Aston Martin Racing’s brand new Vantage GTE recorded a double-points finish on its 24 Hours of Le Mans debut. Despite coming into the world’s most gruelling endurance race with only one competitive outing at Spa-Francorchamps, the two Vantage GTEs raced through the night with barely a hitch as the #95 car recorded its first top ten finish at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
This result was an impressive achievement for the 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8-powered race car driven by Danish duo Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen and shared with three-time Le Mans winner Darren Turner.
Despite a challenging build-up (the car had to have a new chassis following a testing crash) the ‘Dane train’ ran, as its nickname suggested, from the moment it turned a wheel in first practice on Wednesday and did not register a single reliability issue. The car went on to record the highest finish by a new GTE car in the 86th running of the event.
The #97 crew, of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and last year’s winner Jonny Adam also finished the race in the FIA World Endurance Championship points, which are worth one and a half times their usual value for Le Mans.
“It’s always an achievement to finish the race at Le Mans, which is the toughest and most important endurance event in the world,” said Darren Turner.
“Even though we have had a significant test programme with this car, racing for 24 hours is a much tougher test, so to come through and pass it so strongly is very gratifying. We will find more pace in the coming races, but this is a fantastic platform to come next year and fight for another victory.”
Aston Martin Racing President, David King, said: “You need three things to win Le Mans; reliability, the ability to avoid trouble and pace. We had two of those today, and we will find the other as the season progresses.
“I am immensely proud of the team, and of the car, they have produced and for us to finish with both Vantage GTEs in the points is an example of a well-executed race plan.
“We have gathered significant amounts of data and understanding about this car and, working with our technical partners; we will extract the full potential of the Vantage GTE and return next year fighting for victory.”