Five members of Aston Martin Racing’s 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) took advantage of the team’s private test at the Portuguese Portimao track.
AMR stalwarts Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke – who will drive with team newcomer Peter Dumbreck in one of the two LMGTE Pro V8 Vantages this season – were on hand for the test, which ran through changing conditions. While Dumbreck was absent, his fellow Aston Martin Racing rookies Rob Bell, Fred Makowiecki and Bruno Senna all logged their first laps in the new car in preparation for the season ahead.
“I’ve driven the Vantage GTE before – back in 2010 – but the car I drove this weekend was much different,” said Bell. “We got the mileage that we were hoping to get and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to get to know everyone. I’ve driven with Darren before and I know Stefan and Fred, but the more time I can spend with them all, the better. I’m only racing at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the team, so time like this is priceless. My desire to drive for Aston Martin Racing this year stemmed from an ambition to win Le Mans and after this weekend I’m feeling confident.”
“We’ve had a really good test,” summarised Turner. “Although this isn’t the first time we have run the new Vantage GTE it’s the first time we’ve been able to run it in anger and put some serious mileage on the car. It does feel like a very good step forward. The team has done a great job over the winter and made some significant improvements. For me personally, it was probably as exciting to drive for the first time as the first drive of the DBR9.”
AMR managing director John Gaw said; “Despite the weather being wetter than expected, this didn’t hamper our test session. In fact, it worked out well because all the drivers drove in wet, damp and dry conditions and, in the end, we actually complete more kilometres over the two days than we had initially planned.” Turner referred to Senna’s first experinces with the car in the wet and the dark as a baptism of fire.
Gaw continued; “The car has started this year like it finished last with great pace and reliability; although, of course, we don’t know how much our competitors have also improved during the winter.”
The team will continue their testing at Road Atlanta, where they will be joined by a second GTE Vantage crewed by Billy Johnson, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy. Dane Cameron will also drive at the test.