Aston Martin Racing has confirmed that Andrew Watson will replace the injured Paul Dalla Lana in the team’s driver lineup for the Rolex 24 at Daytona this month.
British racer Watson, who is FIA Silver-rated, will take up the vacant place in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 alongside Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Ross Gunn.
2017 FIA World Endurance GTE-Am champion Dalla Lana was ruled out of the Daytona race after picking up an ankle injury whilst skiing.
The Bronze-rated Canadian subsequently missed the Roar Before the Rolex 24 pre-season test while the AMR team scrambled to find a replacement driver.
His stand-in Watson is connected to Aston Martin as one of the British marque’s factory junior drivers.
The 24-year-old drove an Aston Martin GT3 in last year’s GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup (formerly Blancpain GT) and is currently competing in the WEC GTE-Am class with Porsche customer squad Gulf Racing.
“This is such a great opportunity for me,” said Watson.
“I am very grateful to Aston Martin for the chance to continue to prove what I can do. I know the Vantage GT3 well, having raced it in Europe last season.
“It’s all come about quickly but my focus is on preparation to ensure I do the best job possible and deliver a result for the team.
“I’ve never raced in America before so for the first event to be the Rolex 24 is mind-blowing. We’ve got a great line-up and we should be competitive.”
Dalla Lana, who has contested the last five editions of the Rolex 24 with Lamy and Lauda plus other co-drivers, will be missing the race for the first time in a decade.
He is expected to recover from his injury in time for the next round of the WEC which he will contest with Aston Martin Racing.
“It’s a real shame not to be racing in the Rolex 24, a race that’s close to my heart and particularly with Aston Martin where we have unfinished business,” said Dalla Lana.
“But I wish my old team-mates Mat and Pedro luck, as well as my current WEC partner Ross, and offer my thanks to Andrew for stepping up to the plate so quickly.
“It’s a tough race but this is a strong crew and I sincerely wish them all good luck. I can’t wait to get back in the cockpit at COTA in February.”