Gaydon, 11 April 2012 – Aston Martin Racing will return to production-derived motorsport at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (16/17 June) with a pair of V8-powered Vantage GTEs. Works drivers Darren Turner (GBR), Stefan Mücke (D) and Adrian Fernandez (MX) will crew the lead Vantage GTE in the GTE Pro category, while Aston Martin Racing’s long-established partner team Young Driver AMR will join forces with the factory outfit to run the second car in the GTE Am class.
The factory’s partnership with Young Driver AMR has proven highly successful in the past; six outright race wins in the fiercely competitive FIA GT1 World Championship since 2010 serves to highlight just how formidable the association has been, while the driver pairing of Turner and Mücke finished a close second in the Drivers’ standings of the same series in 2011 under Young Driver AMR’s guidance.
The decision to incorporate Young Driver AMR into the factory team for Le Mans gives 26-year-old Christoffer Nygaard the opportunity to prove his talent at sportscar racing’s highest level. 2009 Le Mans class winner Kristian Poulsen and five-time Le Mans competitor Allan Simonsen, himself a former Aston Martin racer, complete the all-Danish driver line-up for the second Vantage GTE.
John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing team principal, said: “When we last competed in the GT category at Le Mans, we dominated our class for two consecutive years in 2007 and 2008. Aston Martin Racing has long been a force to be reckoned with in GT motorsport, so we’ve set ourselves typically high targets for Le Mans this year. We’re confident that our GTE Pro crew can score a strong result following its podium at the 12 Hours of Sebring in the WEC and we’re expecting Nygaard, Poulsen and Simonsen to finish on the GTE Am podium at the very least.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the Danish trio into the team. Upwards of 50,000 race fans make the pilgrimage from Denmark to Le Mans each year and I hope they will cheer us on throughout the 24 hours. Our partnership with Young Driver AMR is one of our most valued so to be teaming up for the world’s most famous race is very exciting indeed.
“The GTE Am category is important to us because we want to show what our partner teams will be able to achieve with the Aston Martin Vantage GTE from 2013 onwards. The car has already shown considerable promise and we’ll continue to improve it during our forthcoming WEC and ALMS outings.”
The factory team’s preparations for endurance racing’s crowning event will continue at the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) qualifier at Long Beach, California, this weekend, followed by the second FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) round at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on 5 May. Aston Martin Racing will also compete in the ALMS qualifier at Laguna Seca on 12 May and attend the official Le Mans test on 3 June in preparation for the celebrated 24-hour race. The team’s return to the GT class at Le Mans coincides with the Aston Martin Festival, which will witness up to 50 of the marque’s competition cars racing at La Sarthe on the morning of the 24-hour epic in an exclusive 45-minute race.
Young Driver AMR will continue its partnership with the factory as it contests the thriving ADAC GT Masters series in Germany with a pair of V12-powered Vantage GT3s.