Gulf AMR Middle East: Best ever ILMC result at Petit Le Mans

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

After nine hours and 35 minutes of intense competition and 332 laps of the 2.54 mile Road Atlanta track, the No. 60 Gulf AMR Middle East Aston Martin Vantage finished fourth in the GTE-Am category of Petit Le Mans, the penultimate round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup.

The result is the best ever finish for the team and is all the more remarkable as its drivers Fabien Giroix and Mike Wainwright completed the race between them – the only team to use just two drivers instead of three in the notoriously challenging 1000 Mile Petit Le Mans event.

With a 52-strong field of the cream of international sports car racing, spread across six categories, there were multiple incidents and accidents and ten full course caution periods.  The Gulf Oil International liveried car avoided trouble and controversy, unlike so many of its fellow competitors, and took the chequered flag virtually unmarked.  The only delays experienced were attention to a brake problem early in the race and a stop for new brake pads in the final hour of the race.

The team’s quick attention to the brake issue in the first hour was, ironically, hampered by eventual race winners Peugeot Sport.  The Gulf Racing team was situated behind Peugeot Sport in the busy paddock and when the team returned to their garage area, they discovered their awning flooded with Peugeot diesel which required the attentions of the fire brigade to clean it up.  The lingering fumes were still adversely affecting some team members at the end of the race.

Team owner Mike Wainwright was delighted with the result:  “It was certainly an interesting experience!  Physically it wasn’t as hard to do the race between us as I might have expected, and we were lucky it was cooler than earlier in the week, but it did require a massive amount of concentration.  You have to spend so much time looking in your mirrors to avoid the fast prototypes, or even the faster GT cars, and we had one or two small brushes but the car looks pretty intact.  It’s a shame about the brake problems we had otherwise we might have finished on the podium, but I’m very pleased with the result.” 

Fabien Giroix echoed his team mate’s comments:  “It wasn’t so hard although the traffic was bad all the way through the race.  At the rear of the car we didn’t see so well, but physically it wasn’t a big problem.  We are pleased with the result but we weren’t as fast as we should have been and had a problem at the beginning of the race which lost us the chance for a podium, but we did the best we can do.  The car looks fresh and not so bad.”

The team’s next race will be the final round of the ILMC in Zhuhai, China on Saturday, 12th November.
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