PUBLISHED 14/06/2022
TAGS FIA WEC, Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves, Marco Sørensen, D'STATION RACING, Charlie Fagg, Tomonobu Fujii, Satoshi Hoshino

TF Sport claimed dominant GTE AM victory at the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend, where Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sørensen all chalked-up their official debut wins at the La Sarthe classic, and this was a second top step success for the British team within three years.


After a tough qualifying session for both the #33 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Keating, Chaves and Sørensen and the #777 D’station Racing entry of Satoshi Hoshino, Charlie Fagg and Tomonobu Fujii, the TF Sport-run cars lined up 19th and 17th respectively, for the twice around the clock battle.


It was a superb start from both Fujii and Sørensen who wasted no time in climbing up the GTE AM ranking, in order to hand over to their teammates in a more comfortable position.


Between Hoshino, Fagg and Fujii, the #777 progressed swiftly to regularly sit within the top-eight, until disaster struck just before midnight. Whilst Fagg was at the wheel, chassis damage forced the silver-graded driver to limp the Vantage back to the pits and officially retire from the race. A huge disappointment for all, after showing such strong pace and potential within the early stages.


It is no secret that Keating is renowned for currently being one of the best bronze-graded drivers within endurance racing and it was his stints, particularly in the early hours of the morning, which gave #33 such a great advantage over the rest of the class. Once the TF trio had first place within their grasp, they did everything they could to not let it go.


Incredibly, the first safety car period didn’t occur until almost the 19th hour of the race! It was here the TF Sport GTE took advantage of the gap to the WeatherTech Porsche in P2.


After 24 hours of making up 18 positions, the most a Le Mans winner has ever had to overtake for the win, Keating, Chaves and the TF Sport crew watched Sørensen bring #33 over the line to claim GTE AM victory.


This was the second time TF Sport had stood on the top step of the Le Mans podium this year, as earlier in the week, TF’s crews competed in the first ever ‘pit stop challenge’, where all teams from all classes performed individually timed pit stops. The four mechanics from the #33 crew not only finished first in class, they were joint fastest overall, out of 60 teams. #777’s crew also made a great impression by coming third in class.


TF Sport’s Ben Keating and Marco Sørensen now lead the FIA World Endurance Championship, by eight points over Northwest AMR, and despite not competing in the 1000 Miles of Sebring, Henrique Chaves sits third in the GTE AM championship, 17 points ahead of the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche. D’station Racing lie 10th within the teams standings and have three rounds remaining to fight back up the ranks.


The fourth round of the World Endurance Championship takes place at Monza, Italy, on July 10.


Tom Ferrier, Director of TF Sport - "This is incredible. I didn’t even dream of doing it the first time! So doing it for a second is pretty mind-blowing to be honest and it still feels like a dream now. We had a bit of an issue at the start with a tyre delamination on the #33 which lost us a bit of time and then we got into the night. The game plan was always to be as strong as possible and not make any mistakes. The plan worked and it paid off, we got the safety car break and from there on in it was a nail-biting few hours! All drivers were incredible and Ben was absolutely unbeatable!”


Ben Keating, #33 Bronze driver - “This time, the win is different! I think it’s really special on how we won. It wasn’t on outright pace, the Porsches were so fast! We had a great strategy and the team did an amazing job in the pit stops. We had a 100 percent mistake-free race and knowing I contributed to that feels so good.”


Henrique Chaves, #33 Silver driver - “A dream come true! It was super tough as we didn’t have the pace of the Porsches, but the Aston held on! A huge congratulations to our crew, thanks to them gaining time in the pits with their slick stops, it helped create a margin so we were comfortably in the lead towards the last four hours of the race. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the amazing team behind us and I’m so happy to be part of this piece of history that we achieved together."


Marco Sørensen, #33 Platinum driver - “It’s just amazing. For a Danish guy, it’s fantastic to see my national flag flying from all the Danish fans, it’s so special. We were on the back foot from qualifying so I felt I had to make up for that, but then we found our way up to the top-10 and then just kept chipping away from there. It made it feel special that it was actually one that we had to work really hard for!”