With the reinstatement of the pre-Le Mans official test day after a break of a couple of years, there was a mini-exodus from the UK to France over the Easter weekend. The test allows teams to evaluate new technology in a competitive situation and collect valuable data, and drivers if they haven’t been to Le Mans before or not raced at the 24 hour event within the last three years to complete a minimum of 10 laps to ‘qualify’ themselves for the race.
After the reasonably positive testing progress that had been made in recent weeks, Andy and the Aston Martin Racing team were all looking forward to clocking up some mileage on the team’s two new AMR-One prototypes around the legendary 14-kilometres of Le Mans’ public roads in the Sarthe region of France.
Despite an enormous effort by the whole team, and an extraordinary number of hours at the grindstone, just one lap of the track was all it took for the No. 009 AMR-One to come to a smoky halt in the pits. Aston Martin Racing’s David Richards confirmed that the problem was down to a failed cylinder coating, the team opting not to replace engines with others sharing the same inherent issue.
As Adrian Fernandez had been at the wheel for the one and only lap, neither Andy nor Harold Primat had an opportunity to drive during the test day.
A bright note in an otherwise frustrating weekend was that Andy took part in a driver-media karting event on Saturday evening. Paired with Aston Martin Racing’s official snapper, Drew Gibson, against drivers such as Andy Priaulx, Christian Klein and Neel Jani, Andy survived an early nudge from another car to come through to a 3rd place finish...his highest finish at Le Mans so far in his career!!
Now, how to translate that karting success into a similar or better result on June 12th...?