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Event Review – by Obie R. Silverwood

The Monterey weather was a blue sky, pleasant temperature and soft breeze for our annual AE meet to party and support the V8 Vantage 007 Aston Martin Racing (“AMR”) team entry for the American Le Mans series (“ALMS”) running at Laguna Seca. Present were AE members and guests, Stu/Deb Slamowitz (V8 Vantage), Chris/Alice Cason (DB7 V12), Don/Terry Lovasik (V8 Vantage), Vin/Meg Ratford (V8 Vantage), Tony/Barbara Fiorentini (DB7 V12), Hans/Lynn Haselbach (DB7 V12), George/Barbara Von Gehr (V8 Vantage), Ray Bregante (DB9), John Lockner & Annette (DB7), Obie/Joy Silverwood (DB7), Anthony Chiu (V8 Vantage), Randal/Joye Plaugher (Porsche Cayman), Dave/Tami Ogden (Porsche 911), Steve Moe (Corvette), Doug/Jennifer Armey (Corvette).

Frivolities began Friday afternoon with wine and cheese on the patio of the Bide-A-Wee Hotel, after which we progressed to the magnificent French country restaurant, “Fandango,” where we were joined by Chris Coster, the General Manager of Los Gatos Luxury (“LGLC”) Cars and Sales Manager, Wout Stokman, and Aston Martin of North America National Marketing Manager, Steve Sporich, and Operations Manager, Seth Geeslin. The twenty-five of us were seated in a quaint private dining room adorned with pastoral wall murals. The champagne flowed, thanks to LGLC, and lively conversation filled the room (see and hear at http://youtu.be/nAkYE_T_Kno).

Race day breakfast was at the Hyatt Regency’s TusCa restaurant, from which we caravanned to the track, at which our group of Astons, two Corvettes and a Porsche enjoyed VIP parking. AMR Event Manager, Guylaine Moreau, had arranged a private tour of the AMR paddock/garage for us where we were greeted by Technical Partner Manager, Warren Jones, who provided us an up close viewing of the team’s entry car, 007. Tim Cottingham, the Aston Martin Heritage Trust Registrar, had asked me to make note of and report to him 007’s chassis number for the AM Race register, which I obediently did. Tim does an outstanding job of keeping track of all the Astons ever produced.

Our enthusiasm was buoyed to learn that 007 had the fastest qualifying time Friday, giving it pole position in its GT class. A change in ALMS rules since last month’s run at Long Beach had allowed the AMR car to reduce it weight and increase its air manifold intake, which naturally resulted in better acceleration – so, our hopes were running high for a victory.

Dashing ahead of a field of Corvettes, Porsches, BMW’s and Ferraris, 007 held the lead position (see photo) for much of the six hour race until accidently clipping a Porsche at the “Cork Screw” section of the track, which caused one of the Porsche’s rear tires to blow out. Consequently, 007 was penalized 60 seconds, which was almost one lap, making it virtually impossible to catch-up. Oh well – there is always the “next race.”

We wound down the day at Tarpy’s, our favorite post-race dinner spot. Win or lose, a fun time was had by all. Thank you again to AMR for the special tour and to LGLC for the champagne.
 
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