Aston Martin squad JMW Motorsport recorded their best result of the season in Portimao, the third round of the Le Mans Series – the team finishing the 1000km event fourth in the LMGT2 class.
On a weekend when temperatures soared, the 4.69km AutÃ³dromo Internacional do Algarve resplendent in the Portuguese sunshine, the Essex based team and the GT2 class a whole shone as an example of quality racing – the top eight teams covered by only three laps at the end of the race.
Rob Bell qualified the team's Aston Martin Vantage eighth, and starting the car immediately began the race as the team was to continue, taking chunks of time out of the Porsche and Ferrari teams at the head of the field, jumping up to fifth to hand over to teammate Darren Turner.
Turner continued the team's assent up the field, running up to second faster than the leading Porsche, to install the no.92 car in second place, where it remained for much of the race.
Unfortunately it was then that the only problem for the team struck in the form of a small power steering problem, leading to a longer than planned pitstop in the final third of the race – dropping the car back to fourth.
Though the team finished tantalisingly close to the podium places – behind the two AF Corse entries and the Team-Felbermayr Proton Porsche of Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz – it was a very encouraging step in the team's three-year partnership with Aston Martin after a difficult season. The squad's Dunlop tyres also performed well in the blistering heat.
“I think this result is a real testament to the hard work put in by JMW Motorsport and Aston Martin Racing,” Turner said. “The partnership is really starting to blossom now and we had a great race as a result of that. It was good to get stuck into the lead battle and I think we could have fought for second if it wasn't for the few problems we had. The great thing is that we're all really fired up for the next race in Budapest now as we know what we are capable of”.
“The whole team is really pleased with the weekend,” added Tim Sugden, the team manager. “The car was on the pace throughout and had it not been for a small power steering issue we would could have taken a podium finish, with 2nd place a great possibility. This result gives everybody even more energy to build on for Hungary”.