D'Station Racing secure top 10 finish at Le Mans at Hoshino's farewell outing

Sunday, June 16, 2024


The 92nd Edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend again proved itself to be one of the toughest endurance races for multi-classed prototype and GT based race cars as two Aston Martin Racing powered teams represented the British marque at this elongated round of the World Endurance Championship.

Running the new LMGT3 configuration of the GT based class for the first time, the ACO again applied their own variant of the WEC’s Balance of performance criteria to all the cars that would see changes for the Aston Martin’s from what was last seen at Spa Francorchamps at six weeks ago.

With rain forecasted throughout the race week, most of the Free Practice and Qualifying sessions were able to be run under dry but chilly conditions but despite that, both the #27 Heart of Racing AMR or Ian James, Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas and the #777 D’Station Racing AMR of Satoshi Hoshino, Marco Sorenson and Erwan Bastard to move through Qualifying and into Hyperpole.

Eventually starting at 16:00hrs local time on Saturday from the third row of the LMGT3 grid, both crews ran considered opening stints with their respective Pro drivers behind the wheel as Bastard was eventually introduced to his first racing experience of the race and Hoshino started what had earlier been confirmed as his swan-song Le Mans 24Hr.

An early drive through penalty for Hoshino added to some early lost time as the #27 Heart car tried to maintain its top half dozen running position before the first mention of further rain around was mentioned after just ninety minutes of racing.

Inevitably, the rains came but not necessarily hard enough to sway all the teams to pit for wets and many (including both Aston Martins) elected to tough it out on slicks whilst they still could. With rain came the obvious chaos on track as the first cars started to leave the track and connect, sometimes heavily with the barriers around the circuit.

Going into darkness, the first Safety Car intervention was called after one such incident that required extensive barrier repairs to be made and during the early hours of Sunday morning, another extensive period of Safety Car intervention was required due to the volume of rain falling at the Circuit De La Sarthe.

By hook or by crook (and obvious skill somewhere in-between), both Aston Martins survived the period of darkness to come out the other side with the #777 D’Station Racing crew hanging on to P12 but with the #27 having progressed through to a top three position in class.

However, disaster as to strike the #27 Heart of Racing car with Daniel Mancinelli behind the wheel as he moved slightly offline following a lunge from the overall race leading Ferrari Hypercar for him to hit a patch of wet and lose control going into the fast left hander of Indianapolis. Rear ending itself into the tyre wheel and flipping onto its roof, another Safety Car was called as the driver was finally able to self-extricate himself from the wreckage of his car. Whilst he was later confirmed as being otherwise OK, the #23 was in a pile of bits on the side of the track.

That left just the #777 D’Station Racing car within a class of what soon became seventeen cars with just over four hours remaining but having been up as high a tenth in class, the car was eventually passed for position with two hours still remaining but with a gap of a further lap to the chasing cars behind.

Having started the race for the team, Sorenson was again in the #777 car or their final few stints of the race as the rain again returned for the final hour. Holding a twelve second lead from the #87 Lexus behind, the D’Station Racing team eventually cam home to secure a worthy P9 in class at the end.

The WEC now moves onto Brazil in less than a months time.

Photo credits - ACO / Kelvin Pope Firecracker

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