Paul Dalla Lana says that he has filed an entry for the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Am class with the second-generation Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
It means the Canadian, who has campaigned the original naturally-aspirated V8 Vantage since 2013, will continue his affiliation with the British marque for a seventh season.
Dalla Lana told Sportscar365 that he has already tested the new turbocharged Vantage, which will be made available for customers to race after the current ‘Super Season’ ends at Le Mans this month.
“It’s still early days, but I did [file an entry],” said Dalla Lana, who last year confirmed his order of the new car.
“I did my new Aston and we put the entry in. That’s as much as I know right now.
“I did a little bit of testing before the season and recently I did a couple of tests, so I think I have a pretty good sense of it.”
Dalla Lana suggested that the there was some stalling before the decision was made to pursue a 2019-20 entry.
“There was lots in the decision and lots not in the decision,” he said.
“There was a bit of inertia with the team to make a quick decision. It would have been nice to have Le Mans done and dusted and a year complete to figure it out, but that wasn’t the case.
“I think it’s been good to see the progression of the car over the last year. They’ve sorted out the classic new car issues over the year, so that felt good.
“Frankly I’ve been a bit frustrated this year with with having some bad luck and not executing at the level we’re used to. It’s a good championship and I hope we’ll be a little closer next year.”
Dalla Lana admitted that he’s not expecting to go through the process of converting the Vantage GTE into GT3 spec for an expansion on his expected WEC program.
“I’m still sort of limiting myself to WEC right now, but it’s nice to have a car that’s versatile and that was always the idea that it could be used [in GT3],” he explained.
“You never know. As I’ve found though, the development that’s happened over the year to take it into the proper GTE trim has been quite a step from where the GT3 is. So we’ll see how compatible that really is. I think it’s good for the GTE.”
It’s understood that the 2019-20 entry, while in its formative stages, is likely to continue under the Aston Martin Racing banner with the No. 98 designation.
Aston Crew Targeting Swansong Victory
Dalla Lana added that this month’s Le Mans presents the opportunity for the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing crew to “get one more” victory before the outgoing Vantage retires.
The 53-year-old said that he has “really gotten to know” the first-gen GTE Aston with which he and co-drivers Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy clinched the 2017 GTE-Am title.
This year’s Le Mans will mark the chassis’ seventh and final appearance in the WEC centrepiece race.
“It’s a fun car to drive. In some ways it’s a little more visceral than the turbo,” said Dalla Lana.
“It’s an old-school car, and I’ve really gotten to know it. It doesn’t have as much aero and it’s not as refined as some of the other cars now, but working hard to get it to go fast is rewarding.
“You have to really push. It’s an easy car to drive in one way, but to get the ultimate lap time out of it takes a lot of work now.
“We’re finding that when we make it go, it’s fun and predictable and super reliable. Those are good attributes.
“It would be nice to go out right on the top, that’s not the way it’s lined up, but maybe we’ll get one more before it’s all done.”