Three Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE's for Season 9 of WEC

Sunday, April 25, 2021


Six weeks and another continent later, it appears as that Season 9 of the World Endurance Championship will finally get under way next week from Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

Originally intended as starting in the second week of March at Sebring, Florida saw the FIA Championship move its opening round and its preceding Prologue (Official Test) from the USA To Portimao in Portugal only to have further national and international effects of COVID-19 strike again with the Championship then having to move onto Spa (its original second round) for next weekend opening race with its Prologue Test due Monday/Tuesday of next week.

With teams, cars and drivers now assembling at the historic racetrack in the Ardennes area of Belgium, it appears that all will now proceed – all with the now customary but essential PCR CV-19 screening protocols now firmly in place of course.

For this season of the WEC, there will be no Aston Martin Racing factory effort to defend their 2020 crown in GTE Pro with the cars from Banbury missing for the first time in the history of the WEC – a sad but unfortunately necessary reflection of the arena in which it and its parent company find themselves at this moment in time.

Despite that (and from what could have been far worse a situation) Season 9 sees three AMR Vantage GTE’s take to the track as full season efforts – all in the GTE Am class – two supported by TF Sport and another in pseudo guise for the previously factory supported effort for Paul Dalla Lana who now races under the Northwest AMR team name.

Indeed, the Canadian was the last to name his pairing drivers aboard his #98 car only two weeks ago as Augusto Farfus makes a return to the team (having raced with then periodically last season) as well as newcomer to the team and GTE platform Marco Gomes.

They will race against the two stablemate cars from the TF Sport team who this season support efforts from the Japanese D’Station Racing team who enter the WEC in an AMR for the first time in their #777 car with Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Andrew Watson as well as the extremely experienced and talented crew within the #33 car – a car that features Ben Keating, Dylan Pereira and Felipe Fraga.

Not seen collectively aboard their cars to date, next week’s two-day Prologue test will give many of the drivers their first taste of the Spa circuit as well as the latest iteration of the Vantage GTE ahead of next weekend’s opening race of the season. The Prologue will also be used by race organisers to lock in the classes respective Balance of Performance requirements ahead of the race.

Whilst all of this is good news indeed, the worst is of course that all of this will again be conducted from behind closed doors as Europe struggles again with rising infection rates from the pandemic.

It’s just great to see them all back for another year of great multi-class endurance racing.

Photo credits - AMR / Eat my Pixels
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