A fresh driver pairing will join Paul Dalla Lana in Aston Martin Racing’s GTE Am class No. 98 Vantage AMR in the 2019/20 FIA WEC season. The Canadian will share the car with works drivers Darren Turner and Ross Gunn, breaking up the long-standing trio of himself, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy.
The combination of Lamy, Lauda and Dalla Lana was one of the longest-standing and most successful driver crews in the history of the FIA WEC. They competed together for five seasons, racking up 13 class wins and the GTE Am class title back in 2017.
“We have changed the GTE Am line-up after a long period of stability and we expect this to produce results,” said AMR managing director John Gaw.
“This is a great opportunity for Ross to prove his ability at world level, while I think we are all fully aware of what Darren is capable of, and this gives him a chance to fight for a world championship and capture a fourth Le Mans victory.”
Both Gunn and Turner were among the drivers that tested the No. 98 Vantage at the WEC Prologue at Barcelona last month as part of the driver selection process. Lamy and Lauda also tested the new No. 98 Vantage AMR in Spain.
“It’s a great honor to be joining the works Aston Martin Racing team for the start of the FIA World Endurance Championship season,” said Gunn.
“I’m very excited to begin this new chapter of my career at the pinnacle of GT racing and I will be pushing for a solid result. I was very comfortable in the car at Barcelona during the Prologue and I feel like we can, along with Darren and Paul, be in the mix in the GTE Am Championship and fight for a podium at Silverstone.”
While Gunn will make his WEC full-season debut as part of this program, this marks a return to full-time WEC competition for long-time Aston Martin Racing driver Turner, who contested a part-time program with AMR in GTE Pro during the Super Season.
“I’m really looking forward to joining Paul and Ross in the No. 8 car and challenging for the 2019/20 GTE Am championship,” said Turner.
“It’s going to be very hard work, and I think it is going to be the most competitive season in the category, with some very quick cars and some very strong line-ups. Paul is an extremely talented driver with a great deal of experience in the WEC, and as a package we are very strong.”
Paul Dalla Lana is excited about taking on the 2019/20 season with the new Vantage (in what will be its first year as an eligible car in AM) and his new teammates.
“I’ve been looking across the garage with envy for the past 18 months at the new Aston Martin Vantage GTE, and now I finally get to race it myself in the GTE Am class,” he said.
“We are coming into the new season with a fresh look and a new driver line-up, determined not only to regain the championship title we won in 2017 with the No. 98, but also to try and finally take that class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“I would like to pay tribute to my old team-mates Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, who have been brilliant through the years. They have helped us win so much as a team, and the 2017 title is the highlight of my career. But looking to the future, Darren is the most decorated GT driver in the team and has the pace and experience to guide us forward, while Ross is super-fast and very talented. I’m very excited about our new line-up and what we can achieve together.”
AMR’s full-season GTE Pro driver crews are unchanged for the upcoming season. Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim will pilot the No. 95 while Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin will share the No. 97.