Richie ready to go the distance
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KIWI CONFIRMS PLACE ON ASTON MARTIN RACING ROSTER, WRITES COLIN SMITH
Young Tauranga racing driver Richie Stanaway will again spend a large chunk of his year behind the wheel of a factory Aston Martin endurance racer.
Stanaway, 24, has been confirmed on the driver roster for Aston Martin Racing’s GTE-Pro campaign in the nine-round FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
He will also drive a Vantage V12 GT3 car at the Nurburgring 24 Hours in May and has already started his season with a fourth in class at the Daytona 24 Hours last month.
Stanaway first drove for Aston Martin Racing during 2013 and now has a long term contract with the team. He contested seven of the eight WEC rounds in 2015 — missing one event due to a clashing GP2 commitment.
He was part of the GTE-Pro winning crew at the Spa-Francorchamps WEC event and put Aston Martin on the GTE-Pro pole position at Le Mans last year, also setting the fastest race lap by any driver in the GTE categories.
The 2016 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Brazilian driver Fernando Rees will again team with Stanaway and the highly-rated Scotsman Jonny Adam completes the driver squad for the number 97 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE.
“After a strong start to 2016 placing fourth at the Daytona 24hrs, we’re all feeling confident going into 2016,” said Stanaway.
“It’s great to partner Fernando again and to also have Jonny permanently in the car. I’m sure he’ll make a great addition.”
Aston Martin Racing will also field Darren Turner (GB) and Danes Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorenson in its number 95 GTE-Pro entry and field a GTE-Am entry for Paul Dalla Lana (Canada), Mathias Lauda (Austria) and Pedro Lamy (Portugal).
A heavily revised V8 Vantage GTE was revealed last week, taking advantage of a raft of regulation changes for 2016 — including greater aerodynamic freedom which sees the car fitted with a distinct rear diffuser.
A competitive WEC GTE-Pro battle is forecast with new Ford GT and Ferrari 488 challengers while Corvette Racing and Porsche will run two car factory efforts at Le Mans.
Significant changes for Aston Martin Racing see Total replacing Gulf as a key sponsor and partner, while a move to Dunlop rubber will bring introduce competition to the GTE category where rivals Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and Corvette all race on Michelin.
For the Nurburgring 24 Hours (May 28-29) Aston Martin Racing will run a pair of Vantage V12 GT3 cars with Lauda joining Stanaway, Rees and Adam while Lamy joins the trio of Turner, Thiim and Sorenson.
It will the fourth year Aston Martin that has chased success in the top-tier SP9 class of the Nurburgring 24 Hours with the team again fielding two V12 Vantage GT3s — also equipped with Dunlop rubber.
“It’s an important point in time for the brand with the upcoming launch of DB11 and the 2016 motorsport season is an equally exciting prospect,” said David King, Aston Martin’s Head of Global Motorsports.
“Motorsport is a key part of Aston Martin’s DNA and it’s vital that we’re represented by such a strong line-up. We’re very much looking forward to our home race at Silverstone and the first opportunity to see the 2016 V8 Vantage GTE in competitive action.”
The 2016 season kicks off with the WEC Prologue test at Circuit Paul Ricard in France on March 25-26. The opening round, the Six Hours of Silverstone, takes place on April 17.
2016 FIA World Endurance Championship
Six Hours of Silverstone: April 17
Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps: May 7
24 Hours of Le Mans: June 18-19
Six Hours of Nurburgring: July 24
Six Hours of Mexico City: September 4
Six Hours of Circuit of the Americas: September 17
Six Hours of Fuji: October 16
Six Hours of Shanghai: November 6
Six Hours of Bahrain: November 19