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Aston Martin Racing’s 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) programme got off to a near perfect start at the Six Hours of Silverstone today (14 April) with a double victory in the GT class.
The #97 V8-powered Vantage GTE, driven by Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D) and Bruno Senna (BR), finished in first place in the GT Pro category, while the #95 car of Danish trio Christoffer Nygaard, Kristian Poulsen and Allan Simonsen triumphed in the GT Am class.
At Aston Martin Racing’s home round of the WEC in Northamptonshire, UK, Pedro Lamy (PT), Paul Dalla Lana (CN) and Frédéric Makowiecki (FR) also put in an impressive performance with third position in the #99 car in GT Pro, crossing the line a single lap behind the #97 machine and within 13 seconds of the second-placed car after six hours.
The fourth Gulf-liveried Aston Martin, the #96 car of Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB), Roald Goethe (D) and Stuart Hall (GB), finished fourth in GT Am having been in contention for a podium for the entire race.
After a successful qualifying on Saturday, which saw the team secure first and second position in both GT categories, Aston Martin Racing further proved its class-leading pace by setting the fastest lap of all the GT runners; the #99 car recorded a best lap of 2:01.426 after five hours, although competitor cars were very close behind in a super-competitive category.
While celebrating a near perfect start to Aston Martin Racing’s world championship bid with a faultless lights-to-flag victory, Darren Turner said: “That was an amazing result! We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season. Stefan, Bruno and myself all pushed hard throughout what was, at times, a difficult race. However, the car was prepared perfectly with a lot of hard work and the result is a great reward for everything. Praise to our chief engineer, Dan Sayers, who has done a great job with the 2013 car and given us a package that should see us have a solid season.”
Making his WEC debut, Bruno Senna added: “I’m really happy to start my GT career with a win. It’s been great joining Aston Martin Racing and to get a pole position and win and go home from our first WEC race of the year with so many points for the championship is unbelievable. It was a tough race; we had to push hard while avoiding accidents, but my team did a great job. We must now keep pushing hard; the competition here is very, very strong.”
Allan Simonsen, speaking for the #95 GT Am-winning car, comments: “I’m very happy on behalf of the whole team. It was a big push to get us here and to start the season with points is fantastic. To do it on Aston Martin Racing’s home turf is even better; we couldn’t be happier.”
John Gaw, Team Principal at Aston Martin Racing, concluded: “Today’s outcome was better than we anticipated. We got much more than we expected out of the first race of the season; we came here aiming to score points with all four cars. This certainly bodes well for the championship.
“To do this at our home race in Aston Martin’s centenary year is extra special. I’d like to particularly thank the technicians and engineers and all others who have worked tirelessly since Shanghai to expand to this four-car effort. We look forward, as a team, to challenging for more race wins.”
The race-winning 2013-specification #97 Vantage GTE – which shares its bonded aluminium structure and basic engine and suspension architecture with Aston Martin’s sportiest road-going model, the V8 Vantage – completed 171 laps of the 3.7-mile Silverstone circuit, equating to a total race distance of more than 630 miles at an average speed of 108mph.
The FIA World Endurance Championship resumes in Belgium next month at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with the race due to start at 1430hrs (CET) on Saturday, 4 May.