Going the distance Aston-Martin Racing Gears up for another full-on season in the world endurance championship. Words Richard Meaden. Photography Amr.
Aston Martin Racing’s twelfth season of competition is shaping up to be its most exciting yet. With a revised V8 Vantage GTE sporting an all-new aero package, an exclusive tyre partnership with Dunlop, dynamic new driver line-ups and a classy new colour scheme to suit a fresh group of title sponsors, no-one could accuse the crack Banbury-based squad of losing its hunger for success. Which is just as well given the strength of the opposition in GTE PRO, with the might of Ferrari (with its new turbocharged 488) and Porsche being joined by Ford and its incredible-looking GT supercar. Indeed it’s Ford’s arrival that has prompted at least part of AMR’s driver reshuffle, the defection of Stefan Mücke bringing his long-term racing partnership with Darren turner to an end.
For 2016, turner teams-up with the Danish duo of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen in the #95 V8 Vantage, while the second GTE PRO entry sees the Scot Jonny Adam promoted from his occasional WEC outings in 2015 to a full-time drive alongside Kiwi Richie Stanaway and Brazilian Fernando Rees in the #97 car. AMR’s strong showings in the GTE AM category will be upheld by quick canadian gentleman driver Paul Dalla Lana who is joined for a second season by the super-experienced Portugese driver, Pedro Lamy, and the Austrian, Mathias Lauda, in the Drive-My.
The WEC season starts with the Six Hours of Silverstone on Sunday April 17, followed by the Six Hours of Spa in May. this is the traditional warm-up for the Le Mans 24 Hours in mid June – the single most important race for Aston Martin Racing and every other team in the WEc – but between those WEc rounds AMR will also contest the Nürburgring ‘N24’ with a pair of V12 Vantage Gt3s crewed by all but Paul Dalla Lana.
A brief hiatus post-Le Mans gives the teams time to regroup before the WEc re-starts in ernest, with the Six Hours of Nürburgring in late July followed by five fly-away races to Mexico, texas, Japan, china and Brazil crammed into a relentless ten-week period between the beginning of September and the middle of November.
The WEC may not start until April, but such is the global popularity of endurance racing that there’s barely an off-season; the first 24-hour races of 2016 separated from the end of the 2015 season by less than two months. Late January and the Daytona 24 Hours saw a works-supported V12 Vantage Gt3 competing in the GTD class. Driven by AMR’s WEC regulars Paul Dalla Lana, Richie Stanaway, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy, the #98 Vantage started 7th in class but quickly climbed to 3rd before damage incurred as darkness fell forced an unscheduled pit-stop for repairs. Undeterred, the crew clawed their way back into contention for the class lead, only for a late fuel stop to drop them to 4th at the chequered flag.
After the troubled 2015 season in the WEC, AMR is hoping for a stronger, more consistent showing this year. We’re sure you’ll join us in wishing all at AMR a successful and safe 2016 season.
2016 began with a battling 4th place for this Workssupported V12 Vantage Gt3 of Dalla Lana, Stanaway, Lauda and Lamy in the Daytona 24 Hours.
AMR’S 2016 RACING CALENDAR
April 17 WEC Six Hours of Silverstone
May 7 WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
May 28/29 Nürburgring 24 Hours
June 18/19 24 Hours of Le Mans
July 24 WEC Six Hours of Nürburgring September 4 WEC Six Hours of Mexico city September 17 WEC Six Hours of circuit of the Americas
October 16 WEC Six Hours of Fuji