Aston Martin Racing enjoyed a strong third place in the GTE-Pro category at Silverstone last weekend. The team entered three V8 Vantages, with two in the GTE-Am class, for their home event. The race ended in controversy however, following contact with the AF Corse Ferrari.
The #97 Pro car had started fourth on the grid, and was started by Darren Turner, who quickly got the car up to second in class. Despite losing a position in a pit stop, and Turner reporting splitter damage, the car enjoyed a strong run with team mate Stefan Mucke sharing the driving duties with Darren, intended third man Adrian Fernandez sitting out the race after a mid-race change in strategy.
The car was in fourth place in the last few minutes of the race, but a brilliant charge from Stefan Mucke meant that on the last lap, the Aston was right with the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 driven by Andrea Bertolini. Mucke went for it into the last corner, but unfortunately contact was made, with the Ferrari being tipped off into the gravel.
“That was a great finish to a race that threw up a few challenges. We had splitter damage before the final pit, with 45 minutes to go, and it lost us a minute and a half. Stefan made up a lot of time, setting the fastest lap of the race and did a great job to get us on the podium. The car ran like clockwork for the whole six hours and certainly proved it had race-winning pace. It was the fuelling advantage of the lead car over the rest of the pack that meant we couldn’t mount a successful challenge for first position,” Turner said afterwards.
“What a fantastic finish to a tough race. The car was great – better than in practice and qualifying – we got the set up just perfect and the team was spot-on all day. The car has made great progress this year and I’m looking forward to the remaining rounds of the WEC,” Mucke added.
Meanwhile, in the GTE-Am class, the #98 car of Stuart Hall and Roald Goethe was unlucky to miss out on a podium finish and finished fourth.
“It was the longest race I’ve done since Paul Ricard earlier in the year and this was intense – there were some mad dogs barking out there! I really enjoyed the whole race and it’s great to get a finish. In my first stint I managed to hit the target times I’d set myself but, in the second, it was a bit harder as I was tiring and the traffic was more intense. I said to myself, okay just keep it on the track, don’t spin and bring it back for Stuart to finish the race,” said Goethe.
The team’s last entry, the #99 endured a more challenging race, and stopped after a loss of power in the last ten minutes of the race after running competitively and reliably earlier in the race. Former BTCC racer turned British GT driver Jonathan Adam shared the car with Andrew Howard and Paul White.
“What a mega experience! It was great to race with so many famous drivers at the top of GT and LMP racing. It was a shame to retire so very close to the end of the race, but I can definitely say it has whetted my appetite to come back and have another go and I feel we are equipping ourselves well to do so,” Adam’s co-driver in the British GT Howard said.