The four cars competing at Silverstone in the opening round of the 2013 World Endurance Championship
Aston Martin Racing’s 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) programme got off to a flying start in April with a double victory in the GT class at the Six Hours of Silverstone, followed in May by a double podium at Spa in Belgium. At Silverstone, the #97 V8-powered Vantage GTE, driven by Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke and Bruno Senna, finished in first place in the GT Pro category, while the #95 car of Danish trio Christoffer Nygaard, Kristian Poulsen and Allan Simonsen triumphed in the GT Am class.
Afterwards, Turner said: “We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. Stefan, Bruno and myself all pushed hard throughout what was, at times, a difficult race. However, the car was prepared perfectly with a lot of hard work.” John Gaw, Team Principal at Aston Martin Racing, concluded: “We got much more than we expected out of the first race of the season; we came here aiming to score points with all four cars. This certainly bodes well for the championship.”
The race-winning 2013-specification #97 Vantage GTE—which shares its bonded aluminium structure and basic engine and suspension architecture with Aston Martin’s sportiest road-going model, the V8 Vantage—completed 171 laps of the 3.7-mile Silverstone circuit, equating to a total race distance of more than 630 miles at an average speed of 108mph.
Bruno Senna, Stefan Mücke and Darren Turner celebrate victory in the GT Pro class
Three weeks later at Spa, the #98 Vantage GTE Pro car, driven by Senna, Frédéric Makowiecki and Rob Bell, took second place in the six-hour race. Their prospects of challenging for the race win were dashed when an untimely safety car interruption caused them to fall behind their competitors in the early stages of the race. Senna said: “It was a great result but we also had a lot of bad luck. The safety car came out after the Ferrari had pitted and before we had, so it played to their advantage.”
GTE Am trio Simonsen, Poulsen and Nygaard also finished second in class having pushed their 2012-specification #95 Vantage GTE to its limits for the duration of the six hours. The FIA WEC resumes with the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 22-23 June.
The new-look driver line-up for the 2013 season was announced at W-One, London, in February where Aston Martin Racing unveiled its most ambitious motorsport programme to date as part of its stated aim to win both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), in the marque’s centenary year. Underlining the success of its return to GT racing in 2012 and its commitment to the WEC, the team confirmed a four-car entry into the series; two Vantage GTEs in both the Pro and Am classes.
David Richards, Chairman of Aston Martin, said: “There is a real sense of anticipation in the Aston Martin Racing team this year and a belief that it is once again our time to return to the top step of the podium at Le Mans. It would be a fitting way for Aston Martin, which has such a rich heritage in motorsport and particularly at Le Mans, to cap its centenary year.”
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Aston Martin Racing’s 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) programme got off to a flying start in April with a double victory in the GT class at the Six Hours of Silverstone.