TUSC: TRG to field two Aston Martin cars in GTD class

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For the first time in more than three decades, Aston Martin will have an U.S.-based team to compete in North American sports car racing.

The famous British marque has announced that after recent tests at Sebring and Daytona, it will field two full-time entries in the inaugural season of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Kevin Buckler’s “The Racer’s Group” will run the cars as part of a collaboration called TRG-AMR North America.

“I feel like this has been 20 years in the making for all of us,” Buckler said. “…To have the opportunity to officially represent one of the most iconic and revered, street and racing marques in the world, is a perfect fit for where our organization has now evolved.

“We will be proud to represent and to race the Aston Martin Racing cars here in North America, not only for ourselves, but for any and all interested teams or partners.”

TRG-AMR will race a pair of Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 machines, which have competed in various endurance/GT series around the world. Aston Martin also competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

A driver lineup has yet to be announced, but TRG-AMR notes that they’ve “used the recent Balance of Performance tests as well as numerous additional test days to undergo extensive driver evaluations.”

Valtteri Bottas takes pole position for season-opening Austrian GP

Leonhard Foeger/Pool via Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas upstaged Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to take pole position Saturday for the Formula One Austrian GP.

The Finnish driver edged out the world champion by 0.012 seconds to claim the top spot for the season opener at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg. He clenched his fist as he climbed out of his car and shared a hug with Hamilton.

“It’s something special when you push the car to the limit,” said Bottas, who is chasing an eighth career win. “Feels so good. It’s very impressive (from the team).”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was third, and Lando Norris gave McLaren a boost by finishing fourth. Verstappen has won the past two years here, including 2019 when he started third behind Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“It’s going to be interesting quite a bit warmer tomorrow and hopefully this will play to our advantage,” Verstappen said. “Today, Mercedes was on a different level, unfortunately. Last year we were also a little bit off in qualifying so I expect we will be a bit better in the race.”

Bottas had the leading time when drivers embarked on their final laps and beat his own mark before sliding off the track into the gravel.

Hamilton was chasing a record-extending 89th career pole. He was ahead but then dropped off slightly as Bottas secured a 12th career pole.

“Great job by Valtteri. It’s a great start to the season,” Hamilton said. “We show year on year that we continue to be the best team. We’re open-minded … constantly learning from each other and pushing the boundaries.”

Ferrari struggled for speed, with Leclerc nearly one second behind in seventh and Sebastian Vettel failing to make it into the third and final part of qualifying, known as Q3. He starts the race from 11th on the grid.

Vettel is leaving Ferrari at the end of the season with his future in F1 uncertain.

Earlier, Hamilton posted the fastest time in morning practice. The 35-year-old British driver was also quickest in both sessions on Friday.

Midway through third practice, F1 newcomer Nicholas Latifi misjudged the exit of a turn and spun his Williams car into a protective tire wall.