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May 20, 2014 - 06:17 AM
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New Showcase Series Experiences Successful Debut At The Glen
Posted by: newsla on May 20, 2014 - 06:16 AM
Sports Cars
New Showcase Series Experiences Successful Debut At The Glen


The new Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America racing series debuted at New York's iconic Watkins Glen International race track with plenty of track time for practice, a qualifying session and a 35-minute race on both Saturday and Sunday, May 17-18.

 

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The two races, the first of seven events in the new premier drivers showcase operated by TRG-AMR, resulted in terrific on-track battles for the Aston Martin drivers and ended with the No. 42 Vantage of Simon Arscott and Bradley Ellis and No.15 Vantage of Robert Nimkoff capturing the first two series victories. The wins gave the victors the distinction of being the inaugural winners in the first weekend of competition for the new GT4 Challenge North America.

"It was an absolutely fantastic opening weekend for the TRG-AMR GT4 Challenge series of North America," said TRG-AMR CEO Kevin Buckler. "Everybody worked so hard the last few months getting ready for this. We came to Watkins Glen with a lot of challenges - especially the weather - and at the end of the day today it was just perfect. Guys were chasing each other down, turning personal best lap times and having some really good racing. We had a fantastic podium and victory celebration with champagne spraying everybody up on the stand and we had a really great group of guests, family and friends."

"Big hats off to the crew for the exemplary effort getting things done." said Buckler "Our partners at Royal Purple and Pirelli were terrific in their support for the GT4 Challenge this weekend. We're very proud to be associated with Aston Martin and look forward to continuing to grow the series and everything it is going to bring."

Bradley Ellis, a native of London who piloted Arscott Racing/lovecars.com Aston Martin Vantage GT4 took the checkered flag Saturday after qualifying on pole for the event. With wet conditions for the first race, the drivers opted for Pirelli slick tires and the No. 42 Vantage claimed the victory on the legendary circuit.

After team owner/driver Simon Arscott took the wheel for Sunday's early morning session and qualifying, Ellis sat in to battle through the field up to a second place finish on Sunday afternoon.

Rob Nimkoff, who recently raced with TRG-AMR in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January, won the pole for Sunday's race and led wire-to-wire en route to his first GT4 Challenge victory after surviving a late-race competitor challenge. Nimkoff, who followed Ellis to the finish line in the weekend's first race maintained consistently quick lap times to keep his advantage and garner the checkered flag in Round Two.

"For the inaugural event of the GT4 Challenge of North America, I think everything went off fantastically," said Robert Nimkoff, who previously competed in an Aston Martin in SCCA. "The Pirellis were awesome. They warmed up and had grip from the get go, so by lap two I was basically just doing flat out through the esses."

"Other than a few hiccups and the weather was iffy - cold, rainy, sleet - everybody really just got together with a lot of camaraderie," continued Nimkoff. "We enjoyed each other's company, had some good competition on the track and I just can't wait to race another one."

Eliseo Salazar, driver of the No. 07 Vantage sponsored by AGUNSA, finished a solid third in both races this weekend. Salazar, who teamed up with TRG-AMR in 2011 and 2012 comes to the GT4 Challenge from Santiago, Chile and has already signed to compete in several more GT4 Challenge events this season.

Driver Dan Aweida finished fourth place in today's race. The R&D Motorsports Aston Martin was sucessfully repaired overnight for damages caused to the front end on Saturday. R&D Motorsports team owner Clayton Romie took home this weekend's 'Most Unbelievable Freaking Effort Award' for the amazing turnaround he and his crew demonstrated to manage the car repairs and get Aweida back out to qualify third on the grid for Sunday's race.

A fantastic race ensued between Derek DeBoer and Kenneth Greenberg throughout the entire race on Sunday with both competitors staying within a few corners of each other throughtout the race. Team TRG-AMR driver David Block shared drive time this weekend with DeBoer and he too had a spirited race with Greenberg on Saturday and turned some terrific laps that day.

Additionally, driver of the No. 88 Vantage, Greg Milzcik, was presented 'The Adobe Road Wines Most Improved Award' after a tremendous second race on Sunday.

In the unofficial GT4 Challenge points standings, Ellis and Nimkoff are tied for first with 19 points, while Salazar sits in third with 16. Aweida ranks fourth with 14 points and Derek DeBoer is fifth with 12 points. The 2014 Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America will award its championship to the competitor with the most points at the end of the seven-race schedule.

The winner of each event will earn 10 points and each successive finisher earning one less point, with the 10th-place finisher receiving one point and additional finishers failing to earn points. Each competitor's top-three performances will count towards their championship point total.

Race 1 - Finishing Order Aston Martin GT4 Challenge North America

P1

#42

Bradley Ellis, London, England

P2

#15

Rob Nimkoff, Danbury, Conn.

P3

#07

Eliseo Salazar, Santiago, Chile

P4

#09

David Block, Cleveland, Ohio

P5

#88

Kenneth Greenberg, Hollywood, Fla.

P6

#02

Greg Milzcik, Littleton, Colo.

P7

#77

Dan Aweida, Boulder, Colo.

P8 #7 Max Riddle, Vancouver, BC, Canada (Exibition class) P9

#13

Joel Segal, Montreal, Canada (DNS)

Race 2 - Finishing Order Aston Martin GT4 Challenge North America P1

#42

Rob Nimkoff, London, England

P2

#15

Bradley Ellis, London

P3

#07

Eliseo Salazar, Santiago, Chile

P4 #77 Dan Aweida, Boulder, Colo. P5

#09

Derek DeBoer, Center Point, Ore.

P6

#88

Kenneth Greenberg, Hollywood, Fla.

P7 #02 Greg Milzcik, Littleton, Colo. P8 #7 Max Riddle, Vancouver, BC, Canada (Exibition class) P9

#13

Joel Segal, Montreal, Canada (DNS)

Bradley Ellis, driver, No. 42 Aston Martin Vantage GT4, winning Saturday's race:

"The team has done a great job getting the car set up. I was pushing every lap and Rob (Nimkoff) was chasing me down really well, so I was just trying to manage that gap. He kept me honest and kept me pushing the whole race."

Bradley Ellis, driver, No. 42 Aston Martin Vantage GT4, competing with Pirelli Tires:

"I worked the tires as hard as I possibly could as soon as I was leaving the pit road during Saturday's race. The tires have been really good. I've never driven this car on these tires and the Pirelli seems to work really well."

Rob Nimkoff, driver, No. 15 Aston Martin Vantage GT4, driving with Pirelli Tires:

"The race strategy was basically to not fight it out with Eliseo (Salazar), who was in second. "If we were going to be duking it out, we'd be holding each other up and Bradley (Ellis) would be able to carve through the back a lot quicker, which he was going to do anyway,". "Luckily, I had a really good start. I got a nice gap up in the esses. The tires were beautiful -That was good for me to keep building that gap and I knew Bradley was coming and he did. I just was glad that I had super consistent times and was able to keep enough of a gap to finish the race ahead of him."

Eliseo Salazar, driver, No. 07 AGUNSA Aston Martin Vantage GT4 highlights the first event of the GT4 Challenge of North America: "Everything this weekend has been more than I expected. It's very hard to start a series and TRG-AMR has done a great job in all aspects - appearance, performance of the cars, presentation, marketing, media. I couldn't be happier with this weekend. This is a celebration of my 40 years in racing. I've had some incredible highs and a few lows, but I must say this weekend has been a real high for me and I have thoroughly enjoyed all of it."

Andy Williamson, head of Aston Martin Racing customer programs:

"It is very gratifying to see the launch of Aston Martin's GT4 Challenge series here in North America. I've been involved for several years with the GT4 Challenge of Great Britain and I must say that TRG-AMR has certainly represented Aston Martin extremely well with this inaugural effort. We understand that the preparation and execution of running a series is not easy and TRG-AMR seems to have put everything in place to be successful. And best of all, the drivers seem to be having a fantastic weekend."

Steven Sporich, National Marketing Manager, Aston Martin The Americas:

"Aston Martin is truly excited to have launched its one-make series with TRG-AMR. The racing program reflects the performance and quality that the brand exemplifies. And as the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge grows, I can see more and more groups becoming involved in supporting and backing these efforts. Aston Martin has a lot of heritage and we believe this series will continue to emphasize the outstanding lineage of the brand. The execution of the inaugural weekend has been pure Aston Martin."

Upcoming Events

The next circuit on the series schedule is June 6 - 8 at Virginia International Raceway. The GT4 Challenge of North America continues with paired races and accompanied events at Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec Canada July 25 - 27 and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif. Aug. 29 - 31.

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