Our debut season has finished… and what a season it was. If you want to know the full story, Epic Racing’s Lee Davidson wrote a great article for us.
Round 1 – Fuji Speedway, Japan (2016-03-03)
After being confirmed an entry in their first ever series, STAX Racing made their debut in the opening round of the 2016 GPVWC World GT Series, taking place on the Fuji Speedway in Japan. However, there was some drama before the race meet had even begun, when primary driver Andrew Waring suffered energy blackouts in the build up to the race, causing the team to call upon their reserve driver Geoffrey Fournier to take the drive alongside Diego Carranza.
It was the Frenchman who led STAX Racing’s charge, with Fournier qualifying a respectable 12th despite a lack of practice with the Aston Martin. Carranza was a further 1.2 seconds off his teammate’s pace, taking 18th place in the session.
STAX Racing left Japan with points in the pocket thanks to Fournier’s attacking drive on a 0-stop strategy which proved to be the correct decision. He remained composed in the packed and often hectic midfield, particularly in the second half of the race when tyre wear began to issue a few cars up ahead, coupled with fuel conservation taking place throughout the race. 8th place and 8 points was a fine reward and capped a competitive debut for both the driver and the team. Carranza didn’t fare as well, having to pit to repair damage early on and chasing the race for the remainder of the event, none the less, he saw the chequered flag, which was the team’s goal for Race 1.
QUALIFYING RESULT – G. Fournier 12th, D. Carranza 18th / RACE RESULT – G. Fournier 8th, D. Carranza 19th
Round 2 – Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Brazil (2016-03-31)
Following on from their successful debut in Japan, STAX Racing rolled on into Brazil and the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace for the second round of the 2016 GPVWC World GT Series, hoping to score more points and consolidate their position in the midfield. There was good news in the run up to the race with Andrew Waring returning.
In qualifying, Carranza displayed a noticeable increase in performance with P10, feeling a lot more comfortable in the Aston Martin. Waring completed a fine team performance with 13th, underlining STAX Racing’s quest for a double points score.
Unfortunately, it was not to be. Warring had technical difficulties, resulting in his computer freezing up. With the race only lasting another 4 laps, it was a desperately disappointing end to what was a promising race for the Canadian, who was running in the points despite having to make a pit stop. However, Carranza saved STAX Racing’s day with a superb run to 8th place, matching Fournier’s result in Round 1. Once again, the team utilised a 0-stop strategy and was able to remain competitive throughout, pressuring far more established teams around them.
QUALIFYING RESULT – D. Carranza 10th, A. Waring 13th / RACE RESULT – D. Carranza 8th, A. Waring DNF
Round 3 – Istanbul Park, Turkey (2016-04-14)
The third round of the season took place at the drivers-favourite Istanbul Park circuit. Following on from a reoccurrence of technical issues, Andrew Waring once again took to the sidelines whilst he looked for a solution, meaning series newcomer Carlos Andres Ladines being handed a debut, resulting in an all-Peruvian STAX Racing line up.
The race was largely expected to be dominated by the teams running the Ferrari 458. Indeed, the top five on the grid were all prancing horses. However, STAX Racing were able to score their first ever podium in only their third event, as Ladines debut was one to remember, finishing in third place. Carranza made the result STAX Racing’s first double points finish, coming through the field to take 11th place, cementing STAX Racing’s championship position in the top six.
QUALIFYING RESULT – C. A. Ladines 9th, D.Carranza 17th / RACE RESULT – C. A. Ladines 3rd, D.Carranza 11th
Round 4 – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (2016-04-28)
The main news coming out of the STAX camp in the build up to Round 4 of the 2016 GPVWC World GT Series was that Andrew Waring decided to step down from his primary driver role due to his continued technical issues. His departure meant that Carlos Andres Ladines was rewarded for his incredible podium debut last time out at Istanbul Park with a permanent drive for the remainder of the season. And indeed, Ladines celebrated the news in style at Spa-Francorchamps, starting off by qualifying in 2nd place. Unfortunately, team mate Diego Carranza was unable to qualify, meaning he would start the race at the back of the grid.
The race saw the team return to the podium in the hands of Ladines. Once again taking third place, Ladines was able to remain at the sharp end of the pack throughout the race. His second podium out of two races catapulted him to fourth in the series standings, despite having competed in only half the races. Carranza also performed brilliantly, coming through the pack to take home seventh and complete STAX Racing’s first double top ten result and pushing the team up to fourth in the team standings at the halfway point of the season.
QUALIFYING RESULT – C. A. Ladines 2nd, D. Carranza DNQ / RACE RESULT – C. A. Ladines 3rd, D. Carranza 7th
Round 5 – Brno Circuit, Czech Republic (2016-05-26)
The second half of the 2016 GPVWC World GT Series kicked off on the Brno Circuit. STAX Racing went into the race meet with confidence high following podium finishes in the previous two rounds thanks to Carlos Andres Ladines. Diego Carranza was also looking to stretch his points finishing run to four races and continue to help STAX Racing maintain their strong standing in the team’s championship.
Qualifying saw the team pick up where they left off with a competitive showing from both drivers, Ladines taking 5th on the timesheet and 4th on the grid whilst Carranza set the 11th best time but started inside the top ten, in 9th position. This meant STAX Racing had both cars inside the top ten on the grid for the first time ever in their short existence.
Things got even better in the race, with Ladines once again taking the bottom step of the podium with a fantastic third place, his third in as many races. Carranza rounded off a fantastic team result with 11th and 5 more valuable points, keeping STAX Racing well in the hunt for a top five result in the championship standings, whilst Ladines’ run of podiums solidified his place in the battle for best of the rest with the likes of Thomas Jacobs (TSA) and Nico Barclay (Scuderia Basilea).
QUALIFYING RESULT – C. A. Ladines 5th, D. Carranza 11th / RACE RESULT – C. A. Ladines 3rd, D. Carranza 11th
Round 6 – Silverstone, United Kingdom (2016-06-23)
In the build-up to the sixth race in Silverstone, Diego Carranza told the team that he would be unavailable to race. This meant that, at the penultimate round of the 2016 World GT Series, Geoffrey Fournier would race in Diego’s place instead. This marked Fournier’s second start for the team, after he started in the inaugural race of the season. With limited testing beforehand, he did well to qualify in P13 while Carlos Andres Ladines started from sixth position.
After a frantic start, the two STAX Racing drivers were running very close to each other in P6 and P7. As the field settled down, they gained another place and looked to continue the team’s record of consistent finishes in the points. With seven minutes to go, just as the first Ferraris in front of the STAX Racing cars were beginning to pit, the race was red flagged because of a mass disconnect. This meant that Ladines finished the cut-short race in P5, followed by Fournier in P6.
The results confirmed STAX Racing would most probably finish in the top five for their debut series, whilst Ladines further cemented his own top five ambitions in the drivers championship with the finale next up!
QUALIFYING RESULT – C. A. Ladines 6th, G. Fournier 13th / RACE RESULT – C. A. Ladines 5th, G. Fournier 6th
Round 7 – Circuit of the Americas, United States (2016-07-21)
The final race of STAX Racing’s debut season took place on the drivers’ and fans’ favourite Circuit of the Americas for the American round of the 2016 World GT Series. Whilst the titles were beyond STAX Racing’s reach, there was still plenty to race for – especially in the team standings where a season long battle with Scuderia Basilea would finally be settled.
Things got off with a mixed start in qualifying, with Carlos Andres Ladines again leading the charge with third on the grid, his second best qualifying performance after his second place at Belgium. Geoffrey Fournier started from the back of the grid due to a penalty from the previous race. The saving grace was a reduced turnout for the final round of the year, meaning the Frenchman started 16th, one place outside of the points paying positions. During the race, he was slowly gaining places until he had an incident with Epic Racing’s Christoph Lichtenstein. While Lichtenstein showed good sportsmanship and allowed Fournier a re-pass, the gap to P11 was too big for the Frenchman to close down in the end and he finished the last race of the season in P12.
Ladines returned to the podium with his most competitive display of the year. After a stellar start, he found himself in first place before the first corner. Thomas Jacobs however was following him very closely in the opening part of the race and Ladines was unable to gain a big lead over the TSA driver. Ultimately that lead to Ladines losing concentration and Jacobs was able to pass him on lap 7. In the following laps, the STAX Racing driver tried to follow Jacobs without consuming too much fuel, allowing him to lead by not more than 2 seconds. In the last third of the race, ST Racing’s Borja Millan closed up to the leading pair, contributing to exciting last laps. Ladines tried one last attack on Jacobs, but to no avail. Shortly after the battle, the race was cut short by yet another server issue. In the end, Ladines was classified as having finished in P2, STAX Racing’s best result so far in its short history. He also achieved STAX Racing’s first ever fastest lap of the race.
QUALIFYING RESULT – C. A. Ladines 3rd, G. Fournier DNQ / RACE RESULT – C. A. Ladines 2nd, G. Fournier 12th
STAX Racing finished their first season as third in the Constructor’s Championship, well beyond any expectations harboured by the team when the wheels first turned way back in Fuji. Despite not starting in the first two races, Carlos Andres Ladines ended the season in fourth place. In five races, he was able to finish on the podium four times (three times in P3, once in P2). Diego Carranza started five races as well, finishing four of those in the points. In the end, he wrapped up the season in tenth place. Geoffrey Fournier, the team’s substitute driver, was called to action three times. It should be noted that every time his services were required, he finished in a points scoring position. In the final driver’s championship table he was a creditable fourteenth. Andrew Waring started one race for the team, but computer problems forced him to retire in that race. One DNF in his only start means that he was classified forty-ninth out of fifty starters in the end results table.
FINAL DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE – C. A. Ladines 4th, D. Carranza 10th, G. Fournier 14th, A. Waring 49th / FINAL CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE – STAX Racing 3rd.
Many thanks to Lee Davidson of Epic Racing for this great article.