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Aston Martin Racing will contest its home round of the 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship this weekend (August 24-26) at the Six Hours of Silverstone with its strongest entry to date.
The #97 V8-powered Vantage GTE, piloted by Aston Martin Racing works drivers Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D) and Adrian Fernandez (MX), will continue its GTE Pro championship campaign at the historic Northamptonshire circuit having achieved a strong third in class finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The lead car will be supported by a further two Vantage GTEs as Aston Martin Racing fields its most ambitious entry since switching its focus back onto production-derived GT racing for the start of the 2012 season.
The #98 and #99 cars, entered in the GTE Am class, will be crewed by drivers from Aston Martin Racing’s partner teams. Roald Goethe (D) and Stuart Hall (GB) of Gulf Racing will man the #98 car while British GT Championship race winners Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam of Beechdean Motorsport will team up with Strata 21’s Paul White to form an all-British driver line-up in the #99 car.
Ahead of his home race, Turner said: “I have a lot of confidence going into Silverstone that we’ve made some good steps forward since Le Mans. We’ve completed several tests since then which have all been encouraging. As the year goes on we are getting a better understanding of the Vantage GTE and its potential. It has been interesting for me to go back to our standard aero levels after the high-speed Le Mans circuit; it’s nice to have a bit of downforce back on the car!
“It’s always good to be racing at Silverstone. It really is a home race for me as I live only 10 minutes up the road - so I even get to sleep in my own bed for this one! It’s a great opportunity to invite family and friends and, coupled with the fact that Aston Martin always has a good following at Silverstone, it should be an exciting weekend."
Teammate Mücke added: “After a long summer break I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel. Silverstone is very nice to drive and it’s always a great feeling to compete at Aston Martin’s home track. I’m confident that the circuit will suit the Vantage GTE and we can fight for the race win!”
Fernandez concluded: “I always look forward to competing at Silverstone. It is a fantastic track to drive, the facility is first-class and the fans are great and really know their motor racing. Obviously, it is an important race for us being the home track of Aston Martin and we carry a lot of momentum having finished third at Le Mans. I have no doubt our Lowe's Vantage GTE will be on pace again and we will work hard for a good result.”
Aston Martin Racing Team Principal John Gaw adds: “We finished Le Mans on a real high following an almost flawless performance and a great result, and we’ve worked hard through the summer break to develop and improve the car in several areas. We’re now itching to get back to the heat of the WEC battle and we head to our home race at Silverstone with a great chance in both the Pro and the Am categories with strong and experienced driver line-ups.”
Aston Martin Racing looks forward to welcoming Roald Goethe into the factory squad for the Six Hours of Silverstone. The German driver is very familiar with Aston Martin, having contested some of endurance racing’s most iconic events – including the 24 Hours of Le Mans – in a Vantage GT2. Briton Stuart Hall, who competed with Aston Martin Racing at Le Mans in 2009 as part of its LMP1 program, will partner Goethe in the #98 Vantage GTE.
Andrew Howard and Jonny Adam will swap their Beechdean Motorsport V12 Vantage GT3 – in which they have achieved three British GT Championship podium results so far in 2012 – for the #99 Vantage GTE for the Six Hours of Silverstone, sharing the V8 racer with Paul White.
The Vantage GTE, which shares the V8 Vantage road car’s bonded aluminum structure and base engine and suspension designs, has proven its pace and durability by securing two podium finishes from the opening three WEC rounds. Since its successful Le Mans campaign, Aston Martin Racing has tested the Vantage GTE extensively to help realize its race-winning potential.