Aston Martin Racing partner team GPR Racing kicked off its 2013 International GT Open campaign in style this weekend (27/28 April) with a double win at the opening round at Paul Ricard, France.
The Belgian team qualified in fifth for the first race of the weekend, but driver Enzo Ide (BE) negotiated the V12 Vantage GT3 through the pack to pass the two McLaren 12Cs of Bhai Tech Racing, the Ferrari 458 Italia of Kessel Racing and the pole-sitting Mercedes SLS AMG of Seyffarth Motorsport, to take the lead before teammate Maxime Soulet (BE) took over to win the race.
Qualifying for the second race on pole, Maxime started strongly from the front of the grid. However, with rules dictating that the winning team from race one is given a 15-second pit stop penalty, the duo was forced to surrender the lead and rejoin the race in fourth place. After passing the third place car, the #13 became locked in a gripping battle to the end with the eventual race winner, leaving GPR Racing finishing second overall but taking the all important class win.
“If they had a few more corners I’m sure they would have won the race outright”, explains James Walters Senior Sales Manager at Aston Martin Racing. “Both Maxime and Enzo drove brilliantly all weekend and the car performed faultlessly. It is the first time Maxime has driven the car and Enzo had only previously done a short test so it’s great they got up to speed so quickly.
“The Vantage had the speed and handling to enable Maxime to extend its lead over the rest of the pack very early on in race two, putting them in a strong position following the penalty. It’s a great start to the year for the team and we look forward to supporting them closely for the rest of the season.”
Enzo comments: “The car was great! It was amazing to drive and the front engine was incredible. We had a good first race where we took the overall victory and in race two, I needed one more lap. Maxime took a great start and pulled a gap but it wasn't enough for the 15-second penalty of the victory the day before. After I took my stint on slick tires on a medium wet track. I had very difficult first laps. But in the end, I was flying with the Vantage GT3. I hope to do more races with AMR because I love the car.”
The next round of the International GT Open takes place at Portimao, Portugal, on 11/12 May. The race can be viewed live at www.youtube.com/user/GTOPENseries and further information about GPR Racing can be found at www.astonmartin.com/racing/teams/gpr-racing.
About Aston Martin Racing
Aston Martin Racing is the motorsport arm of Aston Martin. In 2013, it will contest the FIA World Endurance Championship with its Vantage GTE. It also has customer teams competing in major championships around the world in its Vantage GTE, GT3 and GT4 cars, which all share a bonded aluminium chassis and fundamental engine design with Aston Martin's road-going V8 Vantage.
Follow the team's progress at www.facebook.com/astonmartinracing on Twitter using @amr_official and on the website www.astonmartin.com/racing.