Aston Martin Racing recorded another famous double victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), following one of its most emphatic performances as a manufacturer over a single event. The British luxury sportscar brand dominated the Lone Star 6 Hours at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on Sunday, winning both the GTE Pro and Am classes having set the standard all weekend.
Danish duo Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen increased their WEC GTE Drivers’ Championship lead to 26 points over their nearest rival with a lights-to-flag victory from pole position in the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE. It was their third victory from five races in the 2019-2020 season, having also won in Fuji and Bahrain. Neither driver put a wheel wrong in an inch-perfect display of driving that kept them just out of reach of the opposition, including their team-mates Alex Lynn (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL), who finished fourth. The result means that Aston Martin has a 32-point lead over nearest rivals Porsche in the Manufacturers’ standings.
The performance also capped a great start to the calendar year for the Vantage, on the nameplate’s 70th anniversary, and marked yet another success at COTA for Aston Martin which can now count eight class victories at the Formula 1 Grand Prix venue in six visits since 2013.
"I can hardly believe what is happening right now," said Thiim. "The Aston Martin Vantage GTE is incredibly competitive and I knew it would be really strong at COTA. To take the win from pole is the perfect result for the car and the team and everyone did their job perfectly today. It’s a privilege to win for this brand and to help build its lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship.”
Sørensen added: “The race was much tougher than it looked. The car was great to drive but the opposition was fast, so it was up to us to make sure we got the most from this package. Which everyone did. The pressure starts to build now with only three races left, but to be leading the championship is the best possible way to go to Sebring."
The Vantage was equally dominant in the GTE Am class which was characterised by a race-long battle for supremacy between Aston Martin Racing partner team TF Sport and the works #98 car driven by Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), Darren Turner (GB) and Ross Gunn (GB). In the end, Salih Yoluc (TUR), Aston Martin Racing factory drivers Charlie Eastwood (GB) and Jonny Adam (GB), came out on top with their third win of the season, moving them to within two points of the championship lead. But second place for the #98 crew was no less than they deserved after a stunning double-stint by Dalla Lana who was still recovering from a recent leg injury. Finishing runner-up puts the works crew third in the championship, just 6.5 points off the lead.
Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw added, “It’s not quite the perfect result, and for a long time it looked like it would be with both Vantage GTEs formation flying at the front of the Pro class. But for Nicki and Marco to increase their lead in the championship with an inch-perfect performance was extremely gratifying to witness. As was watching the two GTE Am Vantages fight for victory. Paul’s performance was exceptional this weekend, but TF Sport deserved their victory on a weekend where the Vantage GTE was the class of the field.”