Reliability problems marred an otherwise positive 8 Hours of Le Castellet experience for JMW Motorsport, the first race for the Essex based squad with the Aston Martin Vantage GT2.
The team, with drivers Darren Turner and Rob Bell, were among the top runners in the super competitive GT2 class that saw the top nine in final practice covered by three-quarters of a second. With Rob Bell taking qualifying responsibilities he put the yellow Aston fifth fastest in the class, just 0.074 seconds behind third place and less than a second off the class pole pace.
With Bell once more behind the wheel at the start of the race he made his way up to second in class in a predictably hectic first lap before being pushed off the track. The incident dropped the car down to seventh in class, at the tail of the leading GT2 pack where he was easily able to match the pace of the Porsches and Ferraris ahead.
However, the team were forced to bring the car into the pits with a fuel pump problem spending twenty minutes fixing the problems before returning to the track with Darren Turner installed in the car. Sadly, any chance of class success had gone, but the pace remained as Turner comments. “I joined the track right between the two Porsches that were in first and second place,” he says. “I was able to maintain that position throughout my run which illustrates the pace we have.”
While Turner's stint was trouble free Bell's return to cockpit saw the return of the fuel problems, the 30-year-old pulling the no.92 car off the track and trying in vain to cure the problem himself and return to the race.
“The pace of the car all weekend has been very good” reflected Rob. “I had a great start, and could comfortably run with the pack in what was a great GT2 battle, it was wonderful out there. Not to finish today is disappointing, but we are coming away with the knowledge we are contenders for this class. We have work to do, but today just sets the determination in further”.
The team's next race will be the next round of the Le Mans Series, the 1000km of Spa on May 7-9.
Photo Credit: JMW Motorsport