Aston Martin Racing team principal Paul Howarth believes the manufacturer’s new five-year commitment to the FIA World Endurance Championship will bring added stability as it looks for continued success in the GTE ranks.
The British manufacturer, which claimed the GTE drivers and teams title last year with Danes Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen, has confirmed a continued factory presence through at least the end of 2021.
That continuity, according to Howarth, provides strong building blocks within the organization.
“It’s a massive gain in mindset,” he told Sportscar365. “It means there is in no doubt, in any area of the team, whether it’s keeping the best engineers, the best drivers, attracting the best partners…
“You’ve got to have longevity in a motorsport program and the team and the team has to be as consistent as possible. If you have any variable in a team, we try to keep that to a minimum.
“For us in our team, it’s superb. It shows that we’re truly ambitious in this championship and in motorsport. That’s why we’re here, to race, and we’re here to carry history on.”
AMR returns with a largely unchanged three-car effort this year, despite the Young Driver backing not continuing for Sorensen and Thiim, who are now joined by Richie Stanaway in the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Dunlop development driver Daniel Serra, meanwhile, has been added to the No. 97 lineup alongside Darren Turner and Jonny Adam for the first three races, alongside the unchanged GTE-Am squad of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda.
With post-Le Mans drivers changes not yet ruled out, Howarth believes the target will be on their backs, after having set the benchmark in GTE-Pro last year.
“The championship is going to be about execution and that’s where the pressure comes,” he said.
“We do not underestimate the other teams. We’re in the middle of a new car development, a transition period and trying to repeat championships.
“But I do not underestimate how hard it’s going to be to beat Porsche, Ferrari and Ford.
“When someone wins something, you look at how they won it and you take some of the big parts. They’ll have looked what we did, we’ve looked at what they did and have identified the weaknesses.
“You must have consistency and reliability and you must execute to the best level. Track errors, not managing our strategy to the highest level, not having complete reliability in the season… that’s always going to play out.
“Lots of things happened on the track last year when you look back and go… If you sit and watch every race and draw a picture, that’s what we’re doing.”
With additional GTE manufacturers in the pipeline, including the arrival of BMW next year and a new Aston Martin model rumored to debut by as early as 2018, Howarth said nobody is standing still.
“As more manufacturers come in, the barriers get lifted and lifted,” he said. “We have to think what’s the next thing to allow us to execute our best strategy
“Five years gives you really strong building blocks to get one of the most effective teams in the championship.”