World championship-leading Aston Martin Vantage sets the standard ahead of Spa-Francorchamps return
- Aston Martin Vantage GTE returns to WEC action in the 6 Hours of Spa
- Three Vantages seek to claim first GTE Am Spa-Francorchamps victory
- NorthWest AMR aims to extend championship lead as it resumes GTE Am class championship battle with TF Sport
- TF Sport continues build-up to Nurbürgring 24 Hours with Nordschleife qualifying races
Tuesday, 3 May, 2022, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. The Aston Martin Vantage GTE returns to action in the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship [WEC] in the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps this weekend, having made a winning start to its GTE-Am class campaign with the Sebring 1000 Miles (in the USA), back in March.
Paul Dalla Lana (CDN) and his NorthWest AMR team, along with double world champion Nicki Thiim (DEN) and David Pittard (GBR), head to the famous Belgian venue with a 10-point lead in the championship, having claimed victory in the opening 8-Hour race from the class pole position. The crew carries 30kg of success ballast into the Spa weekend as Dalla Lana seeks a fifth win (to add to those from 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) from his tenth visit to the track.
The trio were chased home in Florida by TF Sport’s #33 Vantage GTE, driven by Sebring class pole-winner Ben Keating (USA), double world champion Marco Sørensen (DEN) and Florian Lattore (FRA) who will be replaced at Spa by the team’s European Le Mans Series charge Henrique Chaves (POR). They will have an additional 20kg of success ballast to race with.
The Aston Martin team running without ballast is
the TF Sport-assisted D’station Racing, as the Japanese squad returns to the
scene of its WEC debut looking to build on the encouraging sixth place recorded
in Sebring. Satoshi Hoshino (JPN) will be joined by regular co-driver Tomonobu
Fujii (JPN) and exciting young prospect Charlie Fagg (GBR).
The Vantage GTE, introduced in 2018, recorded its second victory at WEC level during its debut campaign, in the penultimate round of the WEC Super-Season at Spa-Francorchamps in 2019, with future Le Mans GTE Pro class winners Maxime Martin (BEL) and Alex Lynn (GBR). While always competitive in GTE Am however, the current generation Vantage has yet to record a win in the class at Spa.
Embarking on its fourth world championship season, Vantage remains as formidable a title contender as ever. Powered by a race-developed version of the four-litre, twin-turbo-charged V8 engine found in the road car from which it derives, this prototype version of the GT car was all-conquering in the WEC GTE Pro category during the 2019/2020 season. It recorded five wins from eight races, including both Pro and Am classes at the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans, the car took Aston Martin to the FIA GT Manufacturers’ World Championship title and carried Thiim and Sørensen to the drivers’ crown. In total it has claimed 12 class victories so far in WEC.
The Vantage GT3 also fires into action this weekend as TF Sport returns to the Nürburgring Nordschleife in its quest to conquer the ADAC TotalEnergies 24h Nürburgring. With its 24h driver line-up of Martin, Pittard, Sørensen and Thiim all competitively engaged elsewhere this weekend, works drivers Charlie Eastwood (IRL) and Valentin Hasse-Clot (FRA) will pilot the car for the two 3-Hour qualifying races that take place on Saturday and Sunday at the German track.
Huw Tasker, Head of AMR Partner Racing, said: “It’s a crucial weekend for Aston Martin Racing. Our trio of WEC GTEs enjoyed an excellent start to the season, but it’s important to keep the momentum rolling as we look ahead to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. Our partners NorthWest AMR, TF Sport and D’station Racing are looking to consolidate strong results from Sebring and take the maximum points possible from Spa, taking into account the success penalties from the opening round. TF Sport is on double duty this weekend – but has already proved more than capable of taming the Nürburgring Nordschleife. A creditable seventh on its debut during the Nürburgring Langstrecken Serie Round 3 last month is a strong platform to build from. This weekend gives the team the opportunity to gather more vital data with the 24h taking place at the end of the month.”
Official practice for the WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps begins on Wednesday 4th May at 1530 CET, with the race beginning at 1300 on Saturday. Follow details of the event via the official WEC website and App. Meanwhile, official qualifying for the ADAC 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers begins at 1212 CET on Friday, 7th May, with the first race starting at 1830 on Saturday. Go to the official Nürburgring website for more details.