Jonny Adam says that the new-generation Aston Martin Vantage GTE showed “massive potential” on its 24 Hours of Le Mans debut last month.
The pair of Astons finished eighth and 13th in GTE-Pro, with the higher-placed No. 95 car driven by Darren Turner, Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim running five laps off the winner.
However, Adam was able to draw the positives from those results, iterating that Le Mans was a crucial learning process for the team despite it struggling to match the competition.
The Scot, who shared the No. 97 car with Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn, said seeing the Vantage finish its first 24-hour race without major problems was a significant confidence booster.
“We’ve done a lot of testing and mileage, but not really under heavy competition,” Adam told Sportscar365.
“Spa was that, but it was only a six-hour race. It was nice just to get to the finish with no real big issues with the cars.
“The No. 95 got a good result considering, and they had good pit stops and a good race.
“We had a few tiny, minor issues that lost us some time in the pits, but overall, for a new car to turn up for its Le Mans debut and to get both cars over the line, with no big issues, was quite an achievement for everyone.
“The car has got massive potential. It’s a big step forward from the old Vantage. It’s just a case of when we can show that, we will.”
The No. 97 Aston Martin spent an hour longer in the pits than its untroubled sister machine to solve a pair of separate technical issues.
Adam explained that the lengthy garage time was the result of extra precautions taken by the team with the car out of contention for class honors.
“We had an oil pump issue, which we’ve never had before, considering the amount of mileage that we’ve done under testing,” he said.
“We also had a small damper issue that we changed. But most of it, we took our time just to double check and make sure everything was OK because we were out of position by then.
“We could have maybe saved a few more laps by getting the car out, but we just wanted to make sure everything was good and ready.
“We finished the race and that’s the key thing.”
BoP Was “Challenging all Week”
Adam added that the GTE-Pro Balance of Performance for Le Mans, which was revised twice during race week, made the Vantage quicker but did not allow it to join the class battle.
The Astons were handed breaks in both BoP changes issued after the Test Day and qualifying respectively, which resulted in them running 10kg lighter in the race.
However, the fastest Aston Martin lap was still two seconds off the class best.
“The BoP was changing all week,” reflected Adam. “It’s nice that the ACO made changes for us. It helped in the race, the changes they were doing.
“But unfortunately – as you could tell – throughout the race we just didn’t have enough straight-line speed performance.
“It’s just one of those. Now we’ll move on and focus on Silverstone.”