A podium and good prospects The opening rounds of the European FIA GT3 championship took place at Silverstone during the RAC Tourist Trophy meeting, a classic award which dates back to 1905. Hexis Racing AMR held its own, notching one ...
A podium and good prospects
The opening rounds of the European FIA GT3 championship took place at Silverstone during the RAC Tourist Trophy meeting, a classic award which dates back to 1905. Hexis Racing AMR held its own, notching one podium finish and getting both of its Aston Martin DBRS9s amongst the championship points. The team now lies 2nd in the provisional team standings and one of its crews is joint leader of the drivers' table. The team also took part in the FIA GT race - the main event of the meeting - in which its Aston Martin Vantage GT2 showed a smart turn of speed.
A major GT3 contender: the DBRS9
The week-end began well when Fred Makowiecki clocked free practice's best time in his Aston Martin No. 4, a full second ahead of the field. During qualifying, with the Morgans starting to flex their muscles, Thomas Accary did well to clock the 2nd fastest lap time in the first session, while Fred Mako was 6th fastest in session 2. Thomas's DBRS9 No. 3 was first out of the blocks in Saturday morning's race, but then slipped back to 2nd place, which it held on to until the chequered flag. It turned out to be a great day for team-mate Julien Rodrigues, as this was his first ever European podium finish! In the initial stages of Sunday's race both cars were sitting nicely in the top 8. Recovering from the previous day's disappointment when they had to drop out due to a collision, Fred and Manu raced home 5th despite problems with a shock absorber and a rear-end shunt that bent a half-axle out of true. After climbing from 11th to 7th place, Julien got muscled out in no uncertain terms by an Audi, which set him back two slots. Then Thomas managed to get into 2nd place but a botched turn saw him in the clutches of yet another Audi which, through the final turn, employed the same strong-arm tactics to snatch a podium place from our man from Haute Savoie.
Other noteworthy achievements included Thomas setting the fastest lap time in Saturday's race and Fred unwinding the 2nd fastest lap on the Sunday. Was this enough to keep the team happy? Here is what team-manager Philippe Dumas had to say: "Our efforts during the closed season paid off in terms of performance but we still have plenty of work to do getting the balance of the car right. That said, I'm unhappy about a couple of things. For one thing, our rear fenders ended up with far too much Audi paint on them! Also, I had to lodge a complaint over that incident in the last turn of Race 2. It was not upheld because apparently the collision was not violent enough for them. And another thing. There were two crews here whose adherence to the Pro/Am spirit embodied in the GT3 regulations is disputable. If Scheier & Enjalbert and Armindo & Campanico are able to race together then why not Mako & Accary? We came here to race with the leaders not to be taken advantage of." Whatever, Hexis Racing AMR and their drivers are in good shape for both titles.
GT2: A good ad for the Vantage
For its grand debut in the GT2 class, Hexis Racing AMR benefitted from some welcome support from the Aston Martin Racing works team. The only hiccup of the weekend came when the car was moved to the back of the starting grid after failing post-qualifying technical inspection. For the sake of a couple of millimetres ride height and an anchoring problem with a floor panel, Fred's 2nd fastest time in the category counted for nothing. The ride height had been properly set up but a part of the exhaust system fouled a floor panel, pushing it out of tolerance at one of the inspection points. Prior to that, the Vantage V8 had clocked the fastest lap during pre-qualifying practice, a time which was not bettered in GT2 at any time during the week-end. Mucke & Mako finished 7th in the race, after losing time in a frustrating safety-car scenario. Their Vantage nevertheless clocked the 3rd fastest lap of the race. "Our first outing proved to be an interesting experience," said Philippe Dumas. "We had two superb drivers who seemed to complement each other well. We can learn a lot from Stefan Mucke, whose calm and collected approach matches his experience. We managed to improve the car as the weekend progressed. It showed itself to be full of promise in a field of hardened warriors in the category. It's a close contest in GT2. We hope to come back in better shape next time. We need to take into account the length of the race. We have to find more stable set up parameters because the car's road-holding suffered during the latter stages. The team's busy schedule means we won't be able to enter the Vantage GT2 at the Adria meeting, but we'll be back after that. We'll be working out the schedule in the coming weeks."
News from here and there
En route for Adria
Hexis Racing AMR's Aston Martin DBRS9s will be tackling their FIA GT3 rivals for the second time this season when they meet up in Adria, not far from Venise, next May 15-16. An innovation is in store for them because Race 2 will take place on the Saturday night. During the winter, Hexis Racing travelled from France to carry out a series of tests on this short but challenging circuit. The field will comprise 40 entries in all, with 11 car-makers represented. As a reward for their achievements at Silverstone, Accary & Rodrigues will have to carry a 5kg success ballast on their Aston Martin No. 3.
Manu Rodrigues limbers up for Le Mans at Spa-Francorchamps
Hexis Racing's top brass made the trip to Spa-Francorchamps to see their driver Manu Rodrigues make his GT2 debut in the 1000km LMS race. Manu, who is half French and half Portuguese, used this race to familiarise himself with the Ferrari 430 he will be driving for JMB Racing in the upcoming Le Mans 24-hour race. After taking part in the qualifying session, Manu took over the wheel for the start of the race. The safety car had to come out several times during the 1000 kilometres. After one restart, Manu found himself hemmed in between three rampant LMP1 prototypes. The first two collided ahead of him and the third one rammed him in a cloud of burning rubber smoke. It took a while to get the car repaired, and when it took to the track again it developed the suspension problem which put it out of the race during the fourth hour. Rendezvous in mid-June for Manu's very first taste of the Le Mans race.
Hexis Energy, Kalaschnikow exclusive distributor in France
Cooler than a night in Moscow, Kalaschnikow is set to land on the Mediterranean shores! It has already stamped its authority in some of the most fashionable bars across Europe as a premium mixer for your new cocktails. With its smart and sober cans, bright red colour and unique fruity taste, Kalaschnikow is now ready to rule the energy drinks French market. Thanks to its Russian name, it differentiates itself from its competitors, with English-sounding names... And what is that makes Kalaschnikow such an outstanding energy drink? It is the combination of premium ingredients (Taurine, Natural caffeine, B-vitamins), mixed together to provide a cool and reinvigorating shot of energy to help you march on late into the night! With the energy drinks market experiencing incredible and consistent growth, Kalaschnikow appears as a real challenger for the world market's leader. In terms of marketing, HEXIS Energy (Kalaschnikow exclusive distributor in France) strikes a blow: glasses, fridges, adhesive flyers, and even a first drive in Aston Martin DBRS9 thanks to its sister, the car race stable HEXIS Racing AMR!