Aston Martin Racing took third in the GTE Pro class in a highly emotional 24 Hours of Le Mans for the five-car team.
Early in the race, Allan Simonsen, the first driver of the all-Danish driven #95 Vantage GTE, was killed in an accident going on to the Mulsanne Straight.
“Following the wishes of Allan’s family, the team continued its participation in the race which was obviously very emotional and difficult for everyone,” commented Aston Martin Chairman David Richards. “Both the #97 and #99 cars led for long periods of time but, ultimately, it was the changing weather conditions in the last hours that cost us the victory we all longed for. I’d like to thank everyone who has shown us such support over the weekend and sent the messages of condolence to Allan’s family.”
The #97 and #99 Vantage GTEs made a strong start to the twice-round-the-clock race, leading through the night whilst trying to keep the #92 Porsche 911 at bay. The #99’s race came to a premature ending just as dawn was breaking, however, with Frederic Makowiecki spinning on a wet track and colliding with the barriers.
Unfortunate timing of safety car periods ended any hopes of a victory for the #97 car, having to settle for third place at the finish line. The third Aston Martin in GTE Pro retired from the race, ironically causing one of the safety cars that hampered the #97’s chances of a win.
“Le Mans 2013 will be remembered by the team for the tragic circumstances that surrounded the team’s participation, but everyone performed their tasks with the dignity that the circumstances demanded,” said Team Manager, John Gaw. “Ultimately, the outcome did not achieve our objectives but we look forward to taking the lessons learned to the remaining rounds of the WEC this year.”