THE Oxfordshire-based Aston Martin team are celebrating after winning the GTE class at Le Mans.
The all-Danish crewed #95 Young Driver AMR V8 Vantage GTE, built at Prodrive in Banbury, stormed to victory two laps ahead of their nearest rivals in what was the largest class of the famous endurance race, with 15 competitive GT cars.
Aston Martin Racing works drivers Nicki Thiim, Kristian Poulsen and David Heinemeier Hansson led their event for the majority of the race.
It was particularly poignant folowing the tragic loss of the team’s Danish driver Allan Simonsen at Le Mans last year.
“We have achieved what we were aiming for last year but didn’t succeed,” said team owner Jan Struve. “I’m proud of all of the team and drivers. They are all Le Mans winners.”
In contrast, the team’s challenge in the #97 GTE Pro car finished in disappointment as a power-steering leak cost them five laps and left them in sixth place.
Drivers Darren Turner, who lives in Chacombe, Stefan Mücke and Bruno Senna battled it out with the works Ferraris, Porsches and Corvettes in 18 hours of fierce action before a power- steering pipe came loose.
“We led the class on and off for the majority of the race,” said twice-Le Mans GT class-winner and long-standing Aston Martin Racing works driver Turner. “Early on, Corvette showed their pace, and the plan was to stay close but out of trouble and to use a triple stint strategy to jump them in the pits. “However, the rain came and interrupted our plans and we were left with a new plan – to pick them off one-by-one and take the race lead.
“The Corvettes had troubles and the Porsches dropped back, leaving us and the #51 Ferrari swapping places at the front. “We were leading and Bruno was on a charge when the power-steering issue brought us into the pits.”
Despite the #97 car’s misfortune, the team’s pit crew won an award for the best technical assistance team and presentation.
The next FIA World Endurance Championship round takes place on September 20 in Austin, Texas.