Paul Ricard HTTT
Strong performance of Young Driver remained unrewarded
Maiden race of the Young Driver AMR-Aston Martin Vantage
Young Driver AMR showed a strong performance in its maiden race with the Aston Martin Vantage GT2 at the Le Mans Series season-opener at Le Castellet/France. During the six-hour race, Tomas Enge (CZE), Alex Muller (GER) and Christoffer Nygaard (DAN) were running in the podium ranks most of the time and even took the class lead in the second hour. In the last hour of racing, when the Vantage was in third place in the highly competitive GTE-Pro-class, an issue with the fan belt ended the race.
We showed today that the Aston Martin Vantage is very competitive.
The endurance race in the south of France was not only the debut race of Young Driver AMR with the Aston Martin Vantage. It was also the first step in the preparation of a possible start in the 24 hours of Le Mans. Despite the focus this weekend was on learning the special Le Mans-style racing rules, with race strategy and pit stop processed differently to the way the Young Driver AMR-team is used to, the V8-powered Vantage was racing almost on the same level then the much experienced regulars in the GTE-Pro-class. Throughout most of the first five hours, Enge, Nygaard and Muller were running in the top-three ranks. With less than one hour to go, an issue with the fan belt caused a pit stop, which ended the race for Young Driver AMR.
After the maiden race with the Aston Martin Vantage, the Young Driver AMR-team heads back to the team base in Germany, as the Trucks will already leave for the next race in the GT1 World Championship in Zolder/Belgium on Wednesday.
Driver quotes after the race:
Tomas Enge: "I think it was really a great race. We showed today that the Aston Martin Vantage is very competitive. It's a shame that we had this problem during the last hour. The GTE-Pro-class is one of the most competitive classes in the series, with many factory drivers and factory-supported teams. Within this class, we were running second and third in the last hours of the race. This race was part of our Le Mans-preparation and the team collected a lot of experience. Not only with car, which is brand new to the team, but also with the rules. We have now to analyse the positives and negatives of this race, to be even better prepared for the Le Mans-test day. Everyone did a great job today, it was a shame that we had this technical issue at the end."
Christoffer Nygaard: "In the race, my pace was a little bit slower then expected. I lost some time in the traffic, which is still quite new to me. I have to address this and have to work on this. The car is quite nice to drive, I'm already comfortable with the Vantage. Our main goal was to learn and to prepare for Le Mans, I think everybody in the team learned a lot."
Alex Muller: "The race was very good. From the free practise on we kept improving the car and during the race, I was really satisfied with it. The weekend was successful in two way: We showed a very good pace during the race, and what was even more important: The team learned a lot about the car and the rules. After this race, we know exactly what to address and in which areas we have to improve."
Hardy Fischer, team principal Young Driver AMR: "The race was not too bad, I think we did really well. We have now to sort out some teething problem with the car and work on our pit strategy and pit work. And of course, we still hope for a Le Mans-entry, that is what all this preparation is for."
-source: Young Driver AMR