Even as early as September, the formidable Vantage GTE from Aston Martin was already able to clinch the GT Manufacturers world championship for both GTE Pro and AM classes with a well-deserved victory at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans.
This year will go down in history for Aston Martin as their most successful racing season since 1959. Additionally, it will also mark the first time that Aston Martin has won two world titles and both classes in the same campaign at Le Mans, despite the strong competition from arch-rivals Ferrari and Porsche in all the major Pro competitions.
The fifth-place position in the GTE Pro class in Bahrain’s finale was enough for Thiim and Sørensen to end the year with a final total of 172 points. Team-mate Maxime Martin (BEL) was 12 points behind, as he finished the season as vice champion, winning the GTE Pro class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Alex Lynn (GB). Martin (BEL) drove alongside Richard Westbrook (GB), who stood in for Lynn, finishing fourth in Bahrain.
It is only the second WEC season for the Vantage GTE, however, it has been an outstanding season, winning eight class victories, and four in Pro. Three of the victories were won by Thiim and Sørensen at the Long Star 6 Hours at COTA (US), 6 Hours of Fuji (JAP), and first 8 Hours of Bahrain.
“This feels incredible. We have worked so hard for what feels like absolutely forever to win this championship. It is all I have thought about for months and it means everything to myself and Marco. The Vantage GTE has been the perfect car to race all season, and I am so proud that we are the ones that get to call ourselves champions for winning with it. I am now a two-time world champion with Aston Martin, and that’s something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you to the team, to Aston Martin, WEC and all the fans. What more can I say?”Nicki Thiim
Those three wins, along with the second-place position in the 6 Hours of Spa, fifth place in China, and third in Le Mans allowed them to stay ahead of their team-mates in the #97 Vantage. Before their exciting win at Le Mans, Martin and Lynn had four podium finishes.
“This season has been so incredibly tough, both on and off the track, and to have finally won the world championship is a testament to all the people in the team that has given us such an amazing car to race. The Vantage has allowed us to fight at the front, pretty much all year, which is what you dream of as a driver because then all you have to do is race hard. We have proved this year that we can wins races and championships if you give us a car like this.”Marco Sørensen
[Source: Aston Martin]