Aston Martin Racing’s mechanics have been hard at work in the days between the Test Day and race week, following Marco Sorensen’s enormous off in the afternoon which damaged the No. 95 Vantage beyond repair.
And after putting in some long hours back in the UK, the team have built up and shaken down a brand new chassis for race week — in just six days — as the car scrutineered earlier today along with the sister No. 97 Vantage.
“It gives us so much pride, knowing just how hardworking the guys we have behind the scenes are,” Alex Lynn, driver of the No. 97, said to RACER. “It’s so important for us to have both cars here, for the car’s debut on the track it was designed for: the Circuit de la Sarthe.”
But after being far off the pace at the Test Day and missing out on valuable mileage with the No. 95 sidelined, it could be a hard week for the British marque up against the other factories in the 17-car GTE Pro field.
Despite those circumstances, longstanding AMR factory driver and 2017 GTE Pro Le Mans winner Darren Turner (No. 95) is still optimistic at this stage, explaining to RACER that the team is more prepared for the French classic than it has ever been.
“I will say this — this is easily the most prepared we have been with any new car,” he said. “At every single point from concept through design and build, through testing and development and now into racing, absolutely everyone has been entirely focused on getting it right, and on getting any issues sorted.”
“It’s been an exciting project to be involved in and it is just another example of how things have changed since[AMR director] John [Gaw] has been in charge. The attitude in every part of the process, and in the race team in every meeting, in every briefing, in every presentation has moved up a notch.
“Now we look to optimize at every single point, even on the bad days the attitude is to salvage whatever little we can in terms of results or data, trying to drag the very best we can out of every situation. That’s what you need to get the best out of every situation.”
There is hope within the team that there will be another BoP change to boost its chances of being in the fight come race day too, after being almost five seconds off at the Test. AF Corse’s crew feel the same; James Calado explaining to RACER that the team won’t be on terms with Porsche and Ford unless changes are made.
“We come here with a real disadvantage,” the reigning FIA WEC GTE Pro World Champion said. “But we know what can happen, we just have to stay positive. Even if they do a change it won’t be big enough to make a big difference, because at the moment we’re three seconds a lap off.”