Though both their cars suffered setbacks at the 12 Hours of Sebring that resulted in them finishing well down the order Aston Martin Racing left Sebring International Raceway satisfied with their latest outing before the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) next month.
Both the 2013-spec Vantage, making its race debut, and the 2012-spec version that will continue as the LMGTE Am car in the WEC showed good pace in the race. However, both cars hit trouble in the race.
Darren Turner had to bring the new car to the garage inside the first hour after damage from contact on track led to overheating.
“The start of the race was interesting,” said Turner. “he cars bunched up on turn one and I found the car sandwiched in. It settled down a bit but I soon caught up with the traffic. A slower car, surrounded by lots of traffic, braked suddenly and I shunted into the back of it. I thought we’d escaped damage but it turns out it affected the radiator, making the engine overheat.”
“The crew did a great job getting it fixed so quickly. We were able to get back out on track and carry on gathering miles on the car ahead of the first round of the WEC at Silverstone next month.”
All three drivers in the car for the race – Turner, Stefan Mucke and Bruno Senna – were able to complete stints in the car though the time lost in the pits proved too large to make up in the class standings. The laps added more miles to the new car following testing at Portimao, Road Atlanta and Sebring before the race weekend.
Veteran driver Pedro Lamy started the ‘12-spec #007 racing in the lead group with Billy Johnson and Paul Dalla Lana driving well on their Aston Martin Racing debuts. However a throttle cable problem forced them to return to the garage. Though the team were able to remedy the issue the time lost proved to be too great, limiting them to ninth in class, one place behind the similarly recovering #97 crew.
“It’s unfortunate what happened to Darren but it was totally unavoidable,” assessed AMR team principal John Gaw. “The team did a great job and we’re pleased that the car has otherwise run faultlessly. The #97 is very well prepared for Silverstone and we’ve had excellent reliability for a car that has a number of new parts.”
“The #007 car and team have also had a really good week. Pedro put in a seriously impressive qualifying lap yesterday to start the car from fourth on the grid. The race started very well for the car and the crew did a great job to fix it and get it back out on track so we could continue to gather data. It’s not an ideal start but we’re here in preparation for the WEC and, in that respect, everything is good.”
After completing further testing at Sebring in the days following the race AMR’s focus turns to the opening round of the WEC at Silverstone on April 14 where they will run a total of four cars, two each in the LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am classes.