São Paulo, 1 September 2013 – Aston Martin Racing has won at the Six Hours of São Paulo in Brazil, the fourth round of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), as its #96 Vantage GTE triumphed in the GTE Am class.
The result is Aston Martin Racing’s third win of the season as it achieved a double victory at its home round of the series at Silverstone, UK, in April. Second position in GTE Pro lifts Darren Turner (GB) and Stefan Mücke (DE), drivers of the #97 Vantage GTE, to the top of the GT Drivers’ world championship standings and Aston Martin Racing to the lead of the GTE Pro Team’s championship.
Having started from pole position in both classes, the team ran at the front of each category throughout the six hours. The #96 machine of Britons Jamie Campbell-Walter and Stuart Hall took the lead of GTE Am soon before the final hour and maintained the advantage to the chequered flag, beating its nearest competitor by a clear 45.7 seconds.
After celebrating the race win on the famous Interlagos podium, Campbell-Walter said: “It’s really good to win the first race of the year here at Interlagos. For Stuart and I it feels like just rewards, we’ve had a few unlucky races this year. We raced here together in 2007 and finished third so to come back and win is brilliant. It’s also great for Roald [Goethe], as a car collector, to win a race with the #96 Vantage GTE. Many thanks to the team and everyone involved. It’s a fantastic result for all of us.”
Hall adds: “Yes, it is great to take a win in the WEC. This win is for Roald; it’s a shame he’s not here to celebrate it with us. He’s been so supportive to Jamie and I and we owe this to him. The car has been fantastic today and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the race.”
The #97 Vantage GTE ran within striking distance of the class leader for much of the race, eventually finishing just 1.4 seconds adrift after 212 laps of the Interlagos circuit. It set the fastest GTE lap of the entire race, underlining the Vantage GTE’s inherent outright pace.
After crossing the finishing line, Turner commented: “That was a humdinger of a race. The start wasn't great - it should really have been a restart. I lost a lot of places but carefully worked my way up to P2. After that it was an battle for the lead, swapping places with the #51 throughout. It was incredibly intense and I had to focus throughout - not one lap was easy. There were no mistakes from either us or the #51 and at the end of six hours there was just 1.4 seconds between us.
We had great pit stops from the team and Stefan, as usual, was incredible. We’re now leading the championship at the halfway mark, which is a great place to be as we head to the Circuit of the Americas for the first time.”
The #98 Gulf-liveried machine of Pedro Lamy (PT), Richie Stanaway (NZ) and Paul Dalla Lana (CN) finished the race in fifth position in the GTE Pro class after a run of misfortune having qualified on pole position. A minor issue and contact with a spinning GTE Am competitor cost the car several laps to its rivals, leaving it chasing the pack for the rest of the race.
The #99 Vantage GTE of Bruno Senna (BR) and Rob Bell (GB) retired from fourth position after the two-hour mark due to damage as a result of an unavoidable collision with a spinning competitor.
The #95 all-Danish car of Kristian Poulsen, Christoffer Nygaard and newcomer Nicki Thiim had dominated the GTE Am class for close to five hours and led the entire GTE field for part of the race, but a wheel nut failure ended its race early and promoted the #96 machine into the class lead.
John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, commented: “It is a terrific and well deserved result for the #96 car and a great win for Jamie and Stuart. It was also a fitting result for Roald Goathe who we missed this weekend - we look forward to seeing him back at the next round in Austin.
“It was very close in GTE Pro and, although we missed out on the win by less than two seconds, it is good to see Darren, Stefan and Aston Martin Racing now leading the championships.
“We now look to Austin in three weeks time. It’s a new circuit for everyone and a great weekend of racing is in store when the World Endurance Championship and American Le Mans Series race at the same circuit on the same weekend.”
The FIA WEC resumes with the Six Hours of the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, USA, on 22 September. Follow the team’s progress at www.astonmartin.com/racing, on Facebook www.facebook.com/astonmartinracing or on Twitter using @amr_official.