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Jefferies, Merrill Testing for NorthWest AMR at Prologue

NorthWest AMR testing two Silver-rated drivers in No. 98 Aston Martin at Prologue…

Photo: Jonathan Grace

Axcil Jefferies and Thomas Merrill will test NorthWest AMR’s Aston Martin Vantage GTE during this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test at Sebring.

According to the Prologue entry list, both drivers will join Nicki Thiim and Paul Dalla Lana in the No. 98 Aston for the two-day official pre-season event, although it hasn’t been confirmed who will take part in the 1000 Miles of Sebring next Friday.

GTE-Am competitor NorthWest AMR is the only team that has not finalized its driving squad for the WEC season-opener, with the Silver-rated member of the lineup still shown as ‘TBA’ on the entry list.

Jefferies, who is Silver-rated, told Sportscar365 that he had been in contact with Dalla Lana’s NorthWest AMR outfit since the WEC end-of-season rookie test in Bahrain last November.

For that event, the 28-year-old was behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Corvette C8.R but missed out on the full-season Corvette Racing drive to Nico Varrone.

“I was in the Corvette [in Bahrain] but I haven’t driven the Aston before,” said Jefferies, who underwent a seat fitting in the Aston at Sebring on Friday.

“I’ve done Lambo, Ferrari, Mercedes, Ferrari and Porsche [in GT3]. I’m guessing it’s probably going to be a little bit similar to the Mercedes.

“But after speaking to the guys and Nicki, they say the rear is quite light. On the Mercedes it isn’t, so I think it’s going to be a cross between the two.

“I really enjoyed [the Bahrain test]. It was a really nice test in a nice car to drive.

“In the end, Nico got it and he was mega in the test. But it’s all good: another opportunity has come.”

Merrill, meanwhile, recently won the Asian Le Mans Series GT3 title with BMW team Walkenhorst Motorsport and claimed LMP3 class honors in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The American driver made his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut last year with WeatherTech Racing, which received support from the same Proton Competition team that Jefferies drove for on his first WEC race appearance in 2021.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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