The Garage 59 team fought back from a tough qualifying session to take second place in the Pro-Am class in the 2019 Suzuka 10 Hours. It was a hard race, fought in hot conditions but the team dug in and delivered a trophy at the end of a challenging 10 hours.
Friday’s practice sessions were a wash out for the teams with torrential rain creating rivers on the track. Garage 59 runs the new-for-2019 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 so lost track time can bite when it comes to getting everything right for qualifying.
The team’s Pro-Am line up of Alexander West, Chris Goodwin and Côme Ledogar qualified the #188 Aston Martin in 32ndplace, which was fifth in class. With the team in need of a good result after a disastrous Spa 24 Hours last month, all eyes were on Goodwin who was at the wheel for the start.
With the rain a distant memory, the race got underway on a beautiful summer’s day and Goodwin was soon moving up the order. He completed an excellent double stint before handing over to Ledogar and then West.
The three team mates led the Pro-Am battle for much of the first half but a later drive through for a pit stop misdemeanour dropped the Vantage to second and despite taking the lead again they were just a few seconds adrift at the chequered flag.
“The Suzuka 10 Hours is a great event and in the Japanese summer heat, its’ a real endurance race,” said Goodwin. “I’m really pleased with our team performance and of course P2 in Pro-Am is a great result for Garage 59 and the Aston Martin Vantage. The heavy rain on Friday took away any chance we had to work on set up and in the end, I think that hurt us against the other teams and manufacturers that have both raced here last year and have more mature race cars.
“It’s our first year with a new Aston Martin so we shouldn’t be greedy but a win would have been nice and we were only a few seconds off that! On a brighter note, Alex (West) got to race against his racing hero, Mika Häkkinen, and enjoyed it even more by finishing one spot ahead at the flag!”
Garage 59 will also take part in the fifth and final round of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge, which takes place in November at Kyalami in South Africa.