Garage 59 has won the GT World Challenge Europe Pro-Am endurance titles by winning the season-closing Paul Ricard 1000kms. The #188 Aston Martin Vantage GT3, driven by Alexander West, Chris Goodwin and Marvin Kirchhöfer took a confident victory in the six-hour race, which netted the Pro-Am Team’s title for Garage 59 and the Pro-Am Drivers’ title for West and Goodwin.
In the Silver Class, Andrew Watson, Valentin Hasse-Clot and James Pull had the fight for their class title halted after just one hour of racing when a piece of debris punctured the radiator of the #159 Aston Martin. They were running second in class at the time but despite this non-finish, the team took third place in the Silver Teams’ title chase.
Team Principal Andrew Kirkaldy said: “The team really deserves this title. 2020 has been a tough season but everyone dug deep and got the job done. I’m really happy to see Alex and Chris crowned as Drivers’ Champions as they have both worked hard on their pace, which is really showing in our results. I also want to say thank you to our Pro drivers. Jonny Adam just missed out on a title as his factory commitments took him to Bahrain this weekend but he has really moved #188 up a gear this year. Maxime Martin was a great addition to the team at the Spa 24 Hours where he helped us take a podium finish and Marvin did an fantastic job this afternoon so thank you to him and also to R-Motorsport for kindly lending him to us for the weekend.”
Garage 59 went into this race level on points at the top of the tables and knew that a win was the only chance to guarantee the championship titles. The #188 crew had made a strong start to the season with a win at Imola. A subsequent podium at the Spa 24 Hours set them up for the title fight.
Chris Goodwin took the start in the #188 and survived a chaotic mid-pack fight for position at the first corner and took the Pro-Am class lead. The race ran like clockwork for the #188 crew with Goodwin handing over to West, then to Kirchhöfer, then back to West, before Kirchhöfer took it to the flag. When he jumped back into the Vantage for that final stint he was a fair distance behind the #77 Lamborghini but they still had one more stop to do. After that final pit stop, Marvin was 22 seconds behind the Lamborghini with just over 40 minutes remaining and knew that nothing but a win would get the job done.
With the team on the edge of their seats, the young German set off after his prey and swept into the lead with 23 minutes to spare!
“The end of the race was very intense,” said West. “Marvin did an amazing job, chasing down the Lamborghini and actually making it look a lot easier than it is. It has been a great team effort and I’m very happy that we have got it done this year.”
“It has been a funny year, for everybody not just us, so it’s great to end it on a high,” said Goodwin. “We always go well here at Paul Ricard and this time was no exception. Having Marvin on board was a fantastic help. Jonny Adam is normally with me and Alex but he’s missed out because he was in Bahrain for the WEC race but this title is also down to him.”
“It has been a pleasure to race with Garage 59,” added Kirchhöfer. “I haven’t done much this year and I really appreciate the fact that these guys thought of having me in the car and I’m very happy to bring it home in first place.”
Garage 59 is now heading back to base in the UK. The team will be back in 2021 and will announce plans for next season in the New Year.