The pace of Aston Martin at night compared to day time running will “potentially” be the team’s key to success in GTE-Pro at the 8 Hours of Bahrain, according to the drivers.
Saturday will be the longest FIA World Endurance Championship race so far this season, spanning eight hours and running in both day and night conditions.
At the end of Free Practice 2 under the lights in Bahrain, the two Aston Martin Vantage GTEs were flying in formation at the head of the GTE-Pro field, with the No. 97 ahead of the No. 95 courtesy of the former’s early qualifying simulation.
Alex Lynn, who shares the No. 97 car with Maxime Martin, said the team’s night pace is “potentially” stronger than their day pace and that the car “likes slightly cooler conditions” which might give them the edge over what is shaping up to be another tight race in GTE-Pro.
Lynn explained that the focus for the race across all classes will be on brakes due to Bahrain being a heavy-braking dependent circuit.
The Brit said the AMR team is doing everything it can to ensure components will stand the test of the eight-hour distance without having to be changed mid-race.
“I think the biggest thing as well for this track is it’s the highest, let’s say, duty on brakes so this is a real high, heavy braking circuit,” Lynn told Sportscar365.
“[We’re] actually trying to beef everything up from our side on the car; cooling needs to be correct, brake pads; we need to make sure everything can make eight hours all good.”
Marco Sorensen, who drives the sister car, highlighted tire management as a key factor for the race as well and noted that the team’s lack of pace during Free Practice 1 was down to experimenting with tires after Aston ended up two seconds off.
“Here it’s going to be a little bit different compared to some of the other races I’d say because there is weirdly enough a lot of tire management here,” explained Sorensen.
“I think you’re going to see some different kind of paces between the drivers and how they’re going to manage the tires; they’re going to go most likely quick in the beginning and then they don’t have any tires when they have to do the double stint.
“The race can be a bit of a pain in the arse if you look at it like that because it is going to be hard and it’s just going to be about managing that loss you get from the tires.”
Howarth Expects Close Fight in GTE-Pro
AMR team principal Paul Howarth is confident with the squad’s early race pace this season and believes they will be able to evolve with the track into the night running.
However, he still expects the GTE-Pro battle to be close right through to the flag.
“We’ve got an hour and a half of a higher ambient at the start of the race; we need to hold our nerve then,” Howarth said.
“I still believe that with an hour and a half to go the Pro cars are going to be in a group within 15 seconds fighting for the win.
“What we do know, is that we seem to have an early pace which we’ve shown in all the races, and then everyone else comes to us; they’ve tried every tire strategy and so have we.
“The outcome seems to be the same every time. What I do know is that you’ve got to be out of the traffic.
“People used to say that Bahrain is a good passing circuit, but not anymore because you need a delta of 3 or 4 km/h to pass someone,” he added.
“It’s going to be a race all the way to the flag.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report.