Jan 8, 2020, 12:00 PM
BRITISH STARS STRENGTHEN ASTON MARTIN LE MANS LINE-UP
- Aston Martin signs established GTE stars for assault on French classic
- Vastly experienced Richard Westbrook joins Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen in the ‘Dane Train’
- Former Le Mans class winner Harry Tincknell teams up with Alex Lynn and Max Martin
- Signings boost prospects of securing Le Mans glory and World Endurance Championship titles
The experienced Westbrook, from Bath, joins FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro leaders Nicki Thiim (DEN) and Marco Sørensen (DEN) in the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE for Le Mans. Having raced for three separate manufacturers prior to signing with Aston Martin, Westbrook is a multiple race winner in the GTLM class of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, as well as a class winner of the Daytona 24 Hours and the Sebring 12 Hours and has twice stood on the podium at Le Mans.
“I think for anyone, racing for Aston Martin is something you can be extremely proud of but being British makes it that little bit more special,” said Westbrook. “Aston Martin Racing is leading the world championship, and they are an elite team, with the best quality engineers and mechanics all the way through. And the car is really singing on top note right now, so it’s a good time to be joining. I’m excited to be working with Nicki again, we raced together in the Nürburgring 24 Hours in 2014, and I found that we were quite similar in the way we worked and what we wanted from the car. I’ve never driven alongside Marco, but I have raced against him and I’ve only ever heard and seen good things. I know I am going to fit right in, and that is really important at a race like Le Mans.”
Tincknell, from Devon, was a class winner at Le Mans on his race debut in LMP2 back in 2014. Having enjoyed spells with three high profile manufacturers, the 2016 European Le Mans Series champion went on to score multiple wins in the GTE Pro class with Ford and outright wins in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship prototype class with Mazda, for whom he will dovetail his racing commitments this year. He joins his old friend and sparring partner Alex Lynn (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL) in the #97 Vantage GTE.
"I’m really looking forward to it," said Tincknell. "Joining Alex and Max is going to be great. I’ve raced against Alex since our karting days and we’re pretty good friends. I’ve known Max as well for a long time, so the dynamic will be good. Growing up, Aston Martin was one of the cars you would always dream about. Now I’m racing for this brand that I have been watching since I was a kid. There is a massive heritage and to be a small part of that, I have to pinch myself a little bit that it’s coming true.”
Aston Martin Racing President David King added: “Every team wants to put itself in the strongest position to be competitive for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and signing Harry and Richard is a big step in that direction. Harry is racing and winning at the sharp end of all forms of top-level endurance racing and we know his standard is high from racing against him directly in the FIA WEC for the past four years. Richard has been a proven force at the top level of GT racing for a number of years and his speed and experience is perfect for the ‘Dane Train’ at Le Mans. We had a tough time at Le Mans last year, and we are absolutely focused on recapturing the winning feeling that we last had there in 2017. The Vantage GTE has been delivering on its promise throughout the 2019/20 FIA WEC season, with two wins from the first four races putting us at the top of the championship tables at this halfway stage. It’s imperative we build on this and give ourselves the best chance of delivering in the finale where of course the points are doubled.”
The line-up of the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE Am entry, driven by Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), Darren Turner (GB) – aiming for his fourth Le Mans class victory – and Ross Gunn (GB) remains unchanged for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Thiim and Sørensen lead the FIA WEC GT Driver’s standings by 14 points, having won two out of the first four rounds in Fuji (J) and Bahrain, while Aston Martin has an 11-point lead at the top of the manufacturers’ standings. The FIA WEC returns to action at COTA on 22-23 February, while the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place on 13-14 June.
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