Aston Martin reunites Thiim, Sorensen for Spa 24 Hours
Reigning FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro title winners Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen will contest this year's Spa 24 Hours in an all-factory Aston Martin driver line-up.
The Danish duo will race in the blue riband round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup on July 31-August 1 along with fellow works driver Ross Gunn at the wheel of an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 fielded under the Garage 59 banner.
The Belgian enduro will be Thiim and Sorensen's first race together since Aston Martin axed its factory assault on the WEC at the end of a 2019/20 campaign in which it also claimed the GTE manufacturers' crown.
The Garage 59 customer team is collaborating with the Aston Martin Racing works set-up to run the Pro class entry alongside its pair of regular GTWCE cars, which take part in the Silver and Pro-Am Cup categories.
AMR managing director John Gaw told Motorsport.com: "We were definitely pushing hard to do it and were looking for a partner. We were talking to others, but it made sense to do it with Garage 59 because it's already competing in the series.
"Running a Pro car with works drivers at Spa is more evidence of AMR’s evolution from a factory programme to a fully-integrated customer operation that has the ability to support its customers not just with drivers, but also personnel, technical back-up and world championship- winning experience."
Gaw confirmed that the car raced by Thiim, Sorensen and Gunn will be loaned to Garage 59 by AMR, but stressed that "like all the teams racing at Spa with Aston it will be receiving help and support from us in all areas".
Thiim said he was "happy to be returning to contest one of the biggest GT3 races on the planet" with Aston Martin.
Sorensen added: “I'm really looking forward to going racing again at Spa. To have the shot at an overall win in one of the big GT endurance races is a great opportunity, so I have to say thanks to Garage 59 and Aston Martin.
"With Ross joining the ‘Dane Train’ we make a pretty strong line-up and the Vantage definitely has the potential to fight at the front."
Aston Martin has never managed to finish in the top six at the Spa enduro, which is now also a round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, since the start of the GT3 era in 2011. Its best result came in 2011, when the French Hexis team finished eighth with the DBRS9.
Gaw didn't rule out further high-level collaborations between AMR and its customers in the future, adding: "We have a lot of resources that we can offer teams and there are other big GT3 races out there."
He suggested that there could be "further announcements through the summer".
Garage 59's regular GTWCE entries will be raced by their full-season driver line-ups at Spa. Reigning class champions Chris Goodwin and Alexander West are driving the Pro-Am car with Aston factory driver Jonny Adam. The Silver Cup car is raced by AMR Academy graduate Valentin Hasse-Clot, Alex MacDowall and Nicolai Kjaergaard.
A fourth driver will be named to join each combination at a later date.
GPX Porsche grabs Paul Ricard GT World Challenge win
Ilott in "very good position" should F1 opportunity arise
Nissan trialled a quartet of young SUPER GT drivers in GT500 machinery on Monday at Fuji Speedway as it seeks to finalise its 2023 driver line-ups.
The American Legion has agreed terms with Chip Ganassi Racing to continue sponsorship in its IndyCar program and in backing development driver Kyffin Simpson.
The organiser of Formula 1's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Extreme E, Dakar and Formula E races alongside a 2023 MotoGP race and a soon to be announced WRC round, has won Motorsport Promoter of the Year at the Autosport Awards.