The pair of Lola-Aston Martins proved to the fastest of the petrol driven cars around the Circuit de la Sarthe. However, the team came away empty handed from what the team describe as “the world's toughest endurance race”.
The team had held the team in the unofficial LMP1 sub class throughout the race, with the no.007 car (Adrian Fernandez/Stefan Mucke/Harold Primat) setting the pace from the drop of the tricolour until Sunday morning when the car was flawed with gearbox failure.
Though the car had lost its lead (fortunately, for Aston Martin to their teammates in the no.009) the team took on the formidable challenge of rebuilding the gearbox. Despite never having attempted the repair in race conditions the car was returned, working once more, after only an hour.
Misfortune for one of the Gulf-liveried coupes was fortune for the other, the no.009 (Sam Hancock/Juan Barazi/Darren Turner) taking the class lead, surviving a pair of spins at the chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight, continuing its trouble free run into the final hour, with Darren Turner scheduled to take the car for the final 50 minute stint to the checkered flag.
However, with just under an hour to go, and with Sam Hancock at the wheel, the car slowed between Indianapolis and Arnage with smoke billowing from the car's V12 engine – another victim of the race's blistering pace.
“Obviously it's gutting to come so close to the best result of my Le Mans career and have it snatched away at the death,” said Hancock on his personal post-race press release. “The car had been fantastic up to that point and we were able to lap very consistently throughout the race. But I'm not going to dwell on it too much. The whole team has worked fantastically well this week so it's as much of a shame for them as me.”
After covering 368 laps the car was an instant retirement, being pulled behind the barriers as it lost its top petrol status, the no.007 re-passing their stable-mates to take fifth place, completing 365 laps, four behind the best petrol finisher.