Thiim completes the set as Aston Martin claim victory

The Aston Martin Racing team celebrate their success NNL-190729-114658002
The Aston Martin Racing team celebrate their success NNL-190729-114658002

Aston Martin Racing claimed victory in the Pro-Am class of a rain-interrupted 2019 TOTAL 24 Hours of Spa.

It came following a brilliant performance by partner team TF Sport Racing with Oman with the new Vantage GT3.

To take the first 24 hour win for the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is an incredible feeling

Aston Martin Racing team driver Nicki Thiim

It was the maiden win in a 24-hour race for Aston Martin Racing’s new customer-focussed machine and also the first for the British sportscar marque since the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup event became a GT3-only competition.

TF Sport’s triumph was made all the more remarkable given the team started from the pit lane, following Salih Yoluc’s huge practice accident at Raidillon, which forced it to rebuild and use a regular British GT Championship chassis for the race. The driver crew, including Aston Martin Racing works driver Nicki Thiim, Ahmad Al Harthy, Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood, recovered 50 positions to finish 22nd overall, a lap clear of its nearest class rival.

For Thiim it was also a personal landmark; this was his third major 24-race class win, adding to his 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Am victory and his 2017 Nürburgring 24 Hours SP8 class win.

Three of Aston Martin’s partner teams, Garage 59, TF Sport and R-Motorsport entered six Vantage GT3s in an event afflicted by a high attrition rate and heavy rain that persisted almost throughout. The race was even temporarily halted for nearly six hours in the early morning when conditions were deemed too dangerous to continue.

R-Motorsport proved strong contenders with both its Pro cars.

The #62 ran competitively in the top ten in the hands of works driver Maxime Martin early on, while the #76 emerged as a contender for victory with Alex Lynn until a mismatched tyre set cost the team its front-running position before the race was stopped. The car Lynn shared with Marvin Kirchhöfer and Jake Dennis finished 19th.

The third Aston Martin to take the chequered flag was Garage 59’s #188 Am car, driven by Chris Goodwin, Chris Harris, Alexander West and works reserve driver Ross Gunn, which was also a class contender until it was damaged in contact from a Pro car.

Thiim said: “To take the first 24 hour win for the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is an incredible feeling. This team has put so much work into this weekend you wouldn’t believe it and they deserve this. For me personally it’s very special as well to get a win here, to add to those I have at the Nürburgring and Le Mans.”