Behind the scenes work pays off for AMR in build up to 6hrs of Silverstone

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Having unfortunately missed everything of this weekend's Silverstone round of the World Endurance Championship event so far, its been great to see that early signs of performance improvement from the factory team's two GTE Pro entries in the opening Free Practice sessions have continued through to build up for what will be a very exiting six hour race tomorrow.

Entering their best times during the three Free Practice sessions of the season so far, the two -two driver V8 turbo Vantage GTE crews have gone on to set their best Qualifying times of the season so far to start P2 and P3 between the two Ford GT cars.

Starting the business on track yesterday morning, the #97 car of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn narrowly took team honours from the #95 Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen car to finish FP1 mid table. That on-track improvement continued into FP2 where the two cars closed out Fridays work in P2 and P4 respectively. Yes - some of that improvement will be down to an improved BoP availability but a lot more will be down to improvements from within their own car and within their own procedures and systems.

This mornings track action 'faultered' slightly as the #95 finished FP3 P3 in class whilst the #97 was cast down towards the foot of the table in P8 in class (for reasons unknown to us) but obviously, emphasis was squarely set towards the next track action of this afternoon - Qualifying.

With both cars having just the two drivers for this round that at least made selection of the Qualifying drivers a relatively simple matter with each being required to set an individual time from which an aggregate would be taken. Martin continued to be the quicker of the four drivers to claim an early P2 position later confirmed by a suitably impressive time from Lynn for the #97 car to start tomorrows race from the front row of the GTE Pro grid. With Thiim entering his time ahead of Sorensen, a time deficit of just 0.3 of second was still enough for them to secure a second row start for the Dane Train.

The performance of these cars so far is testament to the many hours of hard work undertaken by the team between Le Mans and now in coxing out all of the available and unharnessed performance out of their new GTE contender in what is still only its third race.

It really does line up to be a very competitive class again tomorrow.

In GTE Am, things have been a little more unpredictable (but equally intriguing) as both the #98 and #90 TF Sport car traded places with the whole class during the three Free Practice sessions coming into this afternoons Qualifying session. Whilst the #98 car has remained a constant, the #90 TF Sport car of course featured the swap in drivers with Euan Hankey stepping aside for Jonny Adam for Silverstone.

Unfortunately for Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy, their efforts on track were overtaken (just) by those of Jonny Adam and Salih Yoluc who secured a P3 start ahead of the former's P4 start. 

If the Pro class isn't going to be competitive enough then the Am class will bound to go one or two steps further in entertainment value as none in each class will be afraid to go wheel to wheel with each other during the race's available six hours and if Spa was anything to go by in Am .............!!

It is clear that significant effort has been put into Silverstone by the factory team since two somewhat disappointing but at least mostly reliable finishes at both Spa and Le Mans so it would be great to see if those efforts and sacrifices can be matched with a podium finish (or four) tomorrow afternoon!

Photo credits - AMR / WEC
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