Archive for the ‘ASTON MARTIN RACING’ Category
Official Aston Martin Racing partner team, Jota Sport AMR, enjoyed a solid start to their 2011 Le Mans 24 Hour campaign with an encouraging performance at the Official Test Day on Sunday.
The Kent-based squad focused initially on ensuring their two ‘rookie’ drivers completed the mandatory 10-laps required to be able to take part in the race on June 11. For Simon Dolan these ten laps were his very first on the famous 8.5mile circuit having previously only visited Le Mans as a spectator. For newly-announced third driver Chris Buncombe however, the ‘rookie’ label is far from suitable, the 32-year old Briton having won the LMP2 class here in the 2007 edition of the great race!
With the rookie laps safely completed, the team concentrated then on set-up and tyre evaluations, Sam Hancock posting an encouraging 4m04.594sec lap to go fifth fastest in the GTE Pro class at the lunch break.
In the afternoon, all three drivers continued their work but their efforts were prematurely curtailed however when starter-motor failure rendered the car out of action for the final two hours of the day.
Official Aston Martin Racing partner team, Jota Sport AMR, had a dramatic start to their Le Mans Series season at the weekend when start line chaos scuppered any hopes of a strong result in “Le 6 Heures du Castellet” at Paul Ricard in southern France.
A mistake from the race controllers saw the lights turn to green despite the pace car still remaining in position at the head of the field at the end of the warm-up lap. The confusion triggered a concertina effect and a huge multi-car pile up in the mid pack, wiping out much of the GTE field, including Jota Sport’s starting driver, Sam Hancock.
“ I literally had nowhere to go,” said Sam. “We all saw green, floored it and were well up to 4th or 5th gear, three or four abreast, before suddenly seeing a wall of brake lights ahead. None of us stood a chance; in fact I think we got off lightly compared to some of the others.”
Despite being T-boned and pushed hard into the pit wall at over 100mph, the Jota crew worked fantastically to have their V8 Vantage repaired and back into the fray with more than four and a half hours of the race remaining.
Hancock and team mate, Simon Dolan, making his debut at this level, both put in strong stints to haul the car back up to 6th position in the GTE Pro class by the flag, but following further repercussions from the accident which required additional pit stops, the squad were ultimately to fall short of the required minimum 70% of the winners race distance and thus were officially unclassified in the results.
HMR led the early and middle stages of the race, heading a three-way battle with the NFS Racing Lotus 2-Eleven and Valspar Donkervoort D8 GT, but the latter’s more efficient fuel economy soon saw it pull into a commanding lead.
While Hancock, Kane, Kapadia and Al Masaood all drove faultless stints, a couple of unscheduled stops for a soft brake pedal and a small suspension issue, meant that the team couldn’t close the gap and ultimately settled for a strong second place.
Sam Hancock: “We looked strong early on, but the Donkervoort made around seven stops fewer than us, which represents a huge amount of time. HMR might be a young team but they still held their own against strong competition, were very passionate and desperately disappointed to miss out on the win. I’d like to thank them and Humaid for inviting me, as well as for all their hard work throughout what is an extremely tough event. We can be very proud of what we’ve achieved this weekend. On a personal note, it was a good warm up for the new season. It never hurts to do another endurance race and the Dubai 24 Hours is always a huge challenge.”
Hancock will now look forward to racing in the Le Mans Series in Jota Sport AMR’s GT2-spec Aston Martin.