alive.


Paul Dalla Lana said, “That was as much drama as you can have from any qualifying session. We knew Ferrari would throw everything they had at it, including using an additional set of tires to push us off the top step in the final moments of the session. Unfortunately, we had to use three sets of tires too to make sure Pedro could keep us at the top by, but it means we keep fighting. You never know what can happen tomorrow. Stranger things have happened and we may find ourselves fighting for the title at the end”.


Team Principal Paul Howarth added, “That was an absolutely sublime performance right across the team. I was particularly impressed with Jonny’s faultless lap. We rewarded him with a drive here in Bahrain and he’s rewarded us with a pole alongside Darren. The #95 again delivered a highly credible performance to lockout the front row in GTE Pro and we were kept waiting right until the last lap of Am qualifying to deliver their fourth consecutive pole position.


As with previous races, the whole team turns its focus to delivering at the highest level and go into tomorrow’s race with the confidence that they can claim the championships on offer”.


The FIA WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain begins at 16:00 local time on Saturday, November 19. The team is in the running for the GT Manufacturers, GT Drivers, GTE Pro team, GTE Am team and GT Am Driver’s championships.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

TRG-AMR To Defend SprintX Lead with Four-Car Lineup in Final PWC Race of the Season


With four Aston Martin V8 Vantages and eight drivers, TRG-AMR is set to finish the Pirelli World Challenge season in full force this weekend. The SprintX GTS class points leader will defend its title status at one of the country’s most beautiful tracks Laguna Seca Mazda Raceway.

“What an absolutely fantastic final race of the year in so many categories,” said Kevin Buckler, CEO. “We have four strong cars and eight solid drivers and we’re chasing the inaugural SprintX Championship along with a shot at victory in the sprint race. We’ve had a tremendous year with multiple wins and podiums and of course have a really strong history here at Laguna Seca, one of my favorite tracks in North America.”

TRG-AMR’s familiar lineup of PWC drivers will be bolstered by additional talent for this final race. Max Riddle, who currently leads the SprintX GTS championship with 440 points, will be teamed with Kris Wilson (400 points) in their No. 07 RingCentral/Adobe Road Winery Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Riddle will race both in the GTS and SprintX races. As runner-up in the GTS championship with 416 points, Derek DeBoer will partner with Jason Alexandridis, fourth in SprintX with 392 points. The duo will reveal an all-new LaSalle-themed livery for their No. 09 LaSalle Solutions/BRM Chronographes/Rebounderz Rohnert Park/Racing for Cancer/Pirata Della Strada/Simon Ward car at Laguna Seca.

George Kurtz returns in his No. 04 Crowdstrike car for his third race with TRG-AMR, and will race in both the GTS and SprintX races. This cybersecurity executive splits his time between racing the Aston Martin and leading Crowdstrike’s defense of federal institutions against foreign hackers. Kurtz is paired with Kenton Koch, who took second overall in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech Prototype Challenge at last weekend’s Petit Le Mans race.

The final driver pair has raced with TRG-AMR in select races this year: Brandon Davis and Greg Milzcik. The latter most recently drove the No. 77 Wolfwood Refuge/That Newfoundland Place V8 Vantage at Sonoma, and has already competed at Laguna Seca this season with TRG Porsche in the Pirelli GT3 Cup. He will race both in the GTS and SprintX races. Davis has been a consistent part of the TRG-AMR squad this year, primarily as a driver’s coach for many of the team’s events. He, along with James Davison, brought success to TRG earlier this year with a podium finish at the IMSA WeatherTech race at Laguna Seca.

"The PWC series has done a great job of making this a true and viable alternative to other forms of corporate spends, and motorsports is hot right now. The paddock area has become the magic place for B2B deals to get done and we are proud to be leading the charge,” said Buckler. “We are moving forward with our 2017 plans and have some big announcements in the next few weeks.  We are looking towards the future with all of our current friends and partners as well as some new ones. It’s going to be busy!"


The TRG-AMR team expects to welcome nearly 75 guests to their hospitality paddock at Laguna Seca. LaSalle Solutions maintains their consistent presence and support of the cars and drivers, and are being joined once again by executives and guests of Crowdstrike and RingCentral. These three major partners create a fun, dynamic environment in the paddock – a place where C-level executives can meet each other, account managers can entertain prospects, and an absolutely unique environment that’s a proven deal-closer for millions of dollars worth of sales. The team is also welcoming Marchese Investments to the race paddock this weekend. Partnering with TRG to gain access to unique benefits has trumped companies’ decisions to buy into traditional venues like country clubs or stadium box suites. The team is looking forward to extending partnerships with these elite corporate partners throughout the next season.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Aston Martin Racing Secures Top 10 Finish at the Lone Star Le Mans weekend

TRG-AMR defied the odds with a top 10 finish at the Lone Star Le Mans weekend, hosted by the legendary Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Thanks to an all-new driver lineup, the Aston Martin squad executed flawlessly in the hot Austin weather. With only minimal practice time and never having driven the 007, the team worked hard, adapted quickly and put in a solid driving performance to finish in 6th.
The No. 007 Godstone Ranch Motorsport/Hands Only CPR/Johnson Controls/Whilo/LaSalle Solutions Aston Martin V12 Vantage is certainly a fan favorite, but the car has not been present at every WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event in the 2016 season. It's a testament to the TRG-AMR team's audacity that top-10 results are natural even when racing against teams who have been competitive throughout the year. In Austin, Australian driver David Calvert-Jones and Porsche specialist Ben Barke dealt with the Texas summertime heat while familiarizing themselves with the car during practice and qualifying sessions. With the drivers' feedback, the skilled TRG-AMR crew was able to execute the ideal race setup to deliver maximum results for a 6th place finish.
"Testing was tricky, and we qualified in the back," said Barker after the race. "CJ's been improving all weekend so he's done a great job. He got quicker and gave the car to me in a competitive position. The TRG car was really good and competitive, we were just losing straight-line speed. Overall, it was a fantastic job by the team and CJ, and hopefully we'll be back."
Overall, the weekend was positive for all drivers, crew, and guests. In addition to racing, this event was key for both business and charity. Godstone Ranch MotorSports, founded by Texan driver John McCutchen, was an important part of TRG-AMR's race. The charity uses motorsports to help draw attention and donations to the American Heart Association's "Hands Only CPR" program, spearheaded by McCutchen and his group of volunteers.  Ally Babineaux, a young survivor of two heart transplants, was at McCutchen's side to evangelize the charity and embodied the direct impact made by the support of donors. Wearing a custom Godstone Ranch fire suit, she joined the TRG-AMR team during pit stops by holding a fire bottle at the ready.
"It was a great race for us," said Calvert-Jones. "As we had just a few sessions of practice and I had never driven this car before, I think we came a long way. The team did an amazing job, Kevin and all of TRG-AMR group are just a real solid team and can't thank them enough for what they put together this weekend. The car was quite slow earlier on in the week, but as we dialed it in, it got quicker and quicker. Ben Barker just did an amazing job to get it up to 6th place from last, so I'm pretty happy!”
RingCentral, a cloud enterprise communications and collaboration application provider, joined TRG-AMR with a large group of guests in Austin. They were welcomed in the team's paddock area, plus additional hospitality and race viewing locations around the beautiful Circuit of the Americas racetrack. This spectacular venue, along with three private evening events and a private Adobe Road wine dinner, provided an exciting, unique experience for both RingCentral and a private wealth management firm's guests.
"We had so many obstacles coming here in the beginning, but that’s just another cool part of TRG story," said Kevin Buckler, CEO. "We were up against experienced and storied teams, we are only running a partial season, we had a crazy schedule with split races in two states and had brand new drivers in the car – and the team executed just flawlessly! It's great that the RingCentral guys and all of the other groups of guests were able to be with us this weekend. It's just such an amazing environment for building relationships and networking. We had some great events: the Late European Aston Martin dealership, plus dinner here at the track with our guests and the big Adobe Road wine dinner downtown at the Capital Grill.”
Technology partner LaSalle Solutions has found the motorsports partnership and platform extremely effective and has increased their efforts in supporting the team through the balance of the season.
"We did everything strategy-wise that we could possibly do," said McCutchen. "To get out of here at the end of the season and be absolutely competitive is an unbelievable testament to TRG-AMR. The whole Godstone Ranch team was incredibly enthused to be out here with the team. When the car was leading the race for those laps, I don't even know how many people texted me from all over the world - they were so psyched to see this car in the lead!"


Monday, June 20, 2016

Aston Martin Racing leave Le Mans as World Endurance Championship leaders


Aston Martin Racing came away from the 84th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours leading the FIA World Endurance Championship GT Manufacturer's title. After running a near-faultless race, both the #95 and #97 GTE Pro entries finished in fifth and sixth place respectively. With the team focused on ensuring a safe and steady pace throughout the early stages of the race and throughout the night, each of the entries were tasked to make progress at dawn.

The #95 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE, driven by Nicki Thiim, Marco Sørensen and Darren Turner finished fifth, having given a spirited fight to its rivals and stayed in podium contention through the night. However, the cruel nature of Le Mans struck as Turner suffered a right rear puncture in the 20th hour, caused by debris on track.

Turner said following the race, “That’s probably been one of the most straightforward races for the team. The car’s run like complete clockwork all the way through. The only drama we had was a late puncture. The guys have done a great job with the strategy and the mechanics have been amazing in the pit stops. I’m just very proud that both GTE Pro cars have made it to the finish”.


He added, “As you can see from qualifying and the earlier part of the week, there was certainly a gap in performance between ourselves and the turbocharged entries and this still showed through in the race. It’s a real shame as the crowd were robbed of a wheel-to-wheel race with all of the cars involved rather than just two.

The #97 GTE Pro entry, driven by Richie Stanaway, Fernando Rees and Jonny Adam, executed the strategy to perfection to finish sixth.

The result brings vital points in the crucial title fight and provides Aston Martin Racing a nine point lead in the FIA WEC Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers.

Aston Martin Racing also starred in GTE Am with the #98 V8 Vantage GTE of Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy leading into the night before eventually retiring with a mechanical failure heartbreakingly close to the finish.

“We’re delighted with the result this weekend and to be able to walk away leading the GT Manufacturer's Championship has met our objectives for the weekend,”commented Paul Howarth, Team Principal, Aston Martin Racing.

He added, “Le Mans has offered us all of the challenges we expected. We knew when we came here that we’d be facing some very strong opposition and we knew what we had to do to resolve this. We continue from here to fight for wins and the outright title. It’s a real shame for our #98 Am entry, but I’m confident the guys will bounce back”.

Aston Martin Racing’s customer team Beechdean AMR driven by Andrew Howard, Gary Hirsch and Liam Griffin made a great account of themselves too, finishing seventh in the GTE Am class on their first attempt at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Howarth added, “I’d like to congratulate the Beechdean AMR team and their drivers on bringing the car home at their first attempt. It’s a fantastic result and I’m really pleased for them.”


David King, Head of Global Motorsports, Aston Martin said “Everyone at Aston Martin Racing has done a great job to score the most points that were realistically possible given the Balance of Performance handed to the team. Nevertheless, to lead the championship after Le Mans gives us a great position and something to continue to fight for as we head towards the Nürburgring and then on to the flyaway races”.


Aston Martin Racing will be in action again at the FIA World Endurance Championship’s third round; the Six Hours of Nürburgring on Sunday 24 July.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Victory in Canada: TRG-Aston Martin Racing Earns Three Wins, Six Podiums Over PWC Race Weekend

The TRG-AMR team’s four drivers secured a win, two 1-2 finishes, and a 3rd place podium during the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend in Canada.

Max Riddle, Kris Wilson, Jason Alexandridis and Derek DeBoer took home ten trophies in total from Saturday and Sunday’s events at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. All drivers raced Aston Martin V8 Vantages in the first two rounds of the new SprintX series; Riddle competed in two GTS races.

A high point of the weekend was when Vancouver native Max Riddle won his first-ever GTS race on Sunday, at what is considered his “home track” in the PWC series. Riddle, along with his teammate Wilson, returned to Canada to defend their pole position from last year.

The field of skilled drivers and extremely competitive cars showed no mercy while attempting to pursue the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, and at times the gap between Riddle and the following car was less than a tenth of a second. After taking 3rd place on Saturday, Riddle’s determination to taste victory was sated with a triumphant win on Sunday. Wilson, who acts as both coach and teammate to Riddle, was a winning co-driver in their No. 07 TRG-AMR Adobe Road Winery/LaSalle Solutions Aston Martin Vantage GT4, sharing wins with Max in both SprintX races.

The Alexandridis/DeBoer driver pair enjoyed consistent 2nd-place success after taking their No 09 BRM Chronographes/Rebounderz/Rohnert Park/Racing for Cancer/Pirata Della Strada/Simon Ward car to the podium for both inaugural SprintX races. Along with the Riddle/Wilson duo, TRG-AMR took a 1-2 finish in both of these new race formats, which involves a pit stop with a driver change. Neither DeBoer nor Alexandridis had ever raced at CTMP before, making their podium success all the sweeter. Consistently successful racing from all four drivers resulted in heavy media coverage throughout the race weekend.


“I couldn’t be happier about this weekend at CTMP. 4 out of 4 podiums with 3 wins,” said Max Riddle. “At my home track, in my home country, in front of all the home fans. It’s an amazing feeling. I also couldn’t be more proud of the team. Everyone at TRG-AMR did a fantastic job and put together an amazing car for me and Kris to go out and race with. Another thing that was awesome about the races at CTMP was doing the new SprintX races with my longtime endurance racing teammate and coach, Kris Wilson. Kris and I share a lot of our successes together and we added some more to that list with the two inaugural SprintX wins. A huge thanks goes out to everyone at TRG, Kevin Buckler, Kris Wilson, my dad Dave and also a congratulation is in order for my teammates Derek DeBoer and Jason Alexandridis for finishing 2nd in both SprintX races!” 
 
Derek DeBoer added, “What a great weekend! Outstanding results finishing 2nd in each of the first rounds of Pirelli World Challenge SprintX. You never know what to expect showing up at a new track but I definitely have a new favorite to add to the list. As always, the entire TRG team gave us the car and support to get the job done. I also want to thank BRM Chronographes, Pirata Della Strada, Racing For Cancer, Simon Ward Artist, my co-driver Jason and my wife and girls cheering from home. With 3 podiums out of my last 3 races, I’m feeling like we're on a roll. Time for that top step!”

Final results:
Race 1: GTS: Max Riddle, 3rd
Race 2: GTS: Max Riddle, 1st
Race 1: SprintX: Riddle/Wilson* 1st, Alexandridis/DeBoer 2nd
Race 2: SprintX: Riddle/Wilson* 1st, Alexandridis/DeBoer 2nd.


*Wilson awarded with fastest lap for both SprintX races.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Aston Martin Racing Claims Double Podium at 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps


Aston Martin Racing won the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship; the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. After securing pole, the #98 V8 Vantage GTE of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana took the checkered flag in first place after a faultless afternoon at the Ardennes circuit.

Demonstrating searing pace throughout, the trio amassed a lead of over a minute before a late safety car reduced the advantage. With Lamy at the wheel for the final hour, their advantage was reinstated to secure both victory and their second visit to the podium this season. The result places them at the top of the GTE Am championship.

According to Lamy, “When the safety car came out, I was conscious that my advantage would be gone. However, I felt that I had a fast car and Paul and Mathias put us in a great position for my final stint earlier in the race. I found the car to be very fast on new tires which made the final laps much easier. With pole yesterday and a win today, this is the perfect result."

In the GTE Pro class, the team’s #97 entry of Jonny Adam, Ferna

ndo Rees and Richie Stanaway placed third after a consistent show of form across the six hours. As both ambient and track temperature dropped in the final hour, Adam was able to exploit the performance of the V8 Vantage GTE and with a late retirement at the front, brought the car home in third.

Adam said, “Claiming a podium is great and with just a lap or two more we could have potentially claimed second. The car was nice and consistent all the way. If it wasn't for a bit of traffic at the start of the restart we could have potentially fought harder with the Ford ahead. The result today sets us up nicely for Le Mans in June and it’s nice to go into that big event with such a good feeling. The car and its tires were working really well and we’ll hopefully find even more speed”.

It was a difficult afternoon for the #95 GTE Pro of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sørensen and Darren Turner. Despite a strong start by Sørensen to move from sixth to fourth after the first lap, Thiim was unfortunately hit by another competitor in the second hour. The team reported that Thiim was OK following the incident.

The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is the final race before the WEC’s centerpiece event; the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Team Principal Paul Howarth said after the race, “What an excellent weekend for the team. Again we’ve delivered in both classes by stepping on to the podium. We came very close in the Pro class to finishing second and then to go and challenge for the lead. We raced right until the finish and this is very positive result going into Le Mans”.

Speaking of #98’s GTE Am victory, he added, “The Am result was an outstanding victory and it takes them into the lead of their championship two races in. If we can keep this momentum and deliver our team to the podium at every event, then their championship is off to a very good start”.

The team immediately returned to the track the next day at the official Le Mans test.

Aston Martin of Austin
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