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  3. Aston Martin targets more history with Vantage as 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship begins at Sebring

Aston Martin targets more history with Vantage as 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship begins at Sebring

15 Mar 2023

Aston Martin’s multiple championship-winning Vantage begins the defence of its FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) LMGTE Am class title this Friday (17 March) when the 2023 season kicks off with the 1000 Miles of Sebring in Florida. Reigning GT class champion TF Sport, along with fellow Aston Martin Racing partner teams NorthWest AMR and D’station Racing, will contest the 8-Hour event with a trio of Aston Martin Vantage GTEs.

TF Sport brings an exciting new line-up of Aston Martin champions

TF Sport brings an exciting new line-up of Aston Martin champions

Having won its long-coveted GTE Am title after two years finishing runner-up, TF Sport brings an exciting new line-up of Aston Martin champions to the #23 ORT by TF Vantage GTE. Omani driver Ahmad Al Harthy (2017 and ’19 GT World Challenge Endurance Pro-Am champion) and American Michael Dinan (2020 double GT4 America champion) join Irish works star Charlie Eastwood (2019 GT World Challenge Endurance Pro-Am champion) to present a formidable defence of the team’s crown.

Paul Dalla Lana back on track

Paul Dalla Lana back on track

Paul Dalla Lana (CDN) returns with his NorthWest AMR team for his ninth full WEC season as the most experienced Aston Martin driver in the field – having started every WEC round since 2013. The 2017 GTE Am world champion remains the most decorated ‘Bronze’-rated entrant with 17 class victories, the most recent of which came at Sebring last year. He is again joined by two-time FIA WEC GTE Pro world champion Nicki Thiim (DEN) and new team signing, the ‘Silver’-rated Axcil Jefferies (ZWE).

Japanese team D'station Racing returns for its third season in WEC

Japanese team D'station Racing returns for its third season in WEC

Japanese team D'station Racing returns for its third season in WEC alongside Aston Martin with its dark green Vantage GTE. The Fuji-based squad, which receives assistance from TF Sport, has shown great potential recording podiums in each of the past two seasons, and is looking to go further in 2023. Team-owner Satoshi Hoshino (JPN), will be joined by regular co-driver Tomonobu Fujii (JPN) and promising rookie Casper Stevenson (GBR).

Vantage heads into an extended 2023 FIA WEC season with two GT world titles

Vantage heads into an extended 2023 FIA WEC season with two GT world titles

Vantage heads into an extended 2023 FIA WEC season with two GT world titles from the past three campaigns, but it will need to be on its best game to bring home a third in a packed 14-car field featuring strong competition from Corvette, Porsche and Ferrari, particularly as the LMGTE Am class now constitutes the only GT competition within the WEC. Moreover, the season will be longer this year thanks to the addition of the 6 Hours of Portimão in Portugal on 16 April, which runs before the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) race on 29 April. The centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA) takes place on 10-11 June, followed by the 6 Hours of Monza (ITA) on 9 July, the 6 Hours of Fuji (JPN) on 10 September and the now traditional 8-Hour finale taking place in Bahrain on 4 November.

The world championship opener forms one half of a mouth-watering endurance racing double-bill this weekend as the venue also plays host to the 71st running of the world-famous Sebring 12 Hours – round two of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – on Saturday. Hot off the back of its maiden class win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona with the Heart of Racing (HoR) team, Aston Martin aims to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its first Sebring class victory (racing a DB3 driven by Reg Parnell and George Abecassis), with an inaugural 12-Hour class success for the current Vantage.

In fact, the Sebring 12 Hours is one of the few endurance classics Vantage – derived from Aston Martin’s critically-acclaimed road car, sharing the same aluminium body-frame and a specially tuned version of the four-litre V8 turbo-charged production engine – has left to conquer. In all its variants (GTE, GT3 and GT4), Vantage has proved to be phenomenally successful, and is currently the reigning Rolex 24 at Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner as well as defending champion in the GT Am class of both the world’s leading endurance series – the FIA WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

That’s an accolade that works driver and reigning LMGTE Am world champion Marco Sørensen is also pursuing. The Dane, who won his class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June, was part of the victorious Heart of Racing crew, alongside Darren Turner (GBR), Ian James (GBR) and Roman De Angelis (CDN) at Daytona. He once again share the #27 GTD Vantage with team principal James and IMSA champion De Angelis at Sebring.

