Devon Modell shines on GT3 Le Mans Cup debut at Le Mans

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Devon Modell showed skill and professionalism by racing to sixth place on his debut in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup as part of the support bill for the legendary 24 Heures du Mans at Circuit de la Sarthe (16-18 June).

Changeable conditions and short, interrupted qualifying practice sessions meant meaningful running was at a premium during the build-up to raceday, but, while he had no prior experience of Circuit de la Sarthe, Modell still believed he would be able to compete at the sharp end of the GT3 division.

Modell was the first to take the wheel of the #22 Aston Martin in free practice. Slow zones and a lack of grip on a wet but drying track initially prevented drivers from laying down representative times, although there was little chance to improve on 12th overall and fifth in class with Michelins that were overheating and too much standing water for slicks.

Dry running was exclusive to qualifying on Thursday (16 June) evening and it was up to Jarman to extract a time from the TF Sport-prepared Aston Martin V12 Vantage.

The red flag-affected 30-minute session concluded with the #22 entry in 28th overall, therefore the reunited teammates would face a steep climb in the ‘Road to Le Mans’.

Jarman was required to start the race on Saturday (18 June) morning and he emerged from his first tour of the 13.6km Circuit de la Sarthe in 11th, working his way through the traffic and past the WINEURASIA Ligier LMP3 and the IDEC SPORT RACING Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 before the compulsory pit stops.

Modell took the reins towards the end of the pit window and a swift, well-oiled driver-change saw the Aston Martin Evolution Academy recruit emerge in sixth, although a stop-go penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit resulted in a loss of two places.

A resurgent Modell recorded the second fastest lap of the race and passed two cars in one opportunistic passing manoeuvre on his way to a sixth place finish, and he reflected on his first race at Le Mans by saying: “I think sixth place is a respectable result on a completely unfamiliar circuit, but you always want more. I was pleased to pass two cars at once at the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight and to set the second fastest lap, especially as there was a lot more pace to come.

“I was still finding the braking points at the end of the race, which was a steep learning experience. It was good fun to drive Circuit de la Sarthe and to be totally carefree with no championship positions to think about, but I was aiming for a podium – everybody wants to be on the Le Mans podium. I would have settled for the fastest lap, but the whole experience has been fantastic it has certainly whetted the appetite.”