One last hurdle this evening before everything is set for the five Aston Martins at Le Mans 24

Thursday, June 08, 2023


With the Hyperpole, the final part of the Le Mans 24 Hour Qualifying process now completed, the grid for Saturday’s start to the centennial edition of this great event has now been set.

With the top eight cars of each three classes moving up from yesterday’s Qualifying session into this afternoon’s half hour long Hyperpole session, top honours finally went to the #25 ORT with TF Sport car of Ahmad Al Harthy who eventually claimed a GTE Am class from row start beside the pole setting Corvette of last season’s AMR powered Champion Ben Keating.

Through another red flagged affected session, the Omani driver was still 1.5 seconds down to the American which was still not bad for his race debut and was backed up by an equally impressive P7 finishing position for the #55 GMB Motorsport Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE on Jens Moller who was in the same position.

Earlier in the process, the #72 TF Sport AMR entry had claimed a P14 starting position ahead of another event debuting entry of the #98 Northwest AMR car from the Heart Racing team in P18.

Since track action began this week on Wednesday with the first of the Free Practice sessions and even before, small wins and hard hits have been taken by the five AMR powered entries with the Heart of Racing pit crew taking the GTE Am honours for another year from the TF Sport crew within the earlier Pit Stop Challenge.

That however paled into insignificance as the #777 D’Station Racing crew of Casper Stevenson (at the time) suffered a heavy impact into the armco during FP1 that was further compounded with a secondary impact from an LMP2 car who had failed to adhere to multiple sets of double waved yellow flags. Thankfully uninjured from either impact, the young Englishman was declared fit and well however their car was determined to be a write off.

In another herculean task from an AMR crew, a new tub was hurried overnight to the circuit from TF Sports southern county base and rebuilt in time for this evening Free Practice 4 session that is presently underway. Although having to accept their rear of grid starting position on Saturday, this allows Stevenson to undertake his mandatory night laps this evening in order to formally qualify to take part within the event.

Memories of Prodrive building a new GTE Pro car for the factory team after a test day crash a few years ago came flooding back and again the will and the way of Tom Ferrier’s team is only to be applauded.

Like most endurance races however, Qualifying is one thing – the race is another!!

Photo credits - Drew Gibson / Kelvin Pope (Firecracker) / Social media
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