Le Mans , 14 June 2012 – Pole position for the Aston Martin Racing Festival of Le Mans was today secured in emphatic fashion by the V12 Vantage GT3 of Craft Eurasia Racing. Setting a time of 4m 00.840s, driver Frank Yu outpaced a host of GT1 and GT2-specification racers in his newly-delivered V12 Vantage GT3 to give himself and co-driver Tomonobu Fuji the best possible chance in Saturday’s (16 June) 45-minute race, which starts at 1115hrs CET.
Brian Lavio was second fastest in a Vantage GT2, 3.967s behind Yu, with the GT3-specification DBRS9 of Paul Whight 8.051s adrift of the pace-setter in third. The battle for GT4-class honours was won by Aston Martin Racing’s Team Principal, John Gaw, who clocked a best lap time of 4m 25.679s in his V8-powered Vantage GT4. Stratton Motorsport’s Pierre Mantello, meanwhile, trailed Gaw by a scant two-thousands of a second in his similar Immun’age Osato-backed car.
Having twice won the GT1 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2007 and 2008, the V12-powered DBR9 made a competitive return to the Circuit de la Sarthe in the hands of customer teams Gulf Racing and Deboeuf Racing. The former, driven by Roald Goethe, set the fourth fastest qualifying time.
Chris Porritt, Aston Martin’s chief engineer, secured tenth among the 30-strong grid aboard the spectacular V12 Zagato – fresh from its class podium at the ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours in May – that he shares with Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez. Television and movie star Rowan Atkinson, meanwhile, set the eighth fastest time of the 19 GT4 runners in his Jota Racing-run car, with Aston Martin chairman David Richards two places behind in a similar machine.
David King, Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, commented: “It's been such a thrill to see so many Aston Martins in full cry around this famous circuit, and a real pleasure for the drivers, too, judging by the smiles in the paddock. It's a great endorsement of the new V12 Vantage GT3 that it has set the fastest lap time, but some of the other performances down the grid have been no less impressive.”
The Aston Martin Racing Festival of Le Mans is an exclusive single-marque race, running in support of the 24-hour endurance epic. The factory team will campaign two V8-powered Vantage GTEs in the headliner with ambitions of achieving podium results in both the GTE Pro and GTE Am categories.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans get underway at 1500hrs CET on Sunday (16 June), three hours after the chequered flag drops for the Aston Martin Racing Festival of Le Mans. Keep up to date with both the Festival and the 24-hour race on Aston Martin’s official website at www.astonmartin.com/racing, or on its social media platforms at www.twitter.com/amr_official and www.facebook.com/astonmartinracing.