Scotland’s latest motorsport hero says success in the world’s greatest endurance race is just about beginning to sink in.
Newly-returned from the Circuit de la Sarthe, Fifer Jonny Adam told Courier Sport of his pride in bringing the #97Aston Martin Vantage across the line to victory in the 85th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, sealing the win on the last lap of an epic and unrelenting battle through day and night.
Porsche may have taken overall honours in the LMP 1 category of the blue riband endurance event, but an epic five-manufacturer GTE Pro category battle was the story of Le Mans 2017, bringing the historic British marque its first GT win at the French classic since 2008.
Partnering Englishman Darren Turner and Brazilian Daniel Serra, reigning double British GT champion Adam has now added Le Mans winner to his already prodigious CV at just the second time of asking, doing so as the only Scot in the entire 60-car field of 180 drivers.
A trackside crowd of 250,000 and global television audience of millions watched in awe as the Kirkcaldy 32-year-old hunted down the #63 Corvette of Jordan Taylor in the final stint, and with just a lap remaining the pressure proved too much for the talented American and his car’s badly worn tyres as Adam surged past in front of the packed grandstands before completing a final tour of the 13.6 kilometre track, the Vantage cockpit a cauldron of emotion.
“It was a long last lap, we had the sister car behind us and we crossed the line together – I did shed a tear or two,” said ecstatic Adam.
“Aston Martin has waited a long time to win the Pro class but the way we won, with such a great battle for the whole 24 hours, was really special.
“The whole spirit of Le Mans is about never giving up and on those last laps I knew I had to go for it.
“I had wanted to attack throughout every stint and as a driver you can only dream about being in a position to win Le Mans on the last lap so you must take that chance,” added the popular Fifer.
“It’s definitely nice to be part of history and I think it will go down as the race of all races because of the way it was fought from the first lap to the last.
“Last year was a nice milestone in my career, I had always wanted to race at Le Mans and to be able to do that, and bring the car home to a strong finish was great.
“But this year was different – there was a real feeling all the way through the team that we were going to be good here this year.
“Darren Turner has been a huge part of the GT programme and a very good friend for a long time, and although Daniel (Serra) was new to the team we all quickly built a relationship with the trust and belief that you need to win an event like Le Mans.
“The reaction to the win was quite overwhelming and it certainly didn’t fully sink in at the weekend, but I think it is now.
“When you get the big chiefs of the race organisers and the championship coming up and thanking you for racing hard, racing fair and putting on such a great spectacle for the huge crowd, that means a lot.
GTE podium at le Mans 2017. When GTE make the race and the show. Great finish and a win for Aston Martin. Congrats pic.twitter.com/dzF0pQmpmu
— GerardNeveuWEC (@GerardNeveuWEC) June 18, 2017
“It was also special to get the congratulations of other teams – of course they would have loved to have been on the top step, but they know that they had been part of that titanic battle and in the spirit of Le Mans.”
— Knockhill Circuit (@krcircuit) June 20, 2017
The factory driver will be back in French endurance action this weekend with Oman Racing at the 1000kms of Paul Ricard, before a special reunion with the #97 Vantage when he pilots the Le Mans winner up the famous hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.