Aston Martin Racing will begin its sportscar season with a works entry for the Rolex 24 at Daytona (January 24th-25th).
The famous British manufacturer will once again enter the highly competitive GTLM class with a V8 Vantage GTE driven by World Endurance Championship regulars Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke, Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana, with 33 year old Mathias Lauda making his works team debut.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is the first major North American endurance race of the season, doubling up as both the opening round of the Tudor United Sportscar Championship (TUSCC) and the four-round North American Endurance Cup (NAEC).
“Like the TUSCC, the NAEC is very attractive to us as a manufacturer,” said Aston Martin Racing 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.”
Turner, Mücke, Lamy and Dalla Lana all competed for Aston Martin Racing at Daytona last year, finishing 44th overall. Lauda, meanwhile, will be making his Rolex 24 debut this weekend, having recently signed a deal to drive for the British manufacturer in the FIA WEC next season.
Despite being a newcomer, Lauda was given plenty of time to acquaint himself with the V8 Vantage GTE at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 test from January 3rd-5th. The team enjoyed a strong weekend, finishing as the second fastest team overall behind fellow works outfit Porsche North America. Lamy, whose 1.44.414 laptime saw him top the GTLM timesheet in first practice, was confident that the team could battle for class honours in the race.
“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,” Lamy said.
Aside from Aston Martin Racing’s factory effort, two customer cars will be vying to achieve success in the GT Daytona category. Affiliate team TRG-AMR will run two Aston Martin Vantage GT3s, each powered by a V12 engine. Christina Nielsen, who drove a GTD Porsche in the race last year, will pilot the #007 machine.
“The ROAR is when the real fun of the season begins,” said Nielsen. “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 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona will begin at 14:10 local time on January 24th (Saturday).