Aston Martin Racing’s latest FIA World Endurance Championship challenger – the Vantage GTE – stands poised to make its competitive debut in the 86th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this upcoming Saturday.
With Qualifying Practice – which took place across Wednesday and Thursday – now complete, both of the team’s #97 and #95 entries are ready start the world’s most famous endurance event. A good race balance and reliability with the new cars was achieved, and although the team did not match the front-runners searing pace in qualifying, its focus has shifted to building competitiveness into the cars by analysing the wealth of data now available after testing, practice and qualifying on the 13.626km full circuit.
Maxime Martin said, “Despite all of the testing we have done the car is still very new, and Le Mans is a place that tests us more than any other. So I am very pleased that we have managed trouble-free running all week which has allowed us the chance to learn so much more about this car. Clearly from what we have seen through the different lap sectors this week, it has great potential. The qualifying positions are what they are but I think when we come to the race things may well be different and we will be more competitive.”
Paul Howarth added, “Qualifying is obviously a large part of the overall week, but when it comes to this event, the 24 Hours give you every opportunity to progress and make improvements on your starting position. We’re confident in this car, our drivers and the rest of the team to deliver a result we can be proud of.”
In GTE Am, the defending 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship title holders will begin from 10th on the grid in a race the trio have made one of their key targets for 2018. The #98 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE, driven by Paul Dalla Lana (C), Pedro Lamy (P) and Mathias Lauda (A) will be looking to make strong progress from there in the race.
The similar TF Sport car driven by Salih Yoluc (TUR), Charlie Eastwood (GB) and Euan Hankey (GB), impressed in the customer machine, by setting the sixth fastest time in GTE Am.
The 86th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans begins at 15:00 CET.
To the delight of fans worldwide, this weekend will also see the Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival Race take place on Saturday morning. Starting at 10:15 CET, the 39-strong grid will include three Aston Martin Vulcans making their competition debut, the 2016 GTE Pro championship winning #95 V8 Vantage GTE and 2018 4th place Nürburgring 24 Hour-finishing V12 Vantage GT3 to name but a few.
The race will be available to stream live on Aston Martin’s Facebook and YouTube channels from 10:10 CET with commentary from 24 Hours of Le Mans mic veterans, Radio Le Mans.