Le Mans, 17 June 2012 – At the mid-way point of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin Racing’s #97 Vantage GTE lies fourth in the GTE Pro category. Having the led the class for much of the early phase of the race, the team took the opportunity under an extended safety car to make a scheduled brake change that dropped the car to sixth in class after six hours; factory drivers Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D) and Adrian Fernandez (MX) have since staged an impressive recovery.
As midnight passed and the track temperatures dropped, Mücke pitted to make way for team-mate Turner, who would return to the action with a new set of soft-compound tyres. Having rejoined in sixth position, Turner was able to battle past the #77 GTE Pro competitor for fifth position, which became fourth when the erstwhile class-leading #74 car suffered significant technical issues.
Turner made the best use of his soft-compound tyres to set competitive lap times throughout his stint and to reinvigorate the team’s hopes of challenging for GTE Pro honours. The Briton made way for Mücke on lap 153; the #97 Vantage GTE now lies fourth in class having completed 167 laps of the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.
Mücke subsequently handed the driver’s seat of the #97 Vantage GTE back over to Turner, who maintained fourth position in class.
John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, commented: “We planned to charge hard overnight and are currently doing that. The car continues to run faultlessly and at very competitive speeds, so we can be hopeful of climbing back into a podium position within the next few hours. We’ve only just reached the halfway point of this race and judging by the amount of action we saw in the first half, there’s a lot still to happen.”