Decent 'banker' results for both Aston Martin crews in opening round of ELMS

Sunday, April 14, 2024


As one driver had put it after the race that they had had higher hopes for their opening race but sometimes you just need to accept what comes your way and build upon that result for the subsequent rounds.

Wise words of experience indeed from the America racer, Derek DeBoer who had just completed one of his biggest race events of his racing career to date with the Racing Spirit of Leman team and co-drivers Valentin Hasse-Clot and Casper Stevenson within the opening round of the European Le Mans Series in Barcelona with their Aston Martin Racing Vantage LMGT3.

As with any opening round, there is always a whole load of ‘new’ for any group to contend with and we had already heard of just some of the issues that both the #59 Racing Spirit of Leman crew as well as the #97 Grid Motorsport with TF going crew of Martin Berry, Lorcan Hanafin and Jonny Adam had had to deal with going into this opening race around the Circuit de Catalunya, so this morning was all about building upon what they had and to see what comes up during the opening four hours of the season.

Above all else, there was fortunately no repeat of the devastating opening lap for any of the forty-three runners as was witnessed last season when two of the three AMR runners were taken out within the first few corners. Instead, both crews were able to establish their own race pattern under the clear and warm skies of Spain.

Having started ahead of the #59 car, the borrowed #97 car of Berry was able to consolidate their class position as DeBoer gave chase before the race entered the first of many cautions which this year came in the form of not just Full Course yellows and Safety Cars but also Virtual Safety Car periods for the first time this year.

Running similar opening stints to one another, both AMR teams ran their bronze driver for their minimum driver time apiece before going it alone as the #59 then changed to their silver driver of Stevenson whilst the #97 changed to Adam for their middle order.

With just a little hip action between the cars as Stevenson took track position off the #97 of Hanafin to speak of, both Aston Martins were otherwise able to run clean races as this time, others struggled with liability and squabbles with other track users.

Just before the then class leading Porsche suffered from their own technical issues to retire from the race, the #59 AMR was just ahead of the #97 AMR in P8 and P9 respectively as Hasse-Clot was up against Hanafin to the end.

Eventually finishing P6 and P7 (respectively), at least both cars opened their 2024 ELMS account with what could be vital championship points as the Series now looks ahead to its second round from Paul Ricard in just three weeks’ time.

Photo credits – Teams / Series
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