Despite being the fastest petrol-powered car at the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours, Aston Martin's hopes of claiming the accolade for the top petrol competitor were cruelly dashed by unbelievable drama in the closing hour. Nonetheless, the Aston Martin Racing team salvaged sixth place overall in the world's toughest endurance race, thanks to the #007 car line-up of Adrian Fernandez (MEX), Stefan Mucke (D) and Harold Primat (CH).
Up until the final hour, the #009 car's crew of Juan Barazi (DK), Sam Hancock (GB) and Darren Turner (GB) seemed set to repeat Aston Martin Racing's fourth place result of 2009. But with just 55 minutes to go, the car slowed dramatically with smoke coming from the rear, finally stopping on its 368th lap near Arnage corner.
The #007 car set the pace among the petrol runners from the very beginning of the race and was at the forefront of the action until Sunday morning, when a gearbox bearing failure caused an unscheduled trip to the pit garage. Despite never previously undertaking a gearbox repair of this complexity under race conditions, the pit crew completed the task in under an hour. The car then fought its way back from 14th to sixth, but there was last-minute drama for the intrepid #007 crew when the Gulf-liveried car picked up a puncture with only 25 minutes to go.
Mucke was able to limp the car back to the pits and crossed the line at 3pm on Sunday to seal a bittersweet success for Aston Martin. The #007 car proved its pace and reliability over 365 laps and more than 5000km of flat-out competition.
As well as the dramatic retirement of the #009 car, Aston Martin lost the #008 car (run by French team Signature Plus) at 10am on Sunday morning when Vanina Ickx crashed.
Aston Martin also claimed a podium in the GT1 class with Official Partner team Young Driver AMR, courtesy of Tomas Enge (CZ), Peter Kox (NL) and Christoffer Nygaard (DK). The team qualified on pole thanks to Enge - who claimed his sixth Le Mans pole in GT1 - and finished 22nd overall, equating to third in class.
Unfortunately, the JMW Motorsport Vantage GT2 retired on Saturday night after Bryce Miller (USA) crashed on the exit of the Porsche Curves, damaging the radiator and suspension uprights. Previously, the experienced Rob Bell (GB) - who started the race - was setting some extremely competitive times.