ASTON MARTIN RACING TARGETS CLASS PODIUM WITH FOUR HOURS TO GO AT SEBRING
Sebring, 17 March 2012 – With a little under four hours to run at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Aston Martin Racing’s #97 Vantage GTE lies third in class among the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) runners having lost 25 minutes when it became stranded on the circuit after losing its left-rear wheel. The V8-powered racer had performed faultlessly up until that point and held a strong second position in class and third overall in GTE. With the WEC and American Le Mans Series GTE runners combined, the Aston Martin Racing machine lies in tenth position following the small delay.
The car was recovered to the paddock where the team’s technicians effected rapid repairs to ensure the Vantage GTE could returned to the action as quickly as possible. Darren Turner (GBR), who had been driving at the time and had delivered an outstanding stint handed the driver’s seat over to Adrian Fernandez (MX), who has set about climbing back up the order.
The car run very competitively for more than seven hours with the drivers consistently recording lap times that were within hundredths of a second of the qualifying benchmark. Such is the level of competition in the production-based category that at that the mid-point of the race, five marques covered the top five positions with just 10 seconds between them. The Aston Martin Vantage GTE had been running in third and challenging the leaders.
Despite the incident, Aston Martin Racing is still on course to finish on the podium among the WEC runners in the GTE category and inside the top 10 overall in GTE.
John Gaw, Team Principal for Aston Martin Racing, said: “It’s unfortunate to have lost time when we were running so competitively. There wasn’t any other immediate damage and the team did a brilliant job to get the car back into the race super quickly. The competitiveness of the car has, I am sure, surprised many. To arrive back in GT racing, the most competitive class in sportscar cars currently, and immediately challenge the established runners who have improved cars for 2012 is a clear sign that Aston Martin Racing will be a force to be reckoned with across the year. We have our eyes firmly focused on the goal this weekend of scoring big points in the WEC, and currently running P3 is a strong position to be in.”
The team – which will shortly face a new challenge as the sun sets over Sebring – will aim to reach the end of the 12 hour marathon without any further incidents and at the same strong pace that it had managed for the opening seven hours of the race.