Last November, Aston Martin Racing released their second-generation of the Vantage GT that they would take racing for 2018.
Ahead of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship, the British team have already conducted over 20,000km of testing.
The team travelled to Andalucia and Navarra prior to Christmas, where they achieved the majority of their mileage total.
Visiting the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi and Aragon in 2018, the team have made significant progress on getting to know their new challenger.
Dan Sayers, technical director for Aston Martin racing, is happy with the testing that has been completed so far. He told Autosport, “So far testing has gone really well and we have completed in excess of 20,000km [12,427 miles].
“We are really pushing the miles to ensure reliability; that’s important with the Le Mans 24 Hours being the second race of the season.
“The testing hasn’t been without its niggles, but the car has been pretty good from the first run and I don’t think we are going to have any issues when we get to Spa [in May] for the first race.”
In its first phase of pre-season, Aston Martin focused on the reliability of their new car. With the Vantage fairing well in those tests, they have now moved onto their second phase of testing, which focuses more on the performance of the car.
Aston Martin had a strong start to the WEC season last year, achieving a Pro-class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was unable to keep up with the other teams in the second half of the year.
“Initially it was all about reliability and we’ve been happy with the mileage we have done, which included a 30-hour run at Navarra last year,” explained Sayers.
“After Christmas, we moved onto performance work at Abu Dhabi, which was our first real development test with Michelin.
“Now we are getting under the skin of all the little details and preparing for all the strategies that we require over a race weekend.”
The two-week test that the team conducted at Aragon included a Michelin tyre development test. The first week was deemed positive, so in the second week, Aston Martin included a shakedown of their two race cars – along with continuing to conduct tests on their dedicated test car and partake in Michelin’s programme.
The race team continue their testing programme this week at the Algarve circuit.
Looking ahead to this season, Sayers was very cautious not to make any predictions. Balance of Performance was something that Aston claimed hampered them in the latter stages of their 2017 campaign, and as that has yet to be released for the new car, Aston are wary of the BoP effect. “It will all depend on the FIA’s calculations, so we are just trying to do everything within our power to be as prepared as possible for Spa,” Sayers added.
Aston Martin Racing is ready to take on the 2018/19 WEC season and are hoping to have their two cars in a more competitive position for the championship. They have retained their four drivers from last year, but have gone with the option of having six full-season drivers for the ‘Super Season’, rather than just drafting the extra drivers in for Le Mans. The team will decide whether to stick with three-driver line-ups after the blue-ribboned event.
Running the same car numbers as last year, Aston drivers Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen remain together in the #95 and are joined by fellow Aston Martin factory driver Darren Turner. Jonny Adam remains in the Le Mans-winning #97 and is joined by Alex Lynn, coming to LM GTE Pro from racing in LMP2 last season, and fomer BMW factory driver Maxime Martin.