Team returns to a happy hunting ground for the Aston Martin Vantage
Reigning GTE Am champions focussed on re-igniting title defence
Tuesday 13 November, Shanghai International Circuit: Aston Martin Racing is looking to end 2018 on a high in this weekend’s Chinese round of the FIA World Endurance Championship – the last competitive outing for the Aston Martin Vantage GTE this year.
The new car enjoyed its strongest showing yet at Fuji Speedway, in Japan, last time out where it took the GTE Pro class pole and led one-two in damp conditions for the first hour before going on to secure its fourth double-points finish of the season. And now looking ahead to Shanghai, where an Aston Martin Racing Vantage has featured on every podium since the championship began in 2012, the team’s drivers are confident the upward trend will continue.
“I would say I am even more motivated now that we have the first pole for the car,” said Nicki Thiim, who shared the Fuji pole-winning #95 Aston Martin Vantage with fellow Dane Marco Sørensen. “The potential is being unlocked and there is so much more to come. China is a great place to go, especially the track which is a big challenge. There are lots of high speed corners that suit our new Aston Martin Vantage GTE so I’m sure we are going to be strong. If you take the average of all the GTE PRO cars it is so close now that one mistake can put you out of contention, but that’s why it is the best class in the FIA WEC.”
This race marks Maxime Martin’s first visit to China, and the Belgian, who shares the #97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE with Alex Lynn (GB) believes the tireless work of the team and its technical partners Michelin and Total is really beginning to pay dividends with the new car.
“Like in Fuji, this is my first trip to Shanghai so there is a lot to learn about the circuit, the event and the local culture,” said Martin. “It’s also the first time the Vantage GTE will have raced there so this is an exciting challenge. We showed a lot of promise in Fuji and we are really motivated to make sure we finish 2018 with a strong result. We believe Shanghai should suit our car and the team has always gone well there in the past so we are really looking forward to it.”
Aston Martin Racing Team Principal Paul Howarth added, “We unlocked more potential from the car in Fuji and maintained our strong reliability record. But we are now at the halfway point of the season and it’s vital that we maximise the points offered from Shanghai. Our focus is on maintaining this upward competitive momentum we showed in Japan and securing a podium so that we can head into the winter with a high level of confidence.”
The defending 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Am title-holders Paul Dalla Lana (C), Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda (A) have enjoyed an extraordinary run of success in China in the past. They won in 2017 and ’16, and finished second in 2015. Indeed the #98 car also won in 2014! Another podium in Fuji last time out with the evergreen Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE allowed them to close the gap to the points leaders, so a strong result in China is critical to their Super Season campaign. The similar TF Sport car driven by Salih Yoluc (TUR), Charlie Eastwood (GB) and Aston Martin Racing factory driver Jonny Adam (GB) have recorded three second places in the championship so far and must be considered a strong threat again this weekend.
The 6 Hours of Shanghai begins at 11:00 local time on Sunday, 18 November.