As the sun set on the empty grandstands ringing the Circuit de la Sarthe, the Aston Martin Racing team was quietly confident but still painfully aware that they had everything to play for. The 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans was in full swing, and despite the absence of 300,000 spectators, the trackside atmosphere was as tense and nervous as it always is during this legendary endurance test.

In pictures: Aston Martin’s victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans

Safety car deployments had thrown havoc with track positions, but the #97 Vantage GTE ploughed on through the night, continually picking up the pace.

In pictures: Aston Martin’s victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans

From refining the Michelin tyres to balancing the car, the Vantage GTE had undergone two years of intensive preparation.

In pictures: Aston Martin’s victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans

The works team of Alex Lynn (GB), Maxime Martin (BEL) and Harry Tincknell (GB) were extraordinarily focused. running an extremely clean race that saw the car finish without any panel damage and on the same set of Alcon brakes as it started with.

In pictures: Aston Martin’s victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans

Huge credit has to go to Lynn [pictured], who undertook the drive of his life as #97 and #51 traded the lead during their respective tyre stops. The strategy and effort paid off and #97 took victory in the GTE Pro class. "To win Le Mans is something special," said Martin. "We had two years where we struggled here so to learn, improve, come back so prepared and win… it feels emotional."

In pictures: Aston Martin’s victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans

Despite the unusual circumstances of Le Mans 2020, it marks Aston Martin’s most impressive performance at the circuit since Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby's legendary victory in the DBR1 in 1959 and further cements the importance of the ongoing relationship between road and track.

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