Works driver Ross Gunn (GBR), Alex Ribeiras (ESP) and David Pittard (GBR), were long-time race leaders in the #23 GTD Pro class Vantage during the Rolex 24, and they hope to carry this form into Sebring and get their IMSA title challenge on track before the early-season endurance races are done with.

Magnus Racing, with the #44 Aston Martin Vantage, whose driver crew of John Potter (USA), Andy Lally (USA), Spencer Pumpelly (USA) and guest star Nicki Thiim (DEN) finished second in GTD and third GT car home at the Rolex 24, return for Sebring as part of their endurance race 2023 campaign. With two second places in the bag since switching to Vantage in 2022, the team is chasing its first Aston Martin race win in Florida.

Huw Tasker, AMR Head of Partner Racing, said: “It’s been a tremendous start to the season for Vantage in the US. An outstanding showing for the Vantage GT3 at the Rolex 24, was followed up by a clean sweep of poles and wins at St Petersburg for the Vantage GT4 in the GT America series. Now it’s the GTE’s turn to show its class as we look to defend its championship-winning pedigree. Across WEC and IMSA we have five world-class partner teams all capable of winning with Vantage, and we’ll do all we can to support them in this endeavour on an amazing weekend of endurance racing.”

Race schedule

Race schedule

Official practice for the WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring begins on Wednesday 15th March at 1055 EST, with the race beginning at noon on Friday. Follow details of the event via the official WEC website and App. The Sebring 12 Hours begins with free practice at 1010 on Thursday with the race starting at 1010 EST on Saturday. 

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ASTON MARTIN VALKYRIE AMR-LMH HYPERCAR HITS THE TRACK

24 Jul 2024
ASTON MARTIN VALKYRIE AMR-LMH HYPERCAR HITS THE TRACK

The new Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR-LMH has hit the track for the first time, as Aston Martin with The Heart of Racing begins a comprehensive testing programme ahead of the British ultra-luxury sportscar brand’s bid to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright next year and for the first time since 1959.

The new Hypercar, developed by Aston Martin Performance Technologies and works team The Heart of Racing, completed a shakedown and initial evaluation testing in the UK this week, The car was driven by Aston Martin High Performance development driver Darren Turner (GBR), The Heart of Racing’s Mario Farnbacher (DEU) and Harry Tincknell (GBR), who won the LMGTE class of the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans with Aston Martin.

Aston Martin with The Heart of Racing will now commence a full development schedule to prepare the car ahead of FIA homologation in the autumn and its competitive debut in early 2025. The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR-LMH is the first racing car to be built to Hypercar regulations to contest both the FIA World Endurance Championship [WEC] and the US-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship [IMSA] simultaneously.

The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR-LMH is unique in the top Hypercar class of global endurance motorsport in that it is the only one among its contemporaries to derive its roots from an existing production-based extreme performance car – Aston Martin Valkyrie, the ultimate hypercar. Works team The Heart of Racing will enter two Valkyrie AMR-LMH contenders in WEC and a single car in IMSA in 2025.

Adam Carter, Aston Martin Head of Endurance Motorsport, said: “The Valkyrie AMR-LMH sets its own standard as a thoroughbred endurance competition car. It is a pure, leading edge racing machine, and while it is very early in the testing cycle, from what we have witnessed so far, we are satisfied that it is achieving the targets and criteria we have set out for it to accomplish.”

10 Fastest Cars at This Year's Goodwood Festival of Speed

23 Jul 2024
10 Fastest Cars at This Year's Goodwood Festival of Speed

The last day of the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed was nothing short of spectacular. Over the five-day event, hundreds of vehicles, ranging from turn-of-the-century machines to modern hypercars, took on the iconic 1.16-mile hill climb. This year, the top 10 fastest cars showcased a thrilling mix of vintage Formula One racers and cutting-edge sports cars. Some were veterans of the hill climb, while others made their debut in style. Let's dive into the details of the 10 fastest cars at this year's event.

Nissan Formula E Team ready to take on Season 10 finale in London

19 Jul 2024
Nissan Formula E Team ready to take on Season 10 finale in London

Nissan Formula E Team is set to face the ExCel London Circuit in Rounds 15 and 16 of the 2023/24 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the final two races of the campaign. The squad currently sits fifth in the Teams’ Championship, and is still in the battle for third as Season 10 reaches its close.