This weekend’s race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was the last in the 2019 Blancpain GT Series for R-Motorsport. The Niederwil-based outfit signed off with a P2 finish, its best result of the Endurance Cup in what had been a campaign of ups and downs.
In 2019, R-Motorsport were deploying the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for the first time. The Swiss racing team were proud to fly the flag for the latest GT3 generation of the British manufacturer, not just in the Endurance Cup but also in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe. R Motorsport fielded as many as three of the new Aston Martins in the standout event on the series calendar – the 24 Hours of Spa.
A further highlight of the year for R-Motorsport was undoubtedly the race at Le Castellet. In this rehearsal for the 24-hour race at Spa, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 was one of the fastest cars in the line-up. It wasn’t until just a few laps from the end that the number 76 car dropped out of the Top Three and narrowly missed out on a podium finish. “We’ve often been quick this season, but ultimately it’s never been quite enough to get us onto the podium,” said Jake Dennis, who had to pull out all the stops in a tough race. “The fact that it has now worked out for us in the finale makes the result all the more gratifying.”
The groundwork for the success was the strong qualifying performance by Dennis and his team-mates Marvin Kirchhöfer and Alex Lynn in the number 76 Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Lynn started the race from sixth on the grid and had no trouble matching the front-runners for pace. Kirchhöfer maintained the flawless performance, handing over to Dennis in a Top Five position.
Dennis: “The race was incredibly chaotic. There were a lot of interruptions and collisions.” Retirements by opponents worked to the advantage of the 24-year-old Englishman who advanced from fourth to second place just before the end of the race. “Holding on to second place was anything but easy. I had absolutely no grip at the end and had to go all out to defend myself against the opposition.”
For their R-Motorsport team-mates in the number 62 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, the race had a less satisfactory outcome. Starting from 16th, first stint driver Maxime Martin dropped far down the field after being forced into the gravel and was obliged to claw his way back into the race. Matthieu Vaxivière and Matt Parry valiantly continued the charge and were among the Top 15 when a drive-through penalty wrecked all prospects of a decent result.
Just like the finale itself, the whole season in the Endurance Cup had been a rollercoaster ride for R Motorsport. Despite strong performances by the drivers and consistently fast pace, the team was not always rewarded with good results. In the overall classification, which is an amalgam of points scored in the Endurance Cup and GT World Challenge Europe, Kirchhöfer ranks fifth. In the team championship, R-Motorsport finished the season in sixth place.
Dr Florian Kamelger: “It’s been a tempestuous season finale with an outstanding finish for R Motorsport, and we’re delighted to see our best-placed Aston Martin Vantage in the runner-up spot. Alex Lynn, Marvin Kirchhöfer and Jake Dennis have achieved an unexpected podium finish despite pressure from the pursuing pack. This is our second-best result of the year after our win in the World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup Race at the Nürburgring. The sister car driven by Maxime Martin, Matt Perry and Matthieu Vaxivière was unlucky today: Maxime was pushed into the gravel right at the start of the race, which cost us a lot of positions. After a drive through penalty, we no longer had any chance of a second Top Ten finish and had to settle for 19th. But all in all, we are very happy with the finale to a season in the Blancpain GT Series which has not always been easy. Tonight, we’ll be celebrating the podium result with the whole team who have worked so hard all year. Well done, guys!”