Aston Martin Racing has announced that it will be reducing its GTE Pro driver roster for the remaining 2018 FIA WEC races at Silverstone, Fuji and Shanghai.
The changes will cut both Vantage AMRs down to two drivers each, allowing the four remaining drivers to get more seat time at the shorter six-hour races.
In the No. 95, Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim will continue as a duo, while Darren Turner steps back. Turner has signed a new long-term contract with AMR that will see him take on development and brand ambassador duties going forward. He will, however, return to the AMR Pro line-up in 2019 for the WEC races at Sebring, Spa and Le Mans.
This news means that the 2018 6 Hours of Silverstone will be the first race in WEC history that will run without Turner on the entry list, leaving just Andre Lotterer and Christian Reid as the only remaining ever-presents in the championship.
“I’m delighted to extend my association with Aston Martin. After three Le Mans victories and 14 amazing years, driving for this brand has been the highlight of my career,” Turner said.
“As I look into the future I’m excited to be able play a significant role in shaping new road and racing cars. It goes without saying I’m looking forward to getting back in the No.95 when we head to Sebring next year. It’s exciting times at Aston Martin and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”
Meanwhile, 2017 GTE Pro Le Mans winner Jonny Adam will temporarily move from the No. 97 Aston Martin to TF Sport’s GTE Am class Vantage. This leaves Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn to share the Pro car for the rest of 2018.
Adam will race with Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood in the TF Sport seat that was filled by Euan Hankey at Spa and Le Mans. RACER believes that Adam, like Turner, will rejoin the GTE Pro crew for Sebring, Spa and Le Mans in 2019.
“As we move into the second phase of the Super Season, it is critical we maximize our opportunities through the three shortest races on the calendar,” Aston Martin Racing team principal Paul Howarth said.
“By switching to two-driver crews, we achieve this. Nicki and Marco have a long-standing partnership, while Maxime and Alex have settled into the team well. Jonny remains a vital part of our line-up and we are pleased he will race in the TF Sport entry, which keeps him race-sharp at world level.
“I am also delighted that Darren continues to play a major role. He proved he’s lost none of his speed with an exceptional performance at Le Mans, and his experience and wisdom is invaluable as we continue to develop our still-young Vantage GTE program.”
Aston Martin Racing’s No. 98 GTE Am WEC crew of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda remains unchanged for the rest of the WEC ‘Super Season’.