9 February 2018
ASTON MARTIN RACING ANNOUNCES TWO CAR GTE PRO ASSAULT ON WEC
Aston Martin Racing has confirmed it will race two brand new Vantage GTEs in the GTE Pro category of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Super Season.
In a revised driver line-up, three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Darren Turner (GB) joins Danish pairing and former GTE Pro champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen in #95 ‘Dane Train’ machine, while exciting new Aston Martin Racing signings Maxime Martin (B) and Alex Lynn (GB) will share the #97 entry with 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro winner Jonny Adam (GB).
In addition to this, the ultra-successful trio of Paul Dalla Lana (C), Mathias Lauda (A) and Pedro Lamy (P) will return to defend their GTE AM world championship title in their trusty Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE.
The strength of talent within the crews reflects Aston Martin Racing’s intent to hit the ground running with the new Vantage, and the seriousness with which it takes the level of competition in the GTE Pro class in the FIA WEC. The GT categories are now the most populated with manufacturers in the series, with no less than five represented in GTE Pro.
All six drivers have played a role in the extensive development programme of the new Vantage GTE which has now clocked up more than 10,500 miles of testing over the winter. Having focussed on durability for much of this time, the team is now working on the performance and tyre development phase of the programme ahead of the WEC Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard on
April 6, 2018.
For the first time in its history, the FIA World Endurance Championship will run over a 14-month period from summer-to-summer beginning in Belgium with the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5 2018. It will incorporate two 24 races at Le Mans, and a return to Spa-Francorchamps in 2019, as well as a 12-hours race at the famous Sebring circuit in the USA. The series will also include six-hour events at Silverstone (GB), Fuji (J) and Shanghai (CHN).
Team Principal of Aston Martin Racing, Paul Howarth, said “The FIA has reinvested in the World Endurance Championship, which is going to offer Aston Martin Racing the challenges it looks for when competing in the top level of motorsport. Out heritage in the sport, and our track record shows that we are all about delivering race wins and championship titles, and we look forward to fighting for both in the new Super Season format, which also offers us the opportunity to return to Sebring in America and race at great circuits like Silverstone and Spa.
"We are expecting the competitiveness of the GTE Pro category to be at the highest level ever, with a massive talent pool of drivers as well as leading car manufacturers, which will lift the standard of racing to a level it’s not seen before in WEC.”
John Gaw, Managing Director of Aston Martin Racing, added: "The evolution of the FIA WEC is moving in a great direction for manufacturers within the sport. The GT category offers a unique, realistic, achievable and most importantly a tough contested goal for prospective manufacturers when compared to the prototype categories. You only have to look at historic battles such as at Le Mans in 2017 to see that the GT category is alive with excitement and viewers of the series are offered the opportunity to see some of the world’s top racing drivers battling it out in cars they can relate to.
"The new Vantage GTE replaces the previous Vantage in the PRO category for 2018. Our successes with the previous car were documented on the global stage from our first race at Sebring in 2012 through to scoring the GTE Pro class win at Le Mans in its final season. We hope to replicate this success in the car’s final year in the AM category as a fitting send-off. The new car has been very impressive in pre-season testing and that is true testament to the whole team back in the factory who have worked synchronously with the design team at Aston Martin Lagonda and we are confident the new Vantage will be a big step on from its predecessor. We have two new drivers joining the factory driver roster for 2018 with Alex and Maxime partnering AMR stalwarts Jonny Adam, Marco Sorenson, Nicki Thiim and Darren Turner. These new signings reinforce our partnership and focus with FIA WEC and outline our strong intentions from the outset."