Image credit: Aston Martin Racing.
Following the ACO/FIA press conference at the start of the month we already knew Aston’s plans for 2016 show a reduced effort in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) of two Pro cars (with Richie Stanaway lead driver for the #97 V8 Vantage GTE and Niki Thiim returning after a brief absence to lead car #95) and a single full-season Am entry, the #98 ‘customer’ car ofPaul Dalla Lana (again partnered with the uber-experienced Pedro Lamy and Austrian Mathias Lauda).
In addition to this there will be a factory-backed effort for Andrew Howard’s customer Beechdean Vantage GTE (the #99 car) running a full-season ELMS program and a 24 Hour Le Mans entry.
Today however, the team filled in the gaps. First off the press was Paul Howarth announced as the new Team Principal, followed by this year’s liveries for the Vantage V8 GTEs.
The more astute of you will also notice a move from Gulf Oil sponsorship to TOTAL and a change of rubber too from Michelin to Dunlop.
Following the announcement during 2015 that Darren Turner had been retained by Aston Martin on an ‘indefinite’ basis it is of course no surprise to see his name announced to pilot the #95 car along with Niki Thiim and Marco_sorensen.
“I’m excited to be joining the Danes in #95,” said Turner. “I’ve raced against both of them so I know how fast they are.”
“There is a really good feeling in the team at the moment. It will be a refreshed and reinvigorated Aston Martin Racing team that you will see at Silverstone in April.”
Additionally, none of us here were surprised to see fan-friendly Brazilian racer Fernando Rees again set to pilot the #97 GTE Pro in the WEC along with last year’s team mate Richie Stanaway and 2015 British GT Champion Jonny Adam, making arguably one of the strongest driver lineups in GTE Pro.
Following the announcement earlier in the week of the partnership with Binary trading company IQ, the team has also released images of the V12 GT3 that will compete in theNürburgring 24 hour race and the IQ brand will also appear on the WEC cars liveries.
Aston Martin will again field two V12 Vantage GT3s in the Nürburgring 24hrs’ top-tier SP9 class. The new 2016 V12 Vantage GT3, now also equipped with Dunlop rubber.
The WEC #97 team of Richie Stanaway, Fernando Rees and Jonny Adam will be joined by WEC Am driver Mathias Lauda to pilot the #006 for the 24 Hour Nurburgring.