WEC's second visit to Spa as GTE battles head towards a conclusion

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Very nearly twelve months have now passed and yet we are only now approaching the penultimate round of this 2018-19 transitional 'Super-season' of the World Endurance Championship from Spa Francorchamps in Belgium this coming weekend.

This race date shall also represent the first anniversary of the competitive launch of the new generation Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GTE and what a year it has been too for the latest, now turbo charged AMR race car to come out of the Prodrive factory. Having entered its first race at this corresponding race last year - mechanically reliable and steady yet slower than hoped against its competitors from Porsche, Ford and Ferrari both cars went on to finish only narrowly off the podium at the first time of asking.

Next came all the pressures of its first 24 hours of Le Mans in only its second ever event with the car going on to again show off again its reliability and more simplistic running maintenance regime to secure some morevaluable points there, through to a 'character building' home event later in the year than usual at Silverstone before embarking on its first wave of overseas racing where shipping was now the preferred mode of transportation. That initially took the WEC to the Far East where in the intervening period Aston Martin Racing worked hard to improve their own 'game from within' and were rewarded with the cars first ever pole position at Fuji through to going one better next time out in Shanghai to wins its first WEC event in albeit a weather affected race.

Mid March this year saw the WEC take to the bumpy circuit of Sebring in the USA where a good result looked a distinct possibility before untimely intervention from other competitors saw both GTE Pro cars hobbled for the remainder of the race. With the race cars now finally back at the factory there remains little time to refresh each car to be ready for the first track action of the seventh round of the season that starts in just five days time although the team have been out a couple of times testing at both at Spa and Portimao with a spare chassis that they have.

Driver line ups are adjusted again within the two Pro cars with the #95 again resorting to just Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim having enjoyed the company of Darren Turner at Sebring. The #97 car of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn remains the same despite Jonny Adam now not being listed as driving in the TF Sport #90 GTE Am car either. We we visited the TF Sport team in April, team boss Tom Ferrier was hopeful that Adam would again be made available to them so we will need to find out just what exactly has changed since then.

From a mathematical point of view, the GT FIA WEC Drivers title remain open for at least the #95 car although it would really need the Porsche team (amongst others) to face something of a points disaster at Spa to take things to the wire at Le Mans. The Manufacturers title almost has Porsche written upon it already!

Finally in the realms of the GTE Pro classes comes the news that all Pro cars will be mandated to run fuel flow meters as from the Le Mans 24 test but 'recommended' at Spa! Full details can be found within this piece from Dailysportscar.com

In GTE Am things remain a little closer despite one team having been stripped of all points for the four races up to Fuji but two great results for one of their cars has that scrabbling at the heels of the two AMR GTE Am cars that presently lie in 3rd and 4th in the FIA Endurance Trophy title race.

Two bad races (not necessarily on their part) for the factory team supported #98 car of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda and the #90 TF Sport car of the (for Spa) Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and a returning Euan Hankey sees them both lose a championship place each to the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 figure 34 and 35 points respectively behind the Championship leading Project 1 Porsche so unless either Aston can get infront of that car again next weekend will determine the championship possibilities for the class at Le Mans in June.

Lets remember, the GTE Am race winning battle at Spa 2018 was very much between AMR supported #98 and the #90 TF Sport car that went down to the final sprint down to the line from the final corner - a sprint that the #98 won by just 0.2 of a second!!

Photo credits - Adrenal Media (from Sebring)

  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes