In the highly competitive arena of the GTE class of the European Le Mans Series, both Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE's left the Autodromo di Monza this week having stamped an early marker as to their intent when it comes to the first round of the series in just two weeks time.
During the first day of the two day test it was actually the ELMS newcomers from TF Sport who led the timing board during both day time sessions, topping the morning session by half a second ahead of the #99 BeechdeanAMR car, increasing that to over as second in the later afternoon session.
During the available night time session only half of the entire 41 car grid elected to run with only BeechdeanAMR running from the GTE field and then for only four laps.
In the morning session of the second day it was class honours to BeechdeanAMR for clocking the fastest GTE time, fractionally faster than TF Sport whom also sustained minor damage for which the team had no replacement ending their first Prologue slightly earlier than expected.
With TF Sport having already announced their Le Mans 24 driver line up, the team took the opportunity of the Prologue to get their replacement for Nicki Thiim (in Rob Bell) some decent seat time in their 2016 specification GTE alongside Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey. BeechdeanAMR have yet to do that so simply ran with their full season line up only of Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn.
Obviously there are no points nor prizes for coming first in testing - the real work will begin during Friday Qualifying for the first round at Silverstone. This year is going to be incredibly hard with the two Astons coming up against three Ferrari's and two Porsche's - each driven by some very capable drivers.
Photo credits - TF Sport / Beechdean / Jeff Carter / ELMS