Aston Martin Racing’s works team will contest Daytona 24 Hours this weekend (24 January) with long-standing drivers Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (DE), Pedro Lamy (PT) and Paul Dalla Lana (CA) and new-comer to the team Mathais Lauda (AT), in the Gulf-liveried V8 Vantage GTE.

In last weekend’s ROAR before 24 – the Daytona 24 Hours official test session – the team started strongly, when it’s #98 Aston Martin went fastest in practice one, beating off competition from Porsche, Ferrari and Corvette. After eight sessions, of which it topped half, the team’s combined time placed it second fastest overall.

Lamy, who set the fastest lap in practice one commented: “Practice went very well and we were all pleased with our progress throughout the weekend. The Vantage GTE has proven itself to be one of the best GT cars in the world so we are pleased to be racing it in America at Daytona 24 Hours.”

The race, the opening round of the Tudor United Sports Car Championship (TUSCC), is also the first round of the National American Endurance Championship (NAEC). The NAEC comprises of four TUSCC endurances races to form a separate series.

“Like the TUSCC, the NAEC is very attractive to us as a manufacturer,” said Aston Martin Racing’s Team Principal John Gaw. “We are focused on getting a good result in Daytona and then we can look at plans for the rest of the year. We certainly have one of the strongest driver line-ups on the grid this weekend; our four pre-existing drivers are all very experienced in the car and we’re looking forward to seeing how Mathais performs.”

Lauda, son of three-time F1 World Champion Niki Lauda, is best known for his career in GP2 and, more recently, DTM, but this is his first move into GT racing.

“We have a strong line-up for Daytona,” said Turner who now enters his 11th year with Aston Martin Racing. “There have been a few rule changes since the last time we raced here. We can now run our low downforce ‘Le Mans’ set up, which will make us more competitive. It’s always a fun event – everyone is itching to get back into their race cars after the Christmas break so let’s hope we can come away from Daytona with a good result to start the year off with.”

It is also the first race of the 2015 season for Aston Martin Racing’s North American partner team TRG-AMR. The California-based team will run a pair of V12 Vantage GT3s in the 24-hour race, in a bid to take GTD-class honours.

Christina Nielsen (DN), driver in the #007 Vantage GT3, commented: “The ROAR is when the real fun of the season begins. We are heading there with a great car, a great team, and we collectively have one goal in mind – winning the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona!”

The race, first held in 1962, takes place on the 5.73km-long Daytona International Speedway course in Daytona Beach, Florida. The 2015 Daytona 24 Hours starts at 14:10 local time on Saturday 24 January.