First lap incident involving two Aston Martins mares ELMS opener from Barcelona

Sunday, April 23, 2023


Today’s opening round of the European Le Mans Series unfortunately went the same way as its supporting Le Mans Cup Series race did yesterday after a massive lap 1 incident eliminated a large number of (this time) GTE runners, including two thirds of the Aston Martin Racing powered crews.

Having already done so well by the end of that GT3 based Le Mans Cup opener, it would again be the responsibility of Arnold Robin to start the #72 TF Sport prepared AMR Vantage GTE that he shared with his brother Max and AMR factory driver Valentin Hasse-Clot from the second row of the twelve strong GTE grid in P4.

They then had the brand-new AMR vantage GTE from the GMB Motorsport team that Jens Moller would share with Gustav Birch and AMR factory driver Nikki Thiim just behind in P5 as well as the #95 TF Sport entry for John Hartshorne, AMR factory driver Jonny Adam and team/brand/series newcomer Ben Tuck starting from P12 in class.

Like the LMC incident of yesterday that took out five other cars on the spot, an incident instigated by a spinning LPM3 at just turn three of the opening lap collected not just the #44 GMB Aston but in turn the #72 Aston and #77 Proton Porsche putting all four cars out of the race. Whilst the #44 car was limped back to pit lane under the Safety Car, the damage was literally already done, and we would see no more of them leaving just the sole Aston Martin of the #95 TF Sport car of Hartshorne to represent the marque for the remainder of the 3.5-hour race.

Hartshorne would run another double stint before he would hand over to Tuck for his first racing introduction to the ELMS series in what is the final year for the GTE based chassis. His laps times showed that he was more than at home with the characteristics of the Vantage as he would eventually post the cars fastest lap of the race but even that time showed up the car’s ongoing problem.

Tyre manufacturers aside, the AMR Vantage GTE in this series is running a similar BoP to that of their peers within the World Endurance Championship meaning that the #95 car would never really be able to compete with its own series rivals and would eventually finish three laps down to the class winner. 

How much difference the #44 and #72 cars would have made to that equation is obviously hard to say but Free Practice times would at least suggest something sadly similarly experienced within the WEC for the three Aston Martins there. We will have to wait until the next round to hopefully find out the answer to that question as the next stop for TF Sport will at Spa next weekend and the third round of the WEC.

Photo credits – A Lofthouse / Teams
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