The final race of the season in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge occurred at Lime Rock Park in the beautiful fall foliage of Connecticut. For TRG-AMR North America, the race was a wild roller coaster ride. That ride ended with a well-deserved fourth place for the team and drivers Damien Faulkner and James Davison.
The drivers and team worked through a practice and short qualifying session that delivered a ninth place grip position.
The team worked hard overnight to improve the car and hoped for the best come race day. After a penalty for jumping the start, Faulkner had his work cut out for him. He was up for the task, however, with a really aggressive attack to reclaim the lost positions. Twenty-five minutes in to the two and a half hour race, Faulkner had passed five cars. His hard work behind the wheel meant 15th at that point in the race. Faulkner continued to attack, and by the 50-minute mark of the race he had the No. 7 Vantage GT4 into 10th! At this point the team looked to pit and found the right time one hour and seven minutes into the race.
Faulkner out and Davison in to the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 machine. Davison was a late find for the TRG-AMR team for this event. He has an extensive open wheel racing background. Once in the Vantage, Davison’s background in sprint racing suited the team for this event. He continued the same type of attacking drive toward the front of the GS pack.
Davison’s pace, like Faulkner’s, was as fast and, on most laps, faster than the leading cars. The gap toward the leaders continued to drop. The team made a decision to go as long as it could on its fuel, waiting to pit under green. This meant that the No. 7 Royal Purple/Adobe Road Winery Aston Martin Vantage GT4 took the lead with 50 minutes left in the event.
The No. 7 pitted with 19 minutes left in the race and resumed in P6. Davison immediately got back to his pace prior to the splash-and-dash pitstop, and the TRG-AMR team knew he had the pace to get to fourth place if Davison drove some great laps. With five minutes to go Davison made his pass for fifth. With under two minutes remaining the final pass by the No. 7 resulted in a final fourth place. While not a victory, the TRG-AMR North America team knows that they are very close to changing that in 2014.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race airs Sunday, October 6 at 5 PM ET/2 PM PT on Fox Sports 1.
Team Owner Kevin Buckler on Lime Rock: "That was the second strong race in a row for our new Aston Martin GT4 program in Continental Challenge. At the last race we put it on the pole and were leading the race when we had a tranny problem. This race was every bit as exciting. We did not have a lot of time to practice or set up the car but I think the guys made some great changes just before the race.
Unfortunately Damien was called for pulling out of line on the start of the race and had to do a drive-through penalty which resulted in the nearly 35 second loss. Who would've ever thought that the entire race would run green? Damien pushed hard and gained ground on everybody and once James got in he continued to do the same thing.
We finished fourth, 22 seconds behind the leader. We might have had this one but that's how it goes. Everybody on the team performed well and again we showed that we can win and run for a future championship with this amazing new car."
Damien Faulkner on the penalty and the race: “That was a crazy race for us. We felt good about our Aston Martin after morning practice. The officials felt I was little too excited, so they had me serve a penalty. This put me at the back which was frustrating. Mostly because I knew that between myself and James we could win the race. Once I got back out I just set to running qualifying laps every lap. Then I handed over to James and he did the same. We came close to pulling out a “Michael Schumacher” type of comeback! Thank you to TRG-AMR. The crew always works their tails off to get us fast race cars and they did again this weekend.”
James Davison about driving the Vantage GT4: “The opportunity to drive this weekend came out of nowhere. I am friends with Richie Stanaway who was over to drive the V12 Vantage GT3 for TRG-AMR in the Rolex. When I got to the track Richie introduced me to Kevin. We all made a deal to get me into the Vantage GT4. That was awesome, and then when I got to drive the car it was even better! Damien did a great job after the early setback and then when I got in I just drove the car as hard as I could for the rest of the race. In the end fourth was a good finish, but for sure this Aston Martin GS car is capable of winning. Thank you to TRG-AMR for the opportunity.”
TRG-AMR North America