2017 24 Hours of Le Mans: Aston Martin Lead GTE Pro with Late Lap


The #97 Aston will be the car to beat come Saturday afternoon. (Credit: Craig Robertson / Speed Chills)

Qualifying for the GTE-Pro class ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans proved to be one of the closest fights of the season. A quick lap in the final thirty minutes would eventually give the honour to the #97 Aston Martin Racing team at the hands of Darren Turner.

Turner, who piloted the car alongside Daniel Serra and fellow Brit Jonny Adam, broke the 2016 GT record around the circuit, with an eventual pole time of 3min 50.837.

Times had been sporadic over the past two days with the #97 starting Q3 as the car to beat. By midway the advantage had gone to the #69 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA at the hands of Ryan Briscoe. Sadly for the Australian, he would fail to beat his own time in the darkness.

Going into the closing half an hour, it was the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE that set the benchmark, only to be beaten shortly afterwards by their teammate in the #97. Ferrari meanwhile would be determined to prevent an Aston Martin lock out, with James Calado splitting the pair in his #51 AF Corse.

The AF Corse would set a time just 0.891 seconds behind the polesitter, yet only one hundredth of a second ahead of the #97 led by Richie Stanaway. Yellow flags prevented further running and thus a shot at the overall pole time.

Ferrari and Aston continued this domination of GTE Pro, with the #71 AF Corse taking fourth at the hands of Sam Bird, ensuring that the top four were separated by a mere 0.249 seconds.

The #69 Ford came home in fifth, with the team having taken pole last season. The remaining two manufacturers, Corvette and Porsche will complete the top seven.

It had been a disappointing run over the past two days for both teams, with the #63 Corvette Racing edging out the #92 Porsche GT Team of Michael Christensen, who had been as high as third. Behind that were the two Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK cars, with the #66 beating the #67.

Completing the top ten in class will be the #64 Corvette Racing after a low-key encounter. A spin for Frederic Makowiecki compromised his Porsche run and failed to beat his Q2 time, ensuring he lines up last.

The Risi Competizione also failed to beat their Q2 time, with the team having their time deleting in Q1 for breaking parc ferme rules, they line up eleventh ahead of the #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team USA and the last place #91 Porsche.