Aston Martin has 'no excuses' in GTE battle, says David Richards

Prodrive chief executive David Richards says there will be 'no excuse' for Aston Martin not to secure a class podium at Le Mans

Despite 2012 being the Vantage's debut season - the project having come together relatively late in 2011 following the failure of the AMR-One - Richards says the success it has already enjoyed makes a class top three realistic in both GTE Pro and Am.

"It is going to be very challenging, and the competition is very strong, but I don't think we have nay excuses to not have a car on the podium in both Pro and Am," Richards said.

"We have just focused our attention on it, and when we do that we tend to make progress. The Vantage has been a great car straight out of the box, and the team has done a very good job with it."

Richards admitted there are still several areas in which the Vantage can be improved, but insisted that such deficiencies were down to time constraints and that the team knows exactly where it can improve.

"The car is not as easy to drive as it should be, but we know what we have to do to sort it out. It can't be done in the immediate future, it will take a bit of work so it puts a bit of pressure on the drivers," he said.

"Generally it could be much kinder to drive if we did a few things to it. Inevitably you run out of time on these things but we already know exactly what we need to do for the remainder of this year and for next season, so it's all planned.

"[The decision to run the Vantage] was made quite quickly - two months after last year's Le Mans we took the decision and turned our attention on the GT car. We were working on the GT3 car at the same time so that was the immediate priority.

"I'm not frightened of saying we will always be ambitious and push to the limit. Prodrive has been around for 30 years and we have normally got it right; I can remember very few years when we have made catastrophic errors."

Asked what would factors could decide the race, Richards added: "We have been here before. Whether [that experience] comes into play I don't know, we will have to wait and see.

"If it's a clean dry race, it will depend on the safety cars and on what goes on out there. You just have to be on the ball, and keep that up for 24 hours."

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