This year’s renowned endurance race, Le Mans 24 hours, saw Aston Martin take away one of the most dominant awards, the GTE Am class by a wide margin.
The #95 Young Driver AMR V8 Vantage GTE finished two laps ahead of its nearest competitor, taking what is the largest class in Le Mans, with 15 cars having entered.
Getting behind the wheel of the vehicle was the all-Danish team of Nicki Thiim, Kristian Poulsen and David Heinemeier Hansson, who managed to keep the lead for the majority of the race.
Fans were gripped and had their hearts wrenched as they watched the team attempt to take the class which saw the loss of their former driver Allan Simonsen at last year’s race.
Young Driver team owner Jan Struve said: “We have achieved what we were aiming for last year but didn’t succeed.”
“We have now fulfilled it and we know that Allan has been cheering for us and smiling down on us and, of course, he has been in our thoughts. This win is extremely important to us and I’m proud of all of the team and drivers. They are all Le Mans winners.”
This weekend also saw a strong performance from the other Aston Martin car, the #97 GTE. It was driven by Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Bruno Senna. These highly skilled drivers battled it out with Ferraris, Corvettes and Porsches for 18 hours.
At times it seemed like the car could have been in for victory but unfortunately disaster struck when a steering pipe came loose. This ended up costing them five laps and they had to settle for sixth place.
Turner explained how the team was leading, on and off, throughout the race. They faced a tough challenge from Corvette but team Aston Martin decided to stay close and out of trouble but use a triple stint strategy to jump them in the pits. This strategy was then interrupted by the rain and the team had to pick off cars one by one until they gained the lead.
At one point it seemed that the #97 car had the race in the bag as the Corvettes fell into difficulty and the Porsches were dropping back.
It seemed as though it was between #97 and the #51 Ferrari for victory, with Senna behind the wheel and right on the money in terms of driving and handling. Yet this is where the power steering issue struck and the car was forced to go into the pits.
Speaking about the weekend’s results, team principal for Aston Martin John Gaw said: “The #95 team has long deserved this win and there is a real sense of poetic justice. On the other hand, with cars #97 and #99, we have seen how a very small issue can end the race for the teams that have shown they have everything required to win this race.”
The #99 car had to be withdrawn from the race after it was caught in a crash towards the end of the first qualifying session of the race. Its chassis sustained heavy damage and its roof was broken during an attempted recovery, meaning the car had to pull out.
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