Paul Dalla Lana will return to the Rolex 24 at Daytona for the first time in three years as part of an Aston Martin Racing-entered effort in the GT Daytona class.
The Canadian confirmed to Sportscar365 that Northwest AMR will enter an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener, with the Bronze-rated pilot and factory ace Nicki Thiim so far two of the four confirmed drivers.
Dalla Lana explained the outcome of Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship Bahrain Rookie Test — where six Silver-rated drivers will be testing Aston Martin Vantage GTE cars — could help determine the remainder of the lineup.
“I’m going to do Daytona,” Dalla Lana told Sportscar365. “We’ll be there in GTD. We’ll have a few people you know there. It will be a strong lineup.
“We’ll have Nicki in the car. It will be good. I’m looking forward to it. I missed it last year.”
It will mark Dalla Lana’s first Rolex 24 since 2019 after missing the 2020 race due to a skiing injury that resulted in Andrew Watson replacing him in the team’s GTD lineup alongside Ross Gunn, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda.
Dalla Lana’s 2022 WEC plans, meanwhile, are still being determined, with discussions ongoing at this weekend’s season-ending 8 Hours of Bahrain.
“We have to think about WEC,” he said. “I guess there’s a big queue here so we have to get our decisions in as of Dec. 1, I think.
“That’s kind of the priority, to figure that out. I really am year-to-year [on commitments] and this is exactly the moment we sit down [and discuss the future].
“Also, let’s hope we get a bit of a new normal. Part of it is having some fun and it’s not great when you’re locked down and doing this. It’s a big commitment to be in the bubble all of the time.
“I’m hoping that’s changed. We’ll know by Dec. 1 [in Canada]. We’ve just been super cautious [as a country]. It’s been a hard year that way. I’m hoping that things are a bit more normal.”
When asked if he could switch teams or manufacturers, Dalla Lana indicated he’s pretty likely to remain with Aston Martin for what would be an eighth consecutive season with the British manufacturer in WEC competition.
“I’m pretty focused on Aston,” he said. “It’s hard to change after all these years. I’m sure there’s great options — in all fairness — there’s lots of folks out there.
“But I still have some unfinished business here.
“We’re fighting to be in third [in the championship] which is a bit annoying. It was another tough Le Mans. We’d be right there otherwise.
“It’s been good racing — I have to say. This has been an interesting year and really close fights.
“We were in fourth by 20 seconds last race. That tells you how close it’s been on any given weekend, which is exciting.
“If it’s going to be a bigger field and more of that, I’m all for it.”
Should Dalla Lana return to GTE-Am, it would likely be with a revised lineup with co-driver Marcos Gomes currently set to move from Silver to Gold rating by the FIA.
The duo have been joined by BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus for the majority of the races this year.