HEXIS AMR pulls off a unique feat!
The HEXIS AMR team is the runner-up in the FIA GT1 World Championship for Teams!
Frederic Makowiecki finishes third in the FIA GT1 World Championship for Drivers! Aston Martin wins the SRO Manufacturers' Trophy!
The above results sum up the harvest of successes reaped by the HEXIS AMR team at the end of its first season at the top level in grand touring racing, in a championship that has fulfilled all its promise in terms of both competitiveness and on-track action.
When French team HEXIS AMR arrived in Argentina it was lying fifth in the overall classification, but everything was still possible a place in the top 3 - or finishing the year in a lower position with the satisfaction of never having given up. While their direct rivals failed to make the most of the situation, Fred Mackowiecki and Yann Clairay won the qualifying race and then scored the team's first outright victory on Sunday afternoon, while Jonathan Hirschi and Clivio Piccione bagged their first world championship podium finish.
It is worth remembering that HEXIS AMR is the only French team - with Citroen and Renault F1 - competing in an FIA World Championship this season. They have nothing like the resources of a major manufacturer, but this did not stop them from putting on a heroic performance.
The decisive event was an excitement- packed one. The no.9 Aston Martin was punted into the wall at the start of the qualifying race, while no.10 revolved through 360o. in front of the whole field! Luckily, this dramatic moment did not prevent HEXIS AMR from beating the record number of points scored in a weekend by the same team. All the team members are available to tell you about the extraordinary adventure they've experienced on three continents. Here are a few selected comments on their return from South America.
Philippe Dumas (team manager): "Such moments are priceless"
"Filling the runner-up spot behind the best team, Vitaphone Maserati, means a lot to me. Moments like these are priceless. Personally speaking, I'm proud of the work that's been done. Managing this team required complete involvement to instill in each member of the group humility, the need to continually call him/herself into question and confidence in both him/herself and in the others. I sometimes have sleepless nights, but I think the above explains the team spirit that's developed in HEXIS AMR, which has enabled us to increase our individual effort one hundredfold. We were neither stronger nor weaker in San Luis than anywhere else. We've progressed throughout the whole season by trying to learn from our mistakes, but without reinventing motor sport. We've also got to congratulate the guys at Prodrive for their help, and the know-how they've given us since the fantastic experience of assembling the cars in Banbury at the beginning of the year. In this decisive event, we took full advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves in qualifying, and the guys did a fantastic job during the pit stops. With another eighteen points, on second place, we could have won the world championship. We've beaten teams that can pay their drivers, but unfortunately budgetary problems are part of our daily lot. It's a pity that our lead driver changed team-mates too often. Today, we don't have too many certainties about what the future holds. The FIA GT1 World Championship is fabulous, but we haven't seen a word in "L'Equipe" (French most famous daily sports newspaper) about Vitaphone Racing's world title. That's not normal. I think the promoter has to develop the renown of the championship."
Clement Mateu (development manager): "become a benchmark team"
"The team and the drivers did a great job. All you have to do is look at the images. We felt very emotional on the spot, and also afterwards when we saw the number of people who said they were as thrilled as we were. I'd like to thank all our supporters and our partners. On this subject, the support of the Hexis Group and its personnel have been the determining factors, and we'd like to dedicate this result to them as it epitomizes the image of a successful industrial company. We've now got to confirm this achievement, and become a benchmark team in international motor sport to attract more media interest and sign up new major partnerships."
Michel Mateu (CEO Hexis Group): "an efficient communications tool"
"What we achieved in San Luis is the reflection of our philosophy passion drives us to search for performance and that's what makes us win. I believe in the added value that motor sport represents for a company. It's an efficient communications tool to make the company known. HEXIS AMR represents ten people, four or five times fewer than the big teams, but they all have a huge heart and a real desire to win. You only have to see what the guys are capable of doing in the pits. A driver can gain a few tenths per lap, and just changing the tyres we gained between two and three seconds. I'm very proud to find myself in the middle of these youngsters, and I feel a surge of emotion when they thank me for having got this adventure up and running some ten years ago. It makes me want to continue!"
Antoine Penven (engineer): "do things simply"
"We tried to do things simply and it happened like in a dream! Fred Mackowiecki's knowledge of the circuit helped us to dispel our doubts at the start of the meeting. Thanks to our relaxed state of mind we were able to use old rubber in free practice, to give the warm-up a miss and save tyres. We opted for a fairly unaggressive setup and we were able to keep four fresh sets of tyres per car for the two races. We also had to work on the traction because of the series of tight corners from which the drivers emerged in first gear. It's an old chestnut, but to finish first, you first have to finish! Reliability was one of our strong points this season. It's not always obvious when the meetings are concentrated in two days like in South America, but it's the key to good performances."
Frederic Mackowiecki (driver of the no.9 Aston Martin): "move forward together"
"I arrived in the team at the start of 2007, and on its first race in the FIA GT3 European Championship we set pole at Silverstone. Since then, HEXIS AMR has kept on progressing by refining details while remaining faithful to its working methods. I've been lucky enough to pursue other programmes and that helps the flow of technical information. A strong sense of mutual confidence exists. We are pushing forward together and I've rarely experienced such osmosis in a team. Our results this year have far exceeded our expectations and we fully deserve them. We've contributed to the overall success of French motor sport this season."
Clivio Piccione (driver no.10 Aston Martin): "2011 is looking good"
"We made an increasingly powerful impact from the first to the last race. This was my first year in GT and I felt more and more at home. The whole strength of HEXIS AMR is its team spirit, which became even stronger over the course of the final rounds. The results prove the true potential of the team and of each of its members. It makes things look very good for the coming year. The podium in the last race is a major relief as Jonathan and I almost got there on three or four occasions. The dying minutes were a bit stressful as the Lamborghini had closed the gap to half-a-second. It's a great result for the team and for the make. At the start I wasn't sure about my decision to race in GT, but I've now realized it was the right one, and I'm very happy with the first season. It was the right path to follow, and I hope to stay in it in the future in the HEXIS AMR team as the sense of continuity is very important for me to build on."
Romain Prot (technician looking after the tyre changes on the no.10 Aston Martin): "no special secrets"
"'These guys are warriors!' said Yann Clairay about Romain Frot, Mickael Duterque, Gil Botelho and Pierre Comby. Thanks to their work the two cars spent only 59.6s and 59.3s at their pit when no other team was doing better than 1m 02s! "We haven't got a magic secret. We train, we're young and we're driven by the rage to win. Practically speaking it all depends on where the driver stops. If the car stops in the right place, if the nozzle is in the right position, if the hydraulic jack works properly then we've got the rhythm right. We don't think and everything goes off without a hitch."
Gautier Mezan (logistics manager): "looking after an eighteen-day trip for twenty people"
"It all went off well apart from a small overbooking problem with the hire cars. At the circuit we were under tents like in the days of karting. The tarpaulins weren't watertight, and in Saturday's big storm we were flooded. We were in bed and breakfasts and we found the Argentineans incredibly hospitable - they welcomed us with open arms. They invited us to barbecues and gave us presents! In all, the cars will have been away for two-and-a-half months. They were loaded after Navarra at the end of October and they won't arrive in Rotterdam until 5th January. All the equipment was transported between Sao Paolo and San Luis in twenty-seven trucks. Each team had two containers. We haven't had a lot of experience with this type of logistics, but we studied the problem to bring only what was necessary in terms of spare parts, tools and consumables. We had to think of certain details like the anti-damp protection, which prevents electrical failures on the cars. We had a look at how the other teams dealt with the problems to improve our organization even more next time."