Silverstone, 20 April - Three of Aston Martin Racing’s four Vantage GTEs finished in podium positions in the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Six Hours of Silverstone, after finishing first and second in the GTE Am class and third and seventh in the GTE Pro class thanks to great strategy in the changing weather conditions.
The #95 Young Driver Vantage GTE returns for a second season with Danish drivers Nicki Thiim, Kristian Poulsen and newcomer to the team David Heinemeier Hansson and has its sights firmly set on the championship win. After finishing its opening race of the year in first place in class, it is firmly on track.
“We returned to the WEC but with a completely new team, a new team-mate and a new engineer,” explains Thiim. “My co-drivers did a great job and there has been fantastic teamwork from everyone. In the race, tactics played an important role with the changing weather conditions and we got it right. Kristian and David did a great job to keep it on the track, especially in the heavy rain.”
The #98 NorthWest Vantage GTE of Pedro Lamy (PT), Paul Dalla Lana (CA) and Christoffer Nygaard (DN) finished closely behind in second place.
In the Pro class, Darren Turner (GB) and Stefan Mücke (DE) finished in third place, despite a difficult start to the weekend for the Gulf-liveried #97 Vantage GTE that saw it struggle to match the pace of its competitors. As the weekend progressed, the team worked hard to get more out of the car and Mücke and Turner were impressed with the improvements.
“We had a very difficult Friday and Saturday in practice and qualifying,” explains Turner. “The team found a small problem with the car and fixed it overnight, which gave us a bit more confidence and more pace in the car. The start of race was good – we kept up with the Ferrari but the Porsche was long gone. The team did a great job with strategy, as the change in weather conditions made it a very difficult race and there was no room for errors. Third place is more than we could have hoped for at the beginning of the day.”
Making its competitive debut in the WEC, the Valero-liveried #99 Craft-Bamboo Vantage GTE finished in seventh with Fernando Rees (BR), Darryl O’Young (HK) and Alex MacDowall behind the wheel.
“We came here with no expectations,” comments Darryl O’Young. “It is our first WEC race as a team and we came here to develop and learn - we are really pleased with our progress and how we worked together as a team. The car was great and we all look forward to racing at Spa in a few weeks time.”
The 2014 season marks Aston Martin Racing’s tenth year in international sports car racing and the team adds this home-win to its long-list of successes.
“We came here well prepared but knowing that we would be slightly on the back-foot given the additional 5mm of ride-height we have to run this year,” comments Team Principal John Gaw. “Our results today are reflective of the maturity of the team that we have taken two years to develop. We have good strategists who can work with our engineers, mechanics and drivers to get the most out of the team in difficult and changing conditions. While we might not have been the quickest today we focused on being the smartest and the team did a perfect job.”
The second round of the championship, the FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, takes place on 3/4 May.