Autosport Designs Aston Martin DBRS9s at Elkhart Lake, Road America 2006
Following a two-month lay off from the series in order to further develop the car, the twin Aston Martin DBRS9s of the Autosport Designs Racing Team came out of the blocks competitively at Road America last weekend. A strong qualifying performance saw Johnny Mowlem put his car in 9th position on the grid after qualifying and followed this up with a good race performance dicing for fourth place at one point.
As little as 7/10s of a second covered third through tenth place qualifying positions. Johnny said, "We have made a big step forward with the car. Further testing should see us contending for the podium".
Tom Papadopoulos, in car 43, had a somewhat difficult weekend until qualifying, with teething issues still affecting the performance of the car. However when it amttered the car ran well and Tom ended the session in 27th position. He said "I am pleased with the way the car handled today and I am confident of its performance for the race".
Come the start and Johnny Mowlem was sitting in seventh place by the end of the first lap. Within the next four laps he had made his way up to fifth and was pushing for fourth when a full course yellow was called following a heavy accident involving two Vipers on the back straight. After four laps under yellow the racing started in earnest and a great battle ensued for fourth place between Johnny and the second AXA Porsche.
This was won by Johnny, and it seemed that fourth place was his for the asking but the battle with the Porsche had taken a toll on his tires and he was unable to hold off the Viper of Michael McCann.
Johnny still finished the race in a very strong fifth position and commented afterwards, "A great race, and as I said yesterday, with a few more days testing, we should be in a position where we can start challenging for the lead".
Tom Papadopoulos in car 44 had a very good race as he stormed from 27th on the grid through to 15th; this alone would have ensured that Tom got the Hard Charger Award (most place gained during a race) and he was catching the next group of three cars at a rate that could have given him a twelfth place finish - but unfortunately a puncture meant that he'd spend the remaining four laps of the race as a spectator out at Canada Corner!
Tom said after the race "As a team principal I am very pleased with the progress we have made with the cars over the past two months and as a driver, I believe that we will see the true potential of these cars develop over the remaining three races of the season with both cars contending for top five finishes".
2006 Speed GT World Challenge Calendar -
Sep. 1-3 - The Labour Day Weekend Grand Prix of Mosport
Sept. 27-31 - Petit Le Mans
Oct. 19-22 - Monterey Sports Car Championship
For the latest news please visit www.world-challenge.com and of course Autosport Designs homepage: www.autosportdesigns.com where you can also view Tom and Barry's extensive inventory of automobiles.
Story: Classic Driver
Photos: Autosport Designs/Richard Prince - Strictly Copyright
ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter