Aston Martin Racing team principal Paul Howarth believes its three-driver approach for the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE could “play into our hands” this weekend at Circuit of The Americas, amid the raging Texas heat.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans class-winning entry of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra is the only three-driver lineup in the GTE-Pro class, which has typically utilized two-driver squads for the post-Le Mans races.
However, the British manufacturer’s decision to extend Serra’s contract for three additional races, culminating with this weekend’s round, which has seen ambient temperatures in excess of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, could pay dividends in having a fresh rotation of drivers in the race.
“I want to understand for myself the difference and measure ourselves,” Howarth told Sportscar365.
“It can play into our hands or it could be just giving [Daniel] more experience and being strong as a team. When you have conditions like this, anything can happen.”
AMR has taken a split approach post-Le Mans, with its No. 95 Aston Martin remaining with a two-driver lineup in Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen, who are coming off their first class win of the season in Mexico City.
With the forecast calling for temperatures in the mid-90s on Saturday, driver fatigue could factor into the outcome, particularly with the entire race being run in the daytime for the first time since 2013.
“The first three hours will be challenging enough but later in the afternoon will be as big of a challenge,” Howarth said.
“You need the car, the tires, the drivers conditioned the best possible for the last two-hour fight because GT racing is so close.
“It was interesting for us to try and I’m very keen to expand Daniel’s experience with Aston Martin Racing. He had a great start of the season winning Le Mans.
“It was a confidence boost for him but also an interesting thing to try.”
Decision Pending on Additional Races for Serra
Howarth said they’ve yet to decide whether Serra will complete the season in the No. 97 car, or potentially revert to a two-driver lineup beginning with next month’s round at Fuji.
Despite winning Le Mans, the No. 97 Aston trio currently sits 8th in the GT Drivers’ World Championship.
“We’ll decide after this weekend,” Howarth said. “There are championship positions. We lost too much early in the year but we’re going to fight right to the end.
“But if we’re not fighting for championships, we’re fighting for wins .
“We’ll be really ambitious to see if we can win 50 percent of the races. That’s how you’ve got to be with the team. We have to keep trying our hardest.”
Howarth said he “sees no reason why not” to continue with both Turner and Adam as the anchor drivers for the car, with the Thiim and Sorensen pairing expected to remain intact.