Vale racer Ross Gunn named in Aston Martin line-up for Belgian race
By Colin and James Beckett
GUNN NAMED IN ASTON MARTIN LINE-UP FOR BELGIAN RACE
- Vale racer also stars in French endurance race qualifying
Ross Gunn will join fellow factory-supported Aston Martin Racing GT drivers, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen, for an attack on the famous Total Spa 24 Hours at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium in July it has been announced write Colin and James Beckett.
The Aston Martin marque will join the hunt for overall victory at this year's race thanks to a one-off association with the Garage 59 team, with the entry featuring a trio of factory drivers. The British marque took its sole triumph at the twice-around-the-clock race in 1948 and will look to return to the top step of the podium in 2021.
Aston Martin Racing's partner team Garage 59 will field the Pro class car, which will run alongside its regular GT World Challenge Europe entries. Speaking of the news, Gunn says, "It’s great to be going back to the Spa 24 Hours in a ‘Pro’ set-up with Garage 59 alongside Marco and Nicki."
Adding, “Competition in GT3 racing is at an all-time high and we have lots of work to do at the test to get ready. But we have a great team behind us and a fantastic car to work with so I am confident that we can have a strong event.”
AMR Managing Director, John Gaw, said, “Garage 59 has been one of Aston Martin Racing’s most valued partners since it switched to the new Vantage GT3 at the beginning of the 2019 season. Running a Pro car, with works drivers, at Spa is evidence of AMR’s evolution from a works programme to a fully-integrated customer operation. We have the ability to support customers not just with drivers, but also personnel, technical back-up and world championship-winning experience. We hope Spa showcases what is possible when teams work closely with us to achieve their goals, and we expect to make further announcements through the summer.”
The Spa 24 Hours is considered the blue riband race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe and Intercontinental GT Challenge and, open to homologated GT3-specification race cars only, is a true measure of endurance for both driver and machine. Gunn's entry in the race means that the Garage 59 squad will run three Vantage GT3s with the Jonny Adam, Alexander West, Chris Goodwin, Valentin Hasse-Clot, Alex MacDowell and Nicolai Kjaergaard also driving for the team.
This year's Total 24 Hours of Spa will see event return to its traditional summer slot, having switched to the autumn last year due to the coronavirus restrictions in Belgium. The race will take place across the weekend 31 July- 1 August, but prior to then Gunn and his team-mates will undertake a two-day pre-test at the track starting on 22nd June.
* In action at Paul Ricard last weekend, Ross Gunn qualified a TF Sport-entered Aston Martin Vantage GTE on class pole position for the latest round of the European Le Mans Series in France. The car, shared by Ollie Hancock and John Hartshorne, led the GTE category early on but a Safety Car period wiped out its advantage, and as the race progressed the car lost ground to a group of hard-charging Ferraris, who eventually finished 1-2-3. Gunn and his team-mates crossed the finish line in seventh position.
* Pitstone's Alex Kapadia finished fourth in the LMP3 class of the European Le Mans Series at Paul Ricard, driving a Ligier-Nissan for the RLR MSport team. Following a non finish in round two of the 2021 season at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, hopes were high of a return to form for Kapadia and his team-mates, and their near podium finish allowed their championship battle to recommence.
A number of incidents early in the race saw pit stop strategies change, making for an interesting race around the track located in the south of France. Sharing driving duties with Mike Benham and Malthe Jakobsen, Kapadia's car finished the four-hour race one lap behind the class winning DKR Engineering Duqueine-Nissan of Laurents Horr and Jean-Philippe Dayrut. The race was won overall by the number 26 G-Driver Racing Aurus-Gibson,driven by Roman Rusinov, Franco Colapinto and Nyck de Vries, and the 2021 European Le Mans Series will continue at Monza in Italy next month.
* The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship season continues this weekend at Snetterton in Norfolk. Three races will take place on Sunday, with Tom Ingram set to be in the thick of the action at the wheel of his Ginsters EXCELR8 with Trade Price Cars Hyundai. The Vale-based racer is placed sixth in the championship table following the opening event at Thruxton, just nineteen points behind early season leader, Jake Hill.