While this spring is certainly the season of Aston Martin in GT3 racing, its brand-new GTE challenger is still looking to find the speed needed to compete for glory in the FIA World Endurance Championship. To make things more complicated, Marco Sørensen brought the British marque extra work when during the official test day at Le Mans he crashed the famous ‘Dane train’, prompting the Prodrive crew to build up a completely new Vantage before the 24 Hours of Le Mans got underway this week.
Despite the uphill battle that lies ahead, Sørensen is looking forward to the 24-hour classic.
“Of course I’m looking forward to it—if I wasn’t looking forward to it I should find a different place to be,” the Dane jokes.
“It’s been bit hectic in the run-up to it because of the little—or actually major—crash that I had. But the team has done an amazing job building the new car. I’m so proud of how they built a new car. They got this chassis only on Tuesday or Wednesday and built it up in two stints of 24 hours.”
Sørensen doesn’t believe the rebuild will affect the car’s performance.
“The team is so good at building new cars nowadays that it won’t make a difference.”
Sharing the car with Sørensen is fellow countryman Nicki Thiim—the duo joined by England’s Darren Turner. The youngster has been on a roll this spring, scoring three of Aston Martin’s GT3 victories and coming close to a fourth at Blancpain GT in Paul Ricard.
Like his team-mate, Thiim is eager to get the Le Mans weekend going.
“It’s going to be a long week! And it’s going to be a good week,” Thiim adds.
“As you can see we’re struggling a little bit, but I’m pretty sure we’re going to be up there again during the race—at least, as a driver, I hope we can race for it, that’s the most important because otherwise it’s going to be a long 24 hours.”
2018 marks the first year of Aston Martin’s 2019-model V8 Vantage in competition. Although off the pace in the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps, both cars made it to the finish of the 6-hour race.
“There shouldn’t be any technical issues, but of course you never know. We’ve tested the car day and night, so it should at least be reliable. But yeah, everything is harder pace-wise.”
With LMP1 being a Toyota one-man show and LMP2 forever the underdog to its faster LMP1 sibling, Thiim looks at his GTE-Pro class to make the show at Le Mans.
“I think this year, no matter what, GTE-Pro is going to be the category to watch. It’s easy for me to say, but I think LMP1 is going to be super boring, to be honest. LMP2 is of course a good class, but I think the GTE class, like all the GT classes around the world, is going to be super close.
“I’m pretty sure Porsche is going all-in because it’s the 70th anniversary of Porsche and that brings a big push from the factory with it—but it can also be a lot of pressure. Ford is looking to be the quickest as always and Ferrari is up there, so it’ll be like last year.
“I can’t really tell—it’s going to be so close, like we’ve seen last year with all cars inside four tenths. It’s going to be super exciting.”
Jurek Biegus contributed to this report.