Another front row start for the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE in its final world appearance

Friday, November 03, 2023


The Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE platform again proved itself to be one of the best of its type after the D’Station Racing car secured another front row start to tomorrows concluding round of Season 11 of the World Endurance Champiosnhip in Bahrain earlier today.

With the reign of the GTE platform sadly coming to an end this weekend at this this eight-hour finale, all four manufacturers entered will be keen to scoop that final class winning prize for their record books before they look forward to the new reign of the LMGT3 Class from next season onwards.

After two Free Practice sessions yesterday and another this morning before this afternoons race setting Qualifying run, it was the #777 D’Station Racing AMR of car and team debutant, Liam Talbot (with Tomonobu Fujii and Casper Stevenson) who came off best from the Aston Martin powered trilogy of teams as his 1:58:982 time was good enough for a GTE class front row start alongside the pace setting #85 Iron Dames Porsche with the #25 ORT with TF Sport AMR of Ahmad Al Harthy (with Michael Dinan and Charlie Eastwood) just one place and 0.179 of second back in P3 with the #98 Heart of Racing Vantage GTE of Ian James (with Alex Riberas and Daniel Mancinelli) in P6, just under a second off the pole setters time.

Going into this final round of this seven-round season, the Vantage GTE did receive a Balance of performance break from the FIA that allowed for two further litres of fuel capacity plus a power boast increase from their Borg Warner Turbo chargers across the defined engine range.

With the GTE Am Class title already long secured by the #33 Corvette Racing team, the three Aston Martin teams have little to race for in terms of Championship position (other than professional pride and personal achievement) although a good result from the #25 crew could haul them up as far as second within the Championship standings from their present P5 position.

For the #98 Heart of Racing crew, this is of course the end of their first part season worth of racing within the Championship at the highest level of ACO rules GT racing with both themselves and D’Station Racing being openly reported as being the favourites to retain the two entries allocated to Aston Martin Racing powered teams next season.

With some wide range of weather and track conditions at the 5.412km Bahrain International Circuit so far this week – ranging from wet and slippery to dry, dusty and slippery, it has been difficult to establish just who has the pace and who will be saving something for the eight-hour race (which starts tomorrow at 14:00hrs local) although the #777 car did save its best time till last in Qualifying.

Although the ultimate prize of 2023 will be heading Stateside at the end this weekend’s events, the achievements of the Vantage GTE platform are second to none with no less than sixty-five front row starts (nearly half of those from class Pole position) and with TF Sport claiming fifteen of those themselves – thanks to @WECDATA on X for that data!

So, things have been good, it will be good again tomorrow as well as in 2024 as that is shaping up rather nicely too – so it's game on – first passed the chequered is (usually) the winner!!

Photo credits – Andrew Lofthouse / Teams / Drew Gibson


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