Austin, Texas 09/17/2016 | A spirited drive in blistering Texas heat saw young British star, Ben Barker advance the Godstone Ranch TRG-AMR Heart Car from the back of the field to a sixth place finish in Saturday's Lone Star LeMans at the Circuit of Americas track here in Austin.
Barker, doing double duty between the WEC and the Weathertech United SportsCar series, paired with Aussie David Calvert-Jones, spent most of the weekend struggling to find front grip for the 007 Aston Martin. Track temps soaring to near 125 degrees did not agree with the Continental tires causing massive under steer in nearly every one of the 21 COTA corners. The team set about a solution that would make the 007 competitive in the heat. Plus the Heart Car was also dealing with the BOP restricter plate (thanks IMSA) essentially choking the Aston's big V-12 engine resulting in slow top speeds down the long back COTA straight. Aero is not the Aston Martin's strong point. Taking away the horsepower the Aston uses to erase this handicap is a tough blow. Not exactly what the team needed at a track known for high speed!
The Heart Car struggled/qualified 13 on the grid as a result. Overnight, TRG-AMR engineers made significant changes to the setup in preparation for sweltering heat on Saturday assuming the slippery track would equalize the disadvantage of top speed and grip. In a word-success! The venerable 007 Godstone Ranch Heart Car was now competitive. After perfect pit strategy by TRG boss, Kevin Buckler, the 007 led the race with 39+ minutes to go! What a difference a day makes!
After the last round of pit stops recycled the leaders to the front, the 007 was managing a comfortable 7th place. Ben Barker even posted the races second fastest lap! The race went clean to the end with no way for the Heart Car to climb any higher. But this is racing! An extra white flag lap ran the GTD leader out of fuel and the Godstone Ranch Heart Car flashed by the checker in 6th place.
"We were all stoked by Ben's drive and the team's overnight set up. Afterall, we are racing against teams that have been competing all year! They know their drivers and setups by heart. For Godstone Ranch MotorSports and TRG-AMR to wring a sixth place finish against this field of elite Weathertech GT drivers is impressive," said team principal John McCutchen II.
Godstone Ranch Motorsports wishes to thank all of our sponsors, supporters and volunteers who put the Heart Car on the grid this weekend. On Time Electric, Upstream Engineering, Whilo, Milam Painting, Johnson Controls, LaSalle Partners, Adobe Winery, Ring Central, PRS Guitars, Sun Radio and Austin Vintage Guitars.
We were also honored to display the Orders of Savoy, Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus on the Heart Car to bring awareness to the Italian earthquake victims. Godstone driver, John J. McCutchen II is a Knight in this 1000 year old Order. The Heart Guitar will be auctioned off to benefit the victims.
Your help allows Godstone Ranch MotorSports to advance the life saving Hands-Only CPR technique. Get on the team! Contact us today and see how you can be part of our life saving mission.