Time passing galleries - Part 6 Dark times overshadow success

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Running just a single car in any championship has its own problems in terms of data return but for Aston Martin Racing and their new V8 Vantage GTE running in the new World Endurance Championship, that wasn't really a problem for the #97 crew of Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke after finishing second overall in the GTE Pro class with a season ending class pole and win over in China with a brand new car.

2013 was another step up however with the factory team entering two cars in each of the GTE Pro and GTE Am classes with a third Pro car due for Le Mans. A fighting spirit from the team in chilly April conditions at the season opener from Silverstone had them continuing their winning ways of 2012 by securing class pole followed up by a P1 and P3 finish in class for the two Pro cars as well a class pole for the #96 car and a class race win for the new #95 Young Driver crew of Kristian Poulsen, Christoffer Nygaard and Allan Simonsen.

Another podium for both the #97 and #95 cars at the Le Mans 24 rehearsal at Spa Francorchamps left the team in fine form ahead of the double points round from France.

Then came what John Gaw would later describe as "a terrible tragedy".

On only the fourth lap of the race, the #95 Young Driver AMR car of Allan Simonsen was involved in a single car accident at Tetre Rouge from what the thirty four year old Dane would not survive his injuries.

What came next was testament to the professionalism and determination of the team and drivers who (with the Simonsen family blessing) carried on with the race in memory of their fallen team member with the #97 GTE Pro car finally taking the final step of the podium in Pro and the sister GTE Am car taking a sixth place overall in that class. The remaining cars were both DNF'd.

We will always remember where we were and what we were doing as John Hindhaugh read out that short statement from Aston Martin Racing over the circuit airwaves a few hours after the incident.

Despite the dark times of Le Mans, the crews set about rebuilding themselves back into a team, testing at Snetterton for the first time six weeks later with one Nicki Thiim.

By the end of the year the team held their heads high after claiming P2 overall for the #97 car in GTE Pro and by winning the Drivers Championship in GTE Am for Stuart Hall and Jamie Campbell Walter.


#stayhome #staysafe #nhsheroes


Le Mans 24

Snetterton at end of July '13 with Paul White's Strata 21 GTE


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