Gaydon - Aston Martin Racing has announced a revised driver line-up for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Six Hours of Fuji, which takes place next weekend (20 October), as the team pushes for world titles in both the GTE Pro and GTE Am classes as well as the overall manufacturers' title.
In the Gulf-liveried #97 Vantage GTE, regulars Darren Turner (GB) and Stefan Mücke (DE) will be joined by French GT driver and Japanese Super GT Series star Fred Makowiecki, who has qualified on pole for all three of his WEC races with Aston Martin Racing this year and has impressed with his pace and consistency at each round.
“Yes, there’s no doubting Fred is quick, but we’ve added him to this car because he has an incredible ability to manage tyres,” explained team principal John Gaw. “Last year in Fuji we struggled because of the relatively low grip track surface. We believe that adding Fred to the formidable force of Darren and Stefan will make the #97 very competitive.”
In the #98, Canadian Paul Dalla Lana will sit this round out due to business commitments, but Pedro Lamy (PT) and Richie Stanaway (NZ) will race together once again in the Northwest-liveried car. The pair have taken pole for the last two rounds of the championship and they are hoping to convert this into a win this weekend.
“We’ve had some great qualifying sessions but then had bad luck in the races,” comments Stanaway. “This race, we go there focused and believe this is our chance to come away with a really strong result. To win a WEC race in my first year of GT racing would be a dream come true but we’re up against stiff competition, not least from our team-mates in #97.
“It’s a shame to be racing without Paul. We’ve become a solid team in the last few rounds. Pedro and I will go out there to get the best result we can for him; afterall, he and his business, NorthWest. have enabled us to be here.”
In the GTE Am class, Bruno Senna (BR) will join the #95 Young Driver Vantage GTE, as changes to regulations requires that from Fuji onwards there be three drivers per car in the GTE Am class. The Brazilian F1 star, who has impressed with his transition into GT racing this year, opted to step in and support the team when it was announced that Nicki Thiim couldn’t make the race in Japan.
“There was an option of joining Richie and Pedro in the #98 car and that would have been incredible,” explains Senna. “However, the #95 needed another driver just for this round as Nicki couldn’t make it. They have had a tough year so I wanted to step in and do whatever I can to help them get the race win that they so deserve and hopefully help them to become world champions.”
In the final of the four Vantage GTEs, the #96, Roald Goethe will once again miss out due to work commitments and, because of the new three-driver per car regulation, Aston Martin Racing reserve driver Jonny Adam will step in to support Jamie Campbell-Walter and Stuart Hall to make an all-British line-up. The trio will be looking to secure a hat-trick of wins for the car following victory at São Paulo and Austin.
Adam, who drove the Beechdean AMR V12 Vantage GT3 to British GT Championship victory last weekend comments: “I was announced as an Aston Martin Racing works driver earlier this year and this has so far consisted of testing support. To get a chance to prove myself in a WEC race is a fantastic opportunity and to be driving alongside Stuart and Jamie, who have been consistently good all year, is exciting.
"To help Andrew Howard win the 2013 British GT Championship in a V12 Vantage GT3 last week and then to drive a works team Vantage GTE in the WEC next week is something I could have only dreamed of earlier this year.”
Aston Martin Racing