Aston Martin Aims for Maiden WEC Win in Fuji
Gaydon – Aston Martin Racing has its sights set firmly on the top step of the podium next weekend (14 October 2012), when it will contest the seventh and penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Six Hours of Fuji.
The Gulf-liveried #97 Vantage GTE, piloted by works drivers Darren Turner (GB) and Stefan Mücke (D), has shown it has the pace and reliability to win the WEC’s GTE Pro class having recorded a string of four podium results and set the fastest time in qualifying for the past two rounds. The V8-powered racer is yet to claim its maiden victory in the WEC, but with the fuel consumption discrepancy recently balanced by the series organisers, next weekend’s race will come down to “pace, reliability, suitability, the drivers and the team,” according to Aston Martin Racing’s Team Principal, John Gaw.
The Six Hours of Fuji is the first of two visits the WEC will make to the Far East and will be held at the Fuji Speedway in Japan. The 4.563-km track, which is located at the foot of Mount Fuji, is one of the faster circuits in the calendar and is well known for being home to one of the world’s longest straights on a motorsport track (1.5km).
With its Vantage GTE suiting the character of the circuit, Aston Martin Racing is confident that the top step of the podium is within reach. Gaw comments: “Now that the fuelling issue has been balanced by the organisers, we should only need to pit five times in a six hour race, which is in line with our rivals. We will aim to be ahead of the rest of the GTE Pro field as we head into the final stint; we’ll use the class-leading pace of the Vantage GTE to get us into that position. If there are no hiccups, our pace should allow us to win the race.
“The car should be pretty well suited here – we’ve not driven here before but from looking at it on paper it should be okay. We have a pre-test session on Wednesday (10th October), so we’ll know more following that. This will also give us some valuable extra time to work on the car’s set up ahead of the last two races.”
Turner comments: “We had a good chance to go for the win at Bahrain and I think that will continue on to Fuji. Neither myself or Stefan has raced there before but we have a test on the Wednesday prior to the race so it will be one of the few times we have plenty of mileage before the race weekend starts. We’re still playing catch up to the Ferrari but we can at least take the fight to them now so everything is still to play for and we will go out there to try and achieve the Aston Martin Vantage GTE’s first win.”
Mücke, comments: “I’ve never driven at Fuji Speedway before and it’s always exciting to head to a new circuit. The only time I’ve raced in Japan was in 2009 when we won at Okayama in the Aston Martin DBR1-2 LMP1 car – hopefully we can win here again, to continue my Japanese racing success rate! I think we can do it. Obviously, there are so many things that can happen in a six hour race that you can’t be sure, but we have the fastest car and certainly have the ability to win here.”
The 2012 season marks Aston Martin’s return to GT racing; a discipline in which the company had huge success, most notably winning the GT class at Le Mans in both 2007 and 2008. The Vantage GTE is based on the road-going Vantage; the sportiest model in the prestigious marque’s line-up.
Aston Martin Racing is currently second in the WEC GTE Pro Championship with two rounds remaining. The WEC Six Hours of Fuji, takes place at 11h00 local time (02h00 GMT) on Sunday 14th October 2012 on the Fuji Speedway.
The #97 Vantage GTE will first take to the track in a test session on Wednesday 10th October. This will be followed by three warm up sessions, before qualifying on Saturday 13th October.
Follow Aston Martin Racing’s progress at the Fuji Speedway on its official website at www.astonmartin.com/racing, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/astonmartinracing and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amr_official. The race will be streamed live on the championship’s official website at www.fiawec.com.
Source: Aston Martin