Aston Martin Racing will start the third round of the 2012 American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Laguna Seca, Calif., from pole position having dominated todayâ€™s qualifying session. Factory driver Darren Turner (GB) set the fastest time in the GT category aboard the V8-powered #007 Loweâ€™s Vantage GTE to score the carâ€™s maiden pole on just its fourth competitive outing.
In dry and sunny conditions, Turner set a best time of 1:22.229 around the 2.238-mile circuit to lead the highly competitive 12-car field of production-derived racers.
Turner praised the teamâ€™s efforts having judged the tires and track conditions to perfection: â€œGetting pole here is a really good feeling for everybody in the team. They all worked so hard over the winter to get the Vantage GTE up to speed and it was great to get the most out of it in qualifying today.
â€œIâ€™m looking forward to the race, but anything can happen. If we can keep it in the top three, weâ€™ll be really pleased.â€
John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, added: â€œThe team has worked with real focus and determination to get the car to this point, so we can be proud having claimed pole position for tomorrowâ€™s race. We were fastest in the final practice session earlier in the day so we were confident that we had dialed the Vantage GTE into the circuit ahead of qualifying.
â€œThe engineers and technicians worked hard experimenting with new ideas, and they found the perfect setup for the car just at the right time. Darren did a superb job to extract the performance from it. The GT class of the ALMS is renowned for its close competition, so to score pole position in qualifying is very encouraging, although I think the conditions at the time particularly suited how our car used its tires during the short session.
â€œThe race will be a tough one, but having proved the carâ€™s pace today Iâ€™m sure we can prove its durability tomorrow and achieve a strong result.â€
Aston Martin Racing is competing at Laguna Seca â€“ having also contested the second ALMS round at Long Beach, Calif., last month â€“ in support of its FIA World Endurance Championship program in order to gain more competitive experience of its new-for-2012 Vantage-based racer. The factory team will field a pair of Vantage GTEs at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
The race starts at 1:30 pm PDT tomorrow and will run for six hours. Turner will share the Gulf-liveried Aston Martin with regular factory teammates Adrian Fernandez (MX) and Stefan MÃ¼cke (D), who will start tomorrowâ€™s race. Follow Aston Martin Racingâ€™s progress on its official website at www.astonmartin.com/racing, or on its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/astonmartinracing and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amr_official.
The race will be broadcast live on ESPN3, ALMS.com, Fox Latin American Networks and Rogers SportsNet. A two-hour highlights show will air this Sunday on ESPN2 beginning at 5:00 pm ET.