Aston Martin Racing celebrate victory in LMGTE Pro and Am at Le Mans
The British Union flags will be proudly flying high outside Aston Martin Racing’s factory as the team today recorded its best ever 24 Hours of Le Mans results.
Victory in both the LMGTE Pro and GTE Am class could only have been improved upon if fans had been able to be present – sadly not possible this year due to the COVID health situation. The 1st and 3rd places secured in LMGTE Pro secures Aston Martin its first FIA World Endurance GTE Manufacturers Championship.
We have won the 88th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans!
Take a bow @alexlynnracing, @Maxrtin1992, @HarryTincknell and everyone in the team. You are Le Mans winners!#LeMans24 #AstonMartin #MakeEveryDriveCount pic.twitter.com/6eJds3OH3c
— Aston Martin Racing (@AMR_Official) September 20, 2020
The LMGTE Pro category provided non-stop action between Ferrari and Aston Martin throughout the entire 24 hours, this year’s race being the first ever to be held behind closed doors which did nothing to dampen the action on the track.
At the chequered flag it was the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Alex Lynn, Maxime Martin and Harry Tincknell which took the winners’ laurels. It was the second win for Martin/Lynn together after Spa 2019 last season and the 10th victory in the WEC for the No.97. Tincknell celebrated victory on his debut for the manufacturer.
Last year’s Le Mans GTE Pro winners, Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo finished runners-up – 1m33s behind after 24 hours of hard racing. The trio gave it everything they had and led many laps thanks to different pit strategies, but the balance tipped towards Aston Martin for the 2020 edition.
Third in class was the No. 95 sister Aston Martin Vantage of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sørensen and Richard Westbrook which finished 3 laps behind after some early delays. The points keep them at the head of the FIA GTE World Drivers Championship, a title chase which will be settled in Bahrain.
Until the final lap fourth place was looking to have been assured for the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari of Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and Ferrari returnee, Sam Bird, but an agonising gearbox failure on the final lap meant they did not take the chequered flag and were not therefore classified. The No.82 Ferrari of Risi Competizione took 4th place.
Porsche GT Team had a race to forget with both cars unable to match the pace of the Aston Martins and Ferraris, and both suffering from power steering issues which delayed them in the pits and dropped them well back in the running order. The No.91 finished 5th and No.92 6th.
Aston Martin’s stellar day was crowned by the victory of customer team TF Sport in the Am category, the first podium for the marque in the category since 2014.
The No.90 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam finished 49s ahead of the No.77 Dempsey Proton Porsche after a flawless run throughout the race. Factory driver Adam becomes the first Le Mans winner in both GTE classes in the WEC era, and Salih Yoluc becomes the first Turkish winner at Le Mans.
For a large part of the race, the TF Sport Aston Martin had had a close battle with the No.98 Aston Martin Racing car of Augusto Farfus, Ross Gunn and Paul Dalla Lana until that car encountered rear suspension trouble with eight hours to go. Although out of contention, it recovered in the remaining hours to finish 8th in class.
The gap between the leaders and the rest of the GTE Am field was bigger until a safety car in the final hour – the fourth of the race – closed up the order. When the race went green again the TF Sport secured its lead, but there was very close action behind for the remaining podium places. Christian Ried, Riccardo Pera and Matt Campbell – who had fought back through the field through the night, took full advantage and hot shot Campbell took the No.77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR to second place.
Third in class, just 3 seconds back, was the No.83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen. Fourth went to the No.56 Team Project 1 Porsche, the German team having had a less than smooth 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The results remain provisional until scrutineering has taken place tomorrow (Monday, 21st September) and can be found HERE. The final round of the 2020 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 8 Hours of Bahrain, will take place on 14th November.