Former F1 driver, Bruno Senna, had a productive day at Portimao as the Aston Martin Racing team sampled the V8-powered Vantage GTE for the first time.
He joined long-standing factory drivers Darren Turner and Stefan Mücke, together with new signings Rob Bell and Frédéric Makowiecki at a wet Portuguese circuit. The final member of the squad – Peter Dumbreck – wasn’t at the test, but the team gained some valuable data ahead of the next test session at Road Atlanta, Georgia.
Senna was a little apprehensive ahead of the test, given the conditions would be less than ideal. “I’m pleased with the way things went in Portimão,” he said. “The rain prevented us from running as much as we expected on Sunday, but at night at least I was able to make some mileage on wet tyres.”
“On Monday the weather was better and, even though the track was still damp in the morning, I could start understanding the car. The Vantage GTE felt good to drive, but is quite different compared to the Formula 1 cars I drove in the recent seasons. You have to brake early and I was very careful, mainly when the track was still wet.”
“Overall, these were useful days for us. Now I look forward to the second test session at Road Atlanta.”
Team principal, John Gaw, said “Despite the weather being wetter than expected, this didn’t hamper our test session. In fact, it worked out well because all the drivers drove in wet, damp and dry conditions and, in the end, we actually completed more kilometres over the two days than we had initially planned.”
“The car has started this year like it finished last with great pace and reliability; although, of course, we don’t know how much our competitors have also improved during the winter. Importantly, all the drivers gelled and were close on lap-times – it’s an excellent start to the team’s working relationship – and we exceeded our ambitions for the first test session.”
Senna’s performance drew praise from team-mate Turner, who was impressed by the Brazilian’s debut in the car.. “Bruno certainly had a baptism of fire as his first run in a GT car was in the dark and the rain but he did amazing job and I was surprised at how quickly he adapted to the car.”