Prologue over - next stop Rd 1 European Le Mans Series for AMR

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The two days of official testing at the European Le Mans Series Prologue from the Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France came to an end earlier today ahead of the revised season start for the ACO sanctioned series this weekend.

Initially believing that this feeder series into the World Endurance Championship would have no Aston Martin Racing runners within it, the severity and fluid nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic gave rise to the situation of where long term AMR customer Paul Dalla Lana seeing the validity of entering (certainly the first two rounds of the European Series) to help bolster his preparations in going back to racing in the WEC that restarts at Spa Francorchamps later next month.

Testing and indeed racing next weekend with Dalla Lana will be his current WEC team mate in Ross Gunn and his former WEC team mate in Mathias Lauda before Gunn steps aside at the Spa round for Augusto Farfus to race with the squad for the first time before Dalla Lana, Gunn and Farfus take the #98 to the conclusion of the WEC in Bahrain in mid November.

Despite missing out on track time during the lockdown, the main difference for the team would be the adjustment to the new Goodyear spec tyre within the ELMS series for the GTE class as they run Michelin within the WEC and plenty will have happened in tyre technology between now and when AMR lasted Dunlop rubber in any Series/Championship.

The timing results showed that Dalla Lana did not run in the car yesterday, we don't know if that was by choice of whether he simply hadn't arrived at the circuit by choice or whether travel/entry restrictions between Canada and France was an issue. We now understand that Dalla Lana will not arrive at the circuit until just before his Bronze driver session on Friday.

With tests like this never really painting the true picture Gunn did post on social media that he believed that their #98 package was competitive with their class opposition which is made up of mostly Ferrari 488 GTE's with a few Porsche 911 RSR's.

The dreaded Balance of Performance is of course back with the turbo charged V8 Vantage GTE being issued a criteria somewhere in-between its Pro and Am classed ones from the WEC. Base weight is up compared but fuel load is more and the boast pressures are slightly different across the range.

Ahead of Fridays first official session of the new 2020 season, another quirk of process coming out from the Stewards is that all teams complete their own initial scrutineering process. The only trouble there is that any error on their part in doing so will be rewarded with a 15 second stop and hold penalty during the race!!

Whilst all this is going on in France, Darren Turner is being kept busy back home getting the other factory Vantage GTE cars ready for a tyre test somewhere in Europe next week.

Photo credits - AMR / ELMS

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