Finally - the WEC gets back on track this weekend

Friday, March 08, 2019

After an interlude between races that has felt like an entire season in itself, its great to think that the World Endurance Championship gets back on track for the first time in 2019 this weekend with an all important two day test at the Sebring race track in Florida.

With over three months since the last round of this transitional year 'Super Season' back with the 6Hrs of Shanghai back in mid November, for many teams it has been difficult finding something productive for their team and their drivers to do over for the winter months - not so at Aston Martin Racing.

For the many engineers and technical staff that make up AMR's factory WEC team, their has of course been the small issue of finalising and then starting to build the whole plethora of new 2019 variant Vantage GT3 and GT4 race cars for their customer teams in time for their 2019 season that (for most) will start in about a months time.

Then the same could be applied to their drivers but with only some off the greater AMR team's eleven drivers only finding occasional racing mileage over the winter (mainly at the Gulf 12hrs in December) and more recently with GT3/GT4 testing duties both in the UK and in Europe.

With the WEC circus going to the Florida circuit for their first time as having previously raced at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, the series organisers have permitted this two day official test because many teams have never visited the circuit before but mainly because of the long interval between the start of the 1000 Miles of Sebring later this month and the previous round in China last year. With the WEC sharing the race weekend with the corresponding IMSA event, race organisers obviously want to give a good showing of their product in front of a more knowledgable American audience.

For the two factory GTE Pro cars and the GTE Am car of Paul Dalla Lana that they also support, this week will be the first time that their engineers will have seen their cars since they were packed away after their GTE Pro class race winning success in China. For fellow GTE Am team, TF Sport, they did elect to return the car back to base in the UK after China so that necessary chassis repairs could be made and verified before packing the car away again ready for its transatlantic crossing to Florida.

All four AMR cars are scheduled to test with a full driver contingent except for the #97 GTE Pro car that still figures only Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn after third driver Jonny Adam was again 're-allocated' back to the #90 TF Sport customer car of Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood from now to perhaps the end of the season at Le Mans in June. Darren Turner also returns to the #95 car of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim for both the test and the race although he suggests that his involvement in the race may be limited to just one or two stints.

Who or if a third driver will be placed into the 'spare' seat of the #97 car for the race remains to be seen.

The #98 GTE Am car of Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy remains unchanged and track ready after their recent GTD/GT3 exploits at the Daytona 24 and Bathurst 12hrs earlier this year.

In the ongoing WEC Championship standings, the #95 remains the highest place AMR car in P5 but some distance behind the leading Porsche crew but in GTE Am the #98 and #90 cars are well placed in P2 and P3 respectively behind the class leading Project 1 Porsche after the then leading Dempsey Proton Porsche's lost their points tally due to their fuel flow antics in the Far East.

Photo credits - AMR / WEC

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