Royal Automobile Club TT - 1st and 2nd for Aston Martin
Aston Martin won the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy for the fourth time yesterday after dominating 3 hours of exciting FIA GT racing at Silverstone. The winning car, driven by Peter Kox and Pedro Lamy, finished just under 2 seconds ahead of its sister car, the ‘Yellow nose’ DBR9 of David Brabham and Darren Turner. Spectators were treated to a thrilling race in which the result was never completely certain until the flag dropped.
All along, the twin Aston attack had been hounded mercilessly by the Vitaphone Racing Team Maserati MC12 of Babini/Biagi. The car finally finishing third, just 9 seconds behind the second Aston. In fact it was Brabham and Turner who led the majority of the race, with Kox and Lamy clearly playing a waiting game in fourth for much of the time while the fastest Maserati - and very fast (while it lasted) Corvette - led the chase.
Towards the end, Lamy felt he could maintain a faster pace ahead of the strong Maserati and slipped ahead of his team mate, pulling out a slight lead at the finish. Being late-entries in the series the two Astons were not eligible to score points, so the Italian team had the consolation of consolidating their leading position in the Championship. Intriguingly, Maserati felt their cars "spent ten seconds more refuelling owing to the position of the English [Aston Martin] car's fuel tank". Now you know.
Over at Maranello it was a case of the newer Ferrari 575 GTC Evoluzione bested again by its older sibling, the 550 Maranello. A superb drive by Christophe Bouchut saw the blue Russian Age Racing 550 make the early running but driver changes soon saw the car dropping back, while the Larbre Competition 550 was the highest Ferrari finisher, in 6th, one lap behind the winner, and a lap ahead of the first 575. Ferrari will be introducing a revised engine for the 575 at the next round at Imola, to go with the ‘step 2’ aero package seen at Silverstone. That, and stronger driver pairings, should see them challenge the Maseratis and (where entered) British cars.
Looking back, in 1953 an Aston Martin DB3S driven by Peter Collins and Pat Griffith won the Tourist Trophy, while Stirling Moss drove the DBR1 to successive successes at Goodwood in 1958 and 1959.
Tim Keown, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club said "The British round of the FIA GT Championship certainly fulfilled all our expectations in providing a perfect setting for the return of the Tourist Trophy in its centenary year. The Tourist Trophy is now, we believe, firmly back in the modern motor sports calendar and this weekend’s event certainly bodes well for us continuing to be associated with the FIA GT Championship for the Trophy in 2006 and beyond.
"The FIA GT Championship, with its world leading manufacturers, teams and drivers offers the ideal platform for reviving what was the ultimate achievement in grand-touring competition. We have now introduced a piece of British motor racing history to today’s generation and that in itself is cause for a celebration."
1. Kox/Lamy Aston - Martin DBR9
2. Brabham/Turner - Aston Martin DBR9
3. Babini/Biagi - Maserati MC12
4. Bertolini/Wendlinger - Maserati MC12
5. Bartels/Scheider - Maserati MC12
6. Gardel/Gollin Ferrari - Ferrari 550 Maranello
The next round of the FIA GT championship is scheduled for 29 May, at Imola in Italy.
First privateer DBR9 to go to Russian Age Racing, to be run by Cirtek Racing in association with Stratton Motor Company.
Cirtek Motorsport proudly announce that they will be the first private team to compete with the Aston Martin DBR9 in the FIA GT Championship. The car will be present at the official test day at Spa on 12 July and will make its race debut at the 24 hour race at the end of the month, where it will be driven by regular drivers Christophe Bouchut, Nikolay Omenko and Alexey Vasiliev and they will be joined by a fourth high profile driver who will be announced shortly. The car will compete in the remaining rounds of the 2005 FIA GT Championship and further announcements regarding the 2006 season will be made shortly.
Cirtek are working with the East Anglian Aston Martin distributor Stratton Motor Company, new purpose built technical facilities are currently being completed.
The new racing headquarters are housed close to Stratton Motor Company’s Aston Martin distributorship and this move will enable racing and road going clients to share a unique experience when visiting either facility.
Rob Schirle commented: ‘I am delighted with this latest progression for Cirtek and to be working in partnership with Roger Bennington. The commencement of the Aston Martin DBR9 race programme gives Russian Age Racing added awareness and credibility on the world motorsport stage’.
Roger Bennington added: ‘Both companies have very substantial investment in motorsport staff, equipment and facilities’. ‘In discussing the DBR9 racing car and how we would operate it, it made perfect sense to align our interests. I am delighted that with our long history of association with Aston Martin, Stratton Motor Company now houses a high profile international racing programme’.
Text; Steve Wakefield
Photos: DPPI / FIA GT © - Strictly Copyright
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