Unlike the driver line-ups of the Chevrolet Corvettes which are quite balanced, the number of wins or participations being pretty close between the two cars, that is not at all the case with Aston Martin. In the LM GTE Pro class, the No. 95 will be driven by Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Darren Turner who have a total of 16 starts among them. In the second car in the class, the No. 97, Richie Stanaway and Fernando Rees have only taken the start once, and Jonathan Adam is debuting at Le Mans.
Same story for the two Aston Martin Vantages entered in LM GTE Am. The No. 98 will be driven by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda who have 20 participations between them, and Portuguese driver Pedro Lamy counts for 16 of those. But in the sister car, Andrew Howard and Liam Griffin are two rookies, whereas Gary Hirsch has taken the start twice. It's an imbalance that appears intentional. So it will be up to the No. 95 and No. 98 Aston Martin Vantages to go after the win in their respective classes, and for the No. 97 and No. 99 to be patient and learn as much as possible.
Only three drivers in the Aston Martin Racing driver line-ups have more than three starts. Pedro Lamy with his 16 is ahead of Darren Turner, the loyal driver with 13, and lastly Paul Dalla Lana has three. That isn't many experienced drivers on the track among the 12 entered! The British manufacturer parted ