BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus has joined the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing GTE-Am team for the final three rounds of the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The double Rolex 24 at Daytona GT Le Mans winner and ex-DTM competitor will replace Darren Turner in the lineup at the Total 6 Hours of Spa next month, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in September and the season-ending 8 Hours of Bahrain in November.
Farfus will share the Aston Martin Vantage GTE with its owner Paul Dalla Lana and AMR factory driver Ross Gunn, while Turner will switch his focus to the development of the 1,160 horsepower Aston Martin Valkyrie road-legal hypercar.
Turner, who joined the No. 98 squad at the start of the season, has also recently adopted a new role with the British Touring Car Championship as its hybrid development driver.
Farfus has never raced an Aston Martin before, while he competed for BMW Team MTEK against the British marque in the GTE-Pro class at Le Mans in both 2018 and 2019.
The Brazilian, who is a close friend of Dalla Lana’s, will also contest a European Le Mans Series race with the No. 98 crew.
Dalla Lana has entered the next two ELMS rounds, at Paul Ricard on July 19 and Spa on August 9, to supplement his preparations for the WEC’s delayed return to action.
At Ricard, the Canadian will be joined by his former WEC co-driver Mathias Lauda – with whom he contested Le Mans five times and won the 2017 GTE-Am title – and Gunn.
For the Spa ELMS round taking place a week before the WEC’s visit to the circuit, Lauda and Farfus are set to partner Dalla Lana.
“Like all of us, I’ve really missed competing on the track and getting the opportunity to put in extra competitive miles in the ELMS is really exciting,” said Dalla Lana, whose team is currently third in the WEC GTE-Am points with three rounds remaining.
“I’ve been friends with Augusto [Farfus] for a long time, and we’ve wanted to race together for a while, but it’s only now that a break in his program has allowed us to do this.
“The ELMS presents a tough challenge and the races are long enough to test our skills and our systems as we prepare to return to WEC.
“And as we look towards Le Mans and the world championship challenge, I think it gives a good chance to fight at the front. It’s going to be fun!”
The ELMS foray will mark the first time an Aston Martin has appeared in the series since 2017 when TF Sport and Beechdean AMR ran the previous-gen Vantage GTE.
“This is the longest break from active motorsport that we have ever had at Aston Martin Racing but we’ve used the time wisely to ensure we’re in the strongest possible position to resume the WEC season,” said AMR managing director John Gaw.
“The ELMS is a strong series where we have historically had good success with our partner teams – in fact, works driver Darren Turner won the series with Beechdean AMR back in 2016 – and it presents exactly the kind of challenge we want to refresh our systems ahead of our WEC return.
“Paul has chosen to recruit Augusto Farfus to race with him and we look forward to welcoming him into the team.”