New Aston Martin GT3 Takes First Win in Super Taikyu Opener
Aston Martin’s new GT3 car claimed its maiden race win in the Super Taikyu season-opener at Suzuka on Sunday, with Darren Turner among the driver crew.
The D’station Racing-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was part of a seven-car GT3 field that also included two Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s plus an Audi R8 LMS GT3, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Lexus RC F GT3 and a Ferrari 488 GT3.
Turner shared the D’station Aston Martin with Tsubasa Kondo and team president Satoshi Hoshino for the five-hour race.
“It’s deeply gratifying to see the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 deliver so emphatically on its potential, particularly on its debut for a new partner team on a continent and in a series where Aston Martin Racing has not been involved for some time,” said Aston Martin Racing President David King.
“The very ethos of the Vantage GT3 is for it to be a competitive force both in the hands of top professional drivers as well as amateurs and today’s result in Suzuka proves the car’s development program remains on target.
“I would like to wish D’station Racing congratulations on its victory. I’m also very pleased to see Darren on the top step of the podium again – what a fantastic result!”
Ultimate Cup Series Kicks Off at Estoril
The new Ultimate Cup Series got underway at Estoril last weekend with a packed schedule that included separate four-hour races for GTs and prototypes.
Wimmer Werk Motorsport was victorious in the first race, held on Saturday exclusively for prototypes, with its Ligier JS P3 Nissan driven by Vincent Capillaire, Matthias Kaiser and Lukas Dunner.
The field included 14 LMP3 cars and entries from familiar teams such as Inter Europol Competition, Graff, Speed Factory, SRT 41 and Red River Sport by Nielsen.
Sunday’s GT race was won by the Renault R.S. 01 of DEMJ, driven by Lucien Crapiz and Max Mugelli.
With nine cars, the GT field wasn’t as large as the prototype grid, but it is expected to grow in time for the next round at Dijon on April 26-28.
Last weekend, it included three Renault R.S. 01s, a Ferrari 488 GT3 and GT4 cars from BMW, Porsche and Ginetta, amongst other entries.
News & Notes
***McLaren will remain the official safety car partner of the British GT Championship for a fourth successive season. A variety of McLaren road car models are set to appear as safety cars throughout the season, including the 570S Coupe, 570S Spider, 570GT and 720S Coupe.
***Team Goh withdrew its McLaren 720S GT3 from Super Taikyu before last weekend’s season opener, citing “many unforeseen circumstances” including “the incomplete support system for parts”, according to a statement released by the team. It still plans to compete in Super GT and the Suzuka 10 Hours.
***Mathias Beche will drive for Modena Motorsports in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia opener at Sepang next month, while Benny Simonsen will replace him for the second round at Buriram. They’ll both co-drive the Porsche 911 GT3 R with John Shen.
***Team iRace.Win will field a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT4s in GT4 Asia, adding an extra car after Ringo Chong finished third in the drivers’ standings last season. Chong will be joined by a new co-drive in Setiawan ‘Johannes’ Santoso, while the other car will be shared by Naomi Zhang and Alan Yeo.
***Alec Udell will compete in the GT4 European Series this year, driving for MDM Motorsport. The American will join Simon Knap in one of the team’s BMW M4 GT4s, while Koen Bogaerts and Mark van der Aa will share the other.
***V8 Racing has confirmed a Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R for the GT4 European Series, signing Duncan Huisman and Olivier Hart as drivers. The Dutch team could enter a second car later in the season.
***Flying Lizard Motorsports will run eight cars over the course of the Porsche Trophy West USA season, which got underway last weekend at The Thermal Club. It will run a variety of Porsches, including a new 911 GT3 Cup MR, Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, 911 GT3 Cup and a 911 GT3 R.
***The final pre-season test for Super GT will take place at Fuji Speedway this weekend following the Okayama test earlier this month. The first race will take place at Okayama on April 13-14.