At the beginning of the tests on the 2 4h races in Le Mans 2012 the British with a lap time of almost exactly four minutes, in the end the professionals with the Aston Martin Vantage V8 took fifth place in the GT class for professional drivers (GT Pro), the sister car with the private drivers (GT Am) Christoffer Nygaard, Kristian Poulsen and Allan Simonsen even set the fourth best time of all GT cars.
Aston Martin improved in winter
This finding may be a bit confusing for non-experts, as Aston Martin played with the Vantage in the GTE class has recently played a subordinate role. But in the meantime, a lot has happened, as the German Aston Martin works driver explains: “Over the winter, Aston Martin Racing modified the car in a good 25 detail points, and we also massively improved its durability.” In addition, Aston Martin received the Le -Mans organizer ACO donated technical relief such as a larger rear wing and more widened air flow limiters for the V8 engine.
All in all, the improvements brought a significant leap forward: Already at the start of the season at the 12-hour race in Sebring, the works Aston was classified in the qualifying in the front field and drove for hours in the top bunch before minor technical problems led to relapse. At the ALMS race in Laguna Seca, the Aston crew was even on pole position and led the race until the first lap of the pit stops. In this respect, Aston Martin must be the secret favorite at the 24-hour race at Le Mans.
The British lack traction
'The car is now where we wanted it with the means available,' explains Stefan Mücke. “During an extensive long-distance test in Sebring, we still identified small problems, such as leaking hydraulic lines for the steering. We were able to fix everything before Le Mans. In general, we still lose traction compared to the other GTE cars, they can accelerate earlier and are generally better at accelerating out. But the pole position in Laguna has shown that we have caught up with our competitors on a smooth course. ”
Aston Martin has caught up
Before the Le Mans pre-test, the big question at the Aston Martin camp was: Where are we at top speed? has always been rather bad in the past. Aston Martin did well at 287 km /h and was three to five km /h behind the top cars from Ferrari and Corvette, but within striking distance. 'We found a good balance, although we are Gurney here 'says Mücke.' When it comes to setting up, Le Mans is always a tightrope walk: on the one hand, we have to maintain our strengths in the fast and fluid corners, for that we need downforce. At the same time, you need good top speeds for the five long straights, which should be Air resistance shouldn't be too high. 'On the other hand, Mücke warns against jumping to conclusions from the pre-test:' To be honest: You don't learn much in the pre-test, you can forget the lap times. Everyone goes through their test program, and we only see the truth during qualifying . Nevertheless, I am optimistic that we have made it to the top bunch. ”