Following a successful start to the 2013 season, Aston Martin Racing will continue to run five Gulf-liveried Vantage GTEs in the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), starting with the fourth round of the series, the Six Hours of Sao Paulo, Brazil, on 1 September.
The Banbury-based team heads to the five ‘fly away’ rounds of the championship with its sights set on the flawless performances that will be required to reach the top step of each podium with its three GTE Pro cars and two GTE Am cars.
In the Pro class, the #97 Vantage GTE will once again be piloted by Aston Martin Racing’s long-standing works drivers Darren Turner (GB) and Stefan Mücke (DE), who finished third in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June after leading the race into the final hour.
In the #98 Vantage GTE, Paul Dalla Lana (CN) will be joined once again by Portuguese ace Pedro Lamy. The pair will be teamed with young New Zealander Richie Stanaway who drove with the team in the Six Hours of Spa in May.
Ex-Formula One driver Bruno Senna will take the #99 Vantage GTE to his home race in Sao Paulo alongside his Le Mans team-mate Rob Bell (GB). Together the pair finished second in the Six Hours of Spa and led the 24 Hours of Le Mans for several hours.
In the Pro-Am class, British drivers Jamie Campbell-Walter and Stuart Hall will continue their championship campaign, while Roald Goethe (DE) will take a break at Sao Paulo due to other commitments.
The all-Danish #95 car will return to the WEC following the tragic events of Le Mans, which saw its driver Allan Simonsen lose his life. Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen will continue the team’s championship-winning bid in a brand new Vantage GTE, and fellow Dane Nicki Thiim will join them following a successful test session with the team at Snetterton, UK, last month.
The Six Hours of Sao Paulo takes place at the historic Interlagos circuit, now known as the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace. Last year the team finished in second place here with its single entry, the #97 Vantage GTE, but this year team principal John Gaw hopes for more.
“Last year, our car was very strong at Sao Paulo,” explains Gaw. “We travel back there this year with five strong driver line-ups, a more experienced crew and an improved Vantage GTE.
“The second half of last year was particularly memorable in the World Endurance Championship with truly outstanding racing in the GTE class and I am sure this year will be no different. After a long summer break the second half of the WEC is intense, with five races in three months that all present a real challenge for the teams, the drivers and the crews.
“We were really strong in the second half of last year and we have built on this in 2013. We won both classes at Silverstone and came second in both at Spa. Le Mans was a terrible blow for the team, and indeed for the whole sports car racing family, and the race result itself paled into insignificance beside the tragic loss of Allan Simonsen.
“However, our cars ran competitively, leading the GTE field for long periods of the race. Knowing how close we came to victory at Le Mans, we go to Sao Paulo with increased focus, great energy and real tenacity and with the aim of re-creating the momentum that served us so well in 2012 and enabled us to fight for the World Championship, which is again our aim in in 2013.”