Four Aston Martins make the trip south to Le Castellet and the ELMS and LMC

Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Sometimes the racing calendar simply never stops and that is certainly the case again for TF Sport as they swap out the demands of Monza and their World Endurance Championships for Paul Ricard is southern France for that of their European Le Mans Series customers.

With an earlier change in scheduling, this weekend’s visit to Paul Ricard is now just the second round of the 2023 season so far after the Barcelona opener in April saw the next intended round at Imola cancelled due to ongoing circuit works and any replacement would have meant for near back-to-back round for their share of the grid then due to race at the 24Hours of Le Mans in June.

This weekend’s four-hour race around Le Castellet sees for a provisional grid of forty-two entries across both LMP2 classes, LMP3 and the GTE class within which we welcome back both the TF Sport prepared entries as well as the Danish GMB Motorsport AMR.

Whilst the #95 TF Sport entry of John Hartshorne, Ben Tuck and Jonny Adam did not get to race at Le Mans this year, the #72 AMR of Max and Robin Arnold with a recently married Valentin Hasse-Clot did as well as the #44 GMB entry for Jens Moller, Gustav Birch. Re-joining the ‘Dane Train’ this weekend will be AMR factory driver Nicki Thiim and his place within the team at Le Mans was taken up by former crew mate Marco Sorenson.

Both ACO series have been particularly unkind to both the #72 and #44 Aston after both GTE powered crews suffered from early exists in France as well as race ending accident damage within the opening lap of the opening race whilst the #95 TF Sport crew again faced adversity with their cars permitted BoP against those of their peers to finish as the last of the GTE runners at the end of that four-hour race.

Since then, the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE has been afforded a positive change in BoP by the series with a small 1.0 litre increase in fuel capacity alongside a small increase in turbo boost pressure across the engine range whilst changes to the minimum tyre pressure and wheel camber have also been set out by Goodyear.

What difference that makes has yet to be proven.

Supporting the ELMS will again be the Le Mans Cup Series after their two Road to Le Mans races in June at the centenary event of the 24 Hours of Le Mans where the #10 Racing Spirit of Leman Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 of Arnold Robin and Valentin Hasse-Clot did rather well again.

At the opening round at Barcelona, the #10 crew lead the GT3 class from start to finish to earn themselves an early lead within the six-round series after that 110-minute race and at Le Mans, a P3 then a P13 finish in class after those two 55-minute races sees the all-French crew in a tight second place within the GT3 Drivers Champiosnhip going into Paul Ricard.

As far as we can see, there will be no BoP adjustments across the GT3 grid of twelve cars going into this 110-minute round and these cars will again be joined by thirty LMP3 cars.

Photo credits – Teams / Series / Andrew Lofthouse
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