Aston Martin set the pace in LMGTE Pro and Am in Sao Paulo

New driver Nicki Thiim was impressive in his first outing with AMR Young Driver Vantage.

Aston Martin Racing teams set the fastest laps in both LMGTE classes on the historic Interlagos circuit in Brazil.

Free Practice 1

The first 90 minutes of practice has now been and gone, and the many drivers new to the Interlagos track have had their first opportunity to find their way around. With warmer track conditions expected tomorrow and on race day, all the drivers and engineers will be anxious to work on their car set ups today as well as assessing the different tyre choices available.

Aston Martin Racing topped the time sheets for both the LMGTE Pro and Am classes, with Darren Turner’s No.97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 claiming the quickest lap for the marque in the Pro category. His time of 1:33.648 was half a second ahead of the No.92 Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR (1:34.160) which was in turn one tenth of a second in front of the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia (1:34.298). It promises to be as close as always between world’s luxury car marques.

In the LMGTE Am category, there was a two-way fight for the top spot between the No.95 and No.96 Aston Martin Vantages of Jamie Campbell-Walter and newcomer to the Danish entry, Nicki Thiim. The Dane eventually finished on top with a best time of 1:35.287, just 0.05seconds ahead of the British driver. The fastest Ferrari 458, No.61 8Star Motorsports, ended the day in third place with a best time of 1:35.554.

The combined grid of FIA WEC cars will be back on track for a second 90 minutes of free practice this afternoon at 15:40h local time.

Free Practice 2

As the sun slowly started to lower over the Sao Paulo skyline, so the second 90-minute practice session for Sunday’s fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship drew to a close. All the teams and drivers have been out on track, with only the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari losing any significant time due to a technical issue, and lap times were slightly improved compared to this morning in the Pro class and by half a second in the Am category.

Aston Martin Racing continued in the same impressive manner in which they began the day, and a British-built Vantage V8 was at the top of the time sheets in both the LMGTE Pro and Am classes. In the factory-led Pro category, Darren Turner once again was the man setting the pace in the No.97 entry with a best lap time of 1:33.451, just over four tenths of a second ahead of the No.99 Aston Martin of British driver Rob Bell and local hero Bruno Senna. Bell's time of 1:33.873 was in turn 0.034s in front of the No.92 Porsche of Marc Lieb (1:33.907), that time being set early in the afternoon session. Aston Martin took three of the top four places in the LMGTE Pro classification.

In the LMGTE Am class, the top three were Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari. The Danish No.95 Vantage V8 once again set the pace, Nicki Thiim being the man behind the wheel for the time of 1:34.775 – knocking half a second off his best time from this morning. The No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of French trio Narac-Vernay-Bourret was next on the time sheets with a lap of 1:35.064, followed by the No.81 8Star Motorsport Ferrari 458 of Aguas-Potolicchio-Rigon. Their time of 1:35.293 was a significant improvement on this morning’s times.

The 28 cars will take to the track again for a third and final practice session tomorrow morning at 10:20h local time (15:20h CET), with qualifying taking place later in the day.


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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Darren Turner , Rob Bell , Jamie Campbell-Walter , Marc Lieb , Bruno Senna , Nicki Thiim
Teams Aston Martin Racing , AF Corse , Team Manthey , IMSA Performance Matmut
Article type Practice report
Tags amr, aston martin, bell, ferrari, porsche, practice, sao paulo, thiim, turner