Photo: Aston Martin Racing

Aston Martin snatches Le Mans GTE-Pro win from Corvette

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A storybook finish to the GTE-Pro class ended with pure elation for Aston Martin Racing and sheer heartbreak for Corvette Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Jonny Adam in his venerable No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 pressed Jordan Taylor in his No. 63 Corvette C7.R in the final stint of the race, with the battle culminating in the final 10 minutes.

At Arnage corner, Adam went to the inside of Taylor but overshot the corner apex. Adam was on the outside driver’s left with Taylor to the right, and the two made contact at corner exit. However not long afterwards, Taylor went off course into the gravel at one of the chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight.

Taylor’s car then began to slow shortly thereafter and had there only been one lap still to go, he may have been able to hold off Adam. But Adam made it past Taylor at the exit of the Ford Chicane and waltzed through to the victory from there after an intense finish.

Adam, Darren Turner and Daniel Serra took the win in the No. 97 car while Harry Tincknell’s storming charge netted the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT a second place finish on the final lap with Andy Priaulx and Pipo Derani.

Taylor fell to third with a right rear puncture, after a final lap of 5:37.233, 1 minute 36 seconds back of Adam, in the No. 63 Corvette he shared with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.

The parity in class continued with the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR and No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE completing the top five, making it five different manufacturers in as many positions, a year after the Ford and Ferrari domination of a year ago.

Verizon IndyCar Series stars Tony Kanaan and Scott Dixon shared Fords that ended sixth and seventh in GTE-Pro, respectively.

GTE-Am was a far more straightforward affair with the Ferrari 488 GTEs sweeping the podium.

JMW Motorsport, which won its signoff with the old Ferrari 458 Italia at Monza’s European Le Mans Series race, won in GTE-Am with a new lineup and a new car. Rob Smith, Dries Vanthoor and Will Stevens took the No. 84 car to the win.

Spirit of Race was second in the No. 55 Ferrari (Aaron Scott, Marco Cioci, Duncan Cameron) while Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler have continued their podium streak, three podiums in as many years for Scuderia Corsa, in their No. 62 WeatherTech-backed Ferrari they shared with Cooper MacNeil, who has made the Le Mans podium for the first time in his career.

Both GTE classes were very reliable with 11 of 13 in the Pro class and 15 of 16 in the Am class finishing, so it left 26 of the 29 starters able to see the checkered flag.

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
UNOFFICIAL RESULTS BY CLASS

Gabby Chaves to sub for Joao Barbosa at Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen

Photo: IndyCar
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Gabby Chaves is set to return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Watkins Glen International later this month.

The Columbian-American driver, who last competed in IMSA in 2016 – with the DeltaWing outfit – will sub for the injured Joao Barbosa – he hurt his wrist in a cycling accident earlier in June – in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

Chaves will partner Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 5 Cadillac.

Chaves expressed gratitude for being asked to fill in, but kept his enthusiasm muted, noting that he is getting the opportunity ultimately because another driver got hurt.

“The first thing is of course that you never want to have an opportunity because someone got hurt, so this is an unfortunate circumstance with Joao having his injury,”said Chaves. “But I appreciate the opportunity to join the championship-leading team. Mustang Sampling Racing has had a strong start this year and hopefully I can help the team continue to have those kinds of results.”

Chaves added, “I love Watkins Glen, it is a great track and I am looking forward to racing the Cadillac Prototype there. I’m excited to be going back to endurance racing. With different classes all racing at the same time, there is a lot for the driver to deal with as you work through traffic. So I am looking forward to racing at the Glen again, and I really appreciate this opportunity with Mustang Sampling Racing.”

Chaves’ most recent IMSA event was the 2016 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, when he finished seventh in the Prototype class.

The No. 5 Action Express Cadillac currently sits tied with the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineer Racing Cadillac of Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr atop the IMSA standings, though Barbosa’s hopes of a driver’s championship are set to take an enormous hit with him missing Watkins Glen.

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