Despite their differing backgrounds, Thiim and Sørensen have truly gelled, with a friendship that’s unusual even among sports car team-mates. “It’s like a soccer team,” says Thiim. “You don’t always need superstars; sometimes you just keep the group together and perform better as a team, and the chemistry between Marco and me means we just know what we have to do. We really gain and take a lot from each other.”
Sørensen adds: “We’re both super-competitive, but if he’s quicker in one race, I’m not making excuses. We’re happy if the other is quicker, because it’s good for our car. We’re so competitive in everything we do, but we know how to push each other and not get on each other’s nerves.”
Such trust helps when sharing a car in an endurance event, says Sørensen: “When you go to sleep, you’re not thinking ‘will the car end up in the wall?’. A lot of driver pairings, even if they’ll never admit it, get too competitive within their own car and forget that it’s the result of the car that counts.”
This season, the Dane Train’s results have been very good, with three wins in the six events held so far in the 2019/20 FIA WEC – a season that began in July last year. It was due to conclude at Le Mans in June but, due to the coronavirus pandemic, has been extended until Bahrain in November. With two races left and this weekend’s Le Mans counting for double points, Thiim and Sørensen have a 19-point lead over Porsche duo Michael Christensen – another Dane – and Kévin Estre.
It’s a big improvement over the 2018/19 campaign, when the pair managed just a single race win in the then new Vantage AMR, hampered by a rule requiring teams to run a single tyre compound for the full season. “With the new car and switching from Michelin to Dunlop, we didn’t get enough testing and ended up struggling with tyre degradation,” says Sørensen. The best example was Le Mans, when the pair qualified on class pole but knew their tyres wouldn’t last a stint.
While the rules meant that Aston was locked into its package in races, it could test during the season and so focused on ensuring it would have a competitive package for 2019/20. “Now it’s a good combination and we can push really hard,” says Sørensen, although he notes that speed isn’t everything. “A lot of our wins aren’t because we had the absolute quickest car but because we’re executing all the time and not making little mistakes.”