Reigning FIA World Endurance GT champion Nicki Thiim will contest next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans as a member of Paul Dalla Lana’s NorthWest AMR GTE-Am crew.
Aston factory driver Thiim will step in to replace lead driver Augusto Farfus, who is unable to take part in the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship due to his clashing commitments for Hyundai in the Pure ETCR fixture at the Hungaroring.
Thiim, who won the 2016 and 2019-20 WEC titles alongside Marco Sorensen, joins long-time AMR customer Dalla Lana and Marcos Gomes in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE which is operated by personnel from AMR/Prodrive.
Like the other members of the Aston Martin Racing factory GTE-Pro squad, Thiim was left without a full-time WEC ride for this year when the British manufacturer pulled its factory team program straight after its championship-winning 2019-20 campaign.
Thiim joins Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin – who shared the No. 97 Aston Martin last season – in landing a seat for the 2021 edition of Le Mans following Aston’s exit.
Lynn is joining Paul di Resta and Wayne Boyd in a United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson, while Martin was recently confirmed as a member of HubAuto Racing’s GTE-Pro squad.
“I am so happy to be coming back to one of the greatest endurance races in the world with Aston Martin, and as always it’s an honor to represent such a special brand in the big events,” said Thiim.
“I have to say thank you to Paul for inviting me to be a part of his NorthWest AMR team, and for giving us a real chance to fight for victory in this year’s race.
“The Vantage is an amazing car to race at Le Mans and with Paul and Marcos we have a team that can be right in the mix.”
Thiim’s inclusion in NorthWest AMR’s GTE-Am lineup means he is now set to contest all three major European 24-hour races this year.
The 32-year-old piloted a Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo in last month’s Nürburgring 24, while later this month he will tackle the TotaleEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, teaming up with Sorensen and Ross Gunn in a Garage 59-run Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Thiim won the GTE-Am class at Le Mans in 2014 alongside Kristian Poulsen and David Heinemeier Hansson, while his six participations since then have come in GTE-Pro.
“When it became clear that Augusto Farfus was not available for the race, Nicki was the obvious replacement,” said Dalla Lana.
“Between Nicki and Marcos we have an incredibly strong lineup. The Vantage is a proven quantity at Le Mans, and in the NorthWest AMR team we have built a tight unit of dedicated individuals, many of whom have won this race before and know exactly how to get the job done.
“This feels like a really good shot at the race, and I’m super excited to get down to business at Le Mans.”
Aston Martin Racing President David King added: “We are very proud to have four Vantage GTEs contesting the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans and three strong partners defending Aston Martin’s honor after our successes of last season.
“That Nicki Thiim can return with Paul Dalla Lana and the NorthWest AMR team is fantastic news and underlines our commitment to our customers that we are able to have such strength in depth in our factory squad to call upon when needed.”
Dalla Lana’s Aston Martin will be joined by a three-car entry for defending GTE-Am race winner TF Sport, which is running two cars in its own name and one for D’station Racing.