Another tough day at the office for the three Aston Martins in ELMS at Aragon

Monday, August 28, 2023


Whilst the third round of the European Le Mans Series more than delivered upon its overall track excitement and visual spectacles of an into the night race, that was sadly not be replicated by class success for any of the three Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE crews.

With race preparatory work during Free Practice being undertaken under the hottest conditions that the Aragon circuit could muster, the writing was already on the wall as not to expect any Aston Martin Racing powered podium success except in the luckiest form possible.

Competing again within their full season class entry of twelve cars, the #44 GMB Motorsport AMR of Jens Moller, Gustav Birch and Nicki Thiim claimed the lead AMR role after Qualifying with Moller placing his red and black car P8 with the #72 TF Sport prepared AMR of Arnold Robin, Max Robin and Valentin Hasse-Clot just behind in P9. The slightly heavier (thanks to their podium finish last time out at Paul Ricard) #95 TF Sport Aston Martin of John Hartshorne, Ben Tuck and Jonny Adam would start from P11.

Starting later into the late afternoon/early evening at least allowed those working and those spectating to avoid the high heat of the day but it was still extremely hot by the time the green flag dropped at the end of the two formation laps.

It was also back into the hot seat for Arnold Robin having already raced to podium success with Hasse-Clot during the Le Mans Cup race on Friday, but he would have the best part of another two hours of racing to do but that didn’t hamper his efforts and progress as he made early progress during the opening laps.

An early incident for one of the Porsche’s gave everyone another place lift as that car was spun to a halt along the pit straight wall but at least a period of caution was avoided once that car got back on the move in last place overall. 

Maintaining their positions for the next thirty or so minutes had Robin now up to P5, Moller in P8 and Hartshorne in P11 and as the fuel loads lessened, it appeared that it was only the #72 car (out of the three Astons) who could respond to the events ahead of them in class. Having seen the top four GTE’s disappear into the distance earlier, Robin was soon very much back in contention and pushing had to make progress through the Ferrari powered class leaders.

Trouble was soon to hit the #95 car however, as a gaggle of LPM3 cars became three wide across the track and forced Hartshorne to ride off track – over both the kerbs and infield grassed areas in avoidance. That would cost him both time and an earlier visit to pit lane for service as the race hit its first hour mark and also its first Safety Car period for two cars in the barriers.

With the sun setting at the midway point, the #72 car was running a comfortable P4, #44 GMB in P7 with the #95 an unfortunate distant P11 thanks to his earlier bullying off the racetrack. The minimum driver times for these bronze rated drivers was now at an end so it was now time for the silvers – or platinum in the case of the #95 as Jonny Adam stepped aboard.

Both the #72 and #44 cars were to come to the attention of race control however as the #72 was seen to have two mechanics working upon the car during refuelling – earning themselves a plus 20 second hold at their next scheduled stop whilst Moller had banged the track limits drum again and earned them a drive through penalty for his efforts.

Both errors killed off any remaining possibility of a decent track finish for these two Aston Martin crews through by being in the right place should a further incident take place up ahead of them in class so now, the best that the more abled drivers per car could do was to finish as high as possible with the time remaining. That was easier said than done however for the #72 car after contact from behind had broken the cars diffuser, making for a large decrease in aero performance.

As the circuit descended into full dark, even the experience of the likes of Nicki Thiim and Hasse-Clot could not lift the cars up the running order as the third round of the series fizzled out into a P8 finish in class for the #44 GMB crew with the #72 TF Sport just behind again in P9 with the #95 in P11- all virtually two laps down to the eventual class winners.

These results leave the #95 TF Sport crew still the best placed AMR crew within the GTE Drivers Championship in P12 but without something of a minor miracle over the remaining three rounds from Spa Francorchamps and then a double header from Portimao, all championship winning hopes seems to be over in the final year of the GTE platform.

Photo credits – Teams / Series / social media / Andrew Lofthouse


  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes