Aston Martin Racing’s future participation in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship is unclear, following a disappointing outing in last weekend’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The factory British squad’s No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Darren Turner, Stefan Muecke, Pedro Lamy, Richie Stanaway and Paul Dalla Lana finished eighth in the GT Le Mans class, delayed by power steering issues, but also lacked in performance compared to the competition in the ACO-spec category.
The car’s best lap of 1:45.877 was nearly one second slower than the class-winning Porsche’s quickest time in the race, causing reasons for concern for AMR managing director John Gaw.
“It appeared at Daytona that although last year we could fight for the World Championship in the WEC, there would need to be an adjustment of parameters to allow us to fight in the TUDOR Championship,” Gaw told Sportscar365.
“From what we saw, the Aston was slower on the track, slower to refuel and had to pit earlier in a stint due to the TUDOR-specific regulations.
“This is not the case in the WEC, so we know the performance is in the car. It’s possible for us to fight for the win but it needs the cooperation of the organizers.”
While running to ACO specifications, cars in the GTLM class received a number of pre-Rolex 24 Balance of Performance adjustments.
No notable changes were given to the GTE-spec Aston, while both the Porsche 911 RSR and Ferrari 458 Italia received larger air restrictors and the Viper was handed a 30 kg weight break.
Gaw said the No. 97 Vantage, which remained in the U.S. since the FIA WEC race at Circuit of The Americas last September, is being sent back to the U.K. for scheduled maintenance, with no decision having been made on further U.S. outings.
AMR had been considering a program around the four-round Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, but Gaw said they quickly need clarity on the BoP before committing to any additional TUDOR Championship races.
“We think it’s a strong championship and the racing is great and we know it’s difficult to get the BoP right the first time,” Gaw said. “We do trust the organizers to get it sorted.”