Aston Martin Racing will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in June with two LMP1 cars in the famous blue and orange colours of Gulf Oil.
Also announced today the first U.S. visit for the team, as they will compete in the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as the shorter American Le Mans Series (ALMS) round at Long Beach before returning to Europe of the opening round of the European Le Mans Series, an eight hour race at the French Paul Ricard circuit. A single car will be entered at all three events.
The team hope that these three events will give the team extra on-track experience before the the famous endurance race on June 12/13.
Familiar Aston Martin drivers, Stefan Mucke, Darren Turner, Harold Primat and Chris Buncombe (Mucke and Turner balancing LMP1 driving with Aston's new factory backed assault on the FIA GT1 World Championship) will return, but will be joined by a new name to the team.
The vastly experienced Mexican, most recently running his own Acura P2 team in the ALMS, joins the team, after weeks of reports that the deal was close to completion.
It is unknown how the driving line-ups for the individual races and cars will look, though presumably Fernandez will be in the car for Sebring and Long Beach, both tracks he has previous class wins in.
The sixth driver, for the Le Mans challenge, is expected to be announced in the coming weeks, along with the confirmation as to whether the team will contest anymore of what they describe as the “blue riband” events around the world.
The news comes after Aston Martin Racing had a successful return to the top flight of sportscar racing, finishing fourth overall at Le Mans – taking the accolade of being the top petrol engine car – and winning the class championship in the European Le Mans Series, Mucke being one of the three drivers to take the title.