Aston Martin Racing partner team Garage 59 made a flying start to their 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup (GTWC) campaign with victory in the Pro-Am class for Alexander West (SWE), works driver Jonny Adam (GB) and Aston Martin Lagonda high performance test driver Chris Goodwin (GB) at Imola.
With the coronavirus pandemic having delayed the start to the GTWC season by several months – as it has for most of global motorsport – the series finally got under way with an enthralling race on the famous Italian venue, as 46 cars packed tightly in to the 3.107-mile circuit. In a race that featured several Safety Car pauses, West kept out of trouble and diligently worked his way up the order, having started fifth in class. Handing the car over to Goodwin in second position for the middle stint, the Englishman delivered an accomplished drive. Slick pit-work from Garage 59 then propelled the car into the lead for Adam’s final stint which he executed to perfection while his closest rivals picked up penalties for Safety Car infractions.
“This was the perfect start for us this weekend,” said Adam, who was the Pro-Am Class champion in 2017. “The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 performed perfectly this weekend, and we’ve not had much chance to test it as a team prior to the start of the season so it was really satisfying. Chris and Alex both drove really well, which made my job easier in the final stint. This is a short championship with only four rounds so to collect maximum points so early is really good for us. What a fantastic start!”
The Silver Class team of Valentin Hasse-Clot (F) and Andrew Watson (GB), delivered a similarly inspiring performance in the sister Garage 59 Vantage GT3 and looked all set to make it a double-victory for the team until contact with a rival forced their car off-track and the impressive young pairing were forced to settle for second place.
In the European GT4 Series double-header that supports the GTWC, new Aston Martin Racing partner team AGS Events Racing came away with a clutch of silverware on their first race with the Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Nicolas Gomar (F) and Gilles Vannelet (F) took the Am class victory in Race 2, having finished second in the season opener. Hasse-Clot, also racing for AGS meanwhile, shared second place overall in the opening race with Theo Nouet (F).
David King, President of Aston Martin Racing said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult start to the year for so many of Aston Martin Racing’s customers. The coronavirus pandemic has created some extremely challenging conditions for everyone in the industry. Taking this into account, for two of our partner teams to have such excellent starts to their campaigns with the Vantage is deeply satisfying and a cause of great optimism for everyone involved in our customer programme. Both the GT3 and GT4 variants of the Vantage continue to prove their winning credentials, and with the opening round of the British GT Championship next weekend as well as a return to action for the GT3 in the IMSA GTD class at Road America on the horizon, this is a very encouraging result.”
The second round of the GTWC Endurance Cup takes place on the Nürburging Grand Prix circuit on 5-6 September, 2020.