Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Kevin Gleason capped off an impressive GT Asia Series debut with another top ten finish, battling inclement weather to finish eighth in Sunday’s hour-long race at Fuji International Speedway (13 July).
Gleason had a very narrow window in which to adjust to his new surroundings in the Craft-Bamboo Racing-prepared Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3, but facing the challenge head-on paid dividends as the American and teammate Jon Venter opened their GT Asia account with a solid sixth place finish in a sensational debut appearance on Saturday (12 July).
Conditions were typically varied during free practice although Gleason was grateful for the wet mileage when heavy rain saturated the Fuji circuit prior to the second GT Asia Series race of the weekend on Sunday.
Venter took the rolling start from fourth on the 35-car grid, losing places on the opening lap but clawing back lost ground to complete his 30-minute stint still on the outskirts of the podium places with rain continuing to fall intermittently.
Stellar pit work by the Craft-Bamboo squad saw Gleason emerge from the stop in third overall, although the rain soon dispersed and the drying track surface proved costly, causing the American to lose grip on as his grooved rain tyres began to overheat.
A consummate professional, Gleason called upon all of his experience to lap at a consistent pace and performed admirably to bring the ill-handling GT3-spec Aston Martin home in eighth place in only his first weekend at Fuji.
“I have to be delighted with the way my maiden GT Asia Series weekend has panned out, as achieving two top ten finishes on unchartered territory and in an unfamiliar car is great,” said Gleason. “It’s frustrating to have come so close to finishing on the podium in race two but a profound lack of grip made the car a real handful so I take some consolation from finishing eighth. Craft-Bamboo Racing has worked so hard to give me and Jon (Venter) a competitive package, I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the team’s skill and professionalism and I’ve come away feeling hungry for more, knowing I have a lot of potential with the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.”