Mark Poole and Richard Abra will team up for a second year of SRO GT racing in 2014, after announcing their plans for a duel British GT and Blancpain Endurance Series Pro-Am campaign. The pair will drive under the MP-AMR banner, with their familiar black and red Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.
The team, formerly known as MP Motorsport and run by Barwell, has been restructured and now features several Prodrive personnel, including ex-Mini WRC team manager Dave Wilcox. The structure is similar to that employed by rival British GT team Beechdean-AMR, who won the drivers’ title in 2013 with Andrew Howard.
Abra is in no doubt about the fact this is set to be his most exciting season yet.
“Working with the factory, and racing in Europe? It’s a dream come true. I can’t thank Mark [Lemmer] and the Barwell team enough, they’re a very professional outfit, but a different opportunity came up from Prodrive that we simply couldn’t turn down. The competition is incredible in the Blancpain series, but we had a very good experience doing the Silverstone round last year. They say racing against the very best ups your own game – so fingers crossed!
He’s confident that he and Poole can do the business in both series.
“Mark is one of the best Ams in British GT. He’s still improving but some strong runs last year, including leading at Brands, show he’s right up there. His understanding of the Aston is great and you’d not think this is only his fourth season of racing. Another year in the same series with largely the same circuits and his development and confidence will continue to grow further still. I’ve now got to prove myself to be one of the quickest pros… Puts a bit of pressure on me!”
Poole and Abra will add British talent Joe Osborne to their line up for the Blancpain events. Osborne raced with the pair at the Silverstone round of the series last year and showed well on there as the trio finished on the podium in the Pro-Am class.
“Joe’s very driven, and very passionate about his racing,” reckons Abra. “He already has a lot of experience in Europe so I’m hoping he can give us a head start on some of the circuits I haven’t been to. And racing has to be fun – Joe and I are good friends and we hang out a lot. He gets on well with the whole team and that’s crucial. He was an obvious choice of third driver, really.”
“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity,” reckons Osborne. “Obviously, we did the one off race and finished second last year, so we had a good gauge of where we fit in the food chain. It’d be good to replicate that kind of form. We want to be battling for championship – but understandably there’s not a huge amount of info on the competition yet. We know it will be strong, but in these big European series it’s so hard to tell this early in the year. We’ll have to see who rocks up at Monza.”
And he’s full of confidence in the package MP-AMR have put together.
“We’re in a strong position, with a bronze joining two silver rated drivers in the car. Both of my teammates have done a huge amount in the short time they’ve been racing and I trust them completely. The Aston is a winning car, the team is fantastic – working with a factory will be so exciting – and I’m not sure there’s much else I could ask for.
“Of course, it’ll be strange racing against them in British GT,” continues Osborne, who will race for the 888Optimum squad with Lee Mowle once more. “But when I’m in the Aston my focus will obviously be 100% MP-AMR. I just can’t wait for the season!”
The Blancpain Endurance Series kicks off on April 12-13th and Monza, with the Avon Tyres British GT Championship beginning a week later at Oulton Park, and you can follow all the action with Racing.GT.