GP2 Series runner-up Luca Filippi helped the Villois Racing Vantage GT2 to victory in the Aston Martin Racing Festival of Le Mans on the morning of the 24 Hours.
In wet conditions, Filippi started the race from second on the grid. Halfway through the race he handed over the race lead to teammate Brian Lavio, who brought the car home with an advantage of more than a minute after the 45 minute race.
“It was fantastic to win!” declared Filippi. “It is our first time at Le Mans and we both said to start our career here with a win would be great. We drove in the wet today and in the dry yesterday, so we have a full picture of Le Mans. The car was fantastic, we had good grip and traction coming out of the corners so it was a pleasure to drive. Thanks to Aston Martin for putting this race together!”
The DBR9 of Deboeuf Racing finished second, despite starting at the back of the field. Germany's Thomas Gruber was at the field to begin with, before Marco Seefried took over and began cutting the gap to the race leader.
The V12 Vantage GT3 of Craft Eurasia Racing Frank Yu and Tomonobu Fujii had started from pole, but finished in third place.
Aston Martin Racing Team Principal John Gaw won the GT2 class in seventh overall together with Phil Dryburgh. Aston Martin Chairman David Richards and Andrew Howard finished fifth in class and 14th overall, while Rowan Atkinson was seventh in class in a car he drove alone.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez started the race in the 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1 as a tribute to drivers Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori and designer Ted Cutting who all passed away in recent weeks.
“To drive the 1959-winning DBR1 at Le Mans in memory of Carroll, Roy and Ted was a great honour for me,” said Dr Bez. “To have 31 Aston Martin competition cars, representing several classes, racing here was wonderful for our friends and fans and I felt very proud to be a part of it. The wet weather was a great leveller and enabled all of the cars to compete with one another.
“I want to thank all the drivers and teams who participated in the Festival, and particular thanks go to the owner of the DBR1 for enabling us to pay tribute to our late friends in such a fitting manner.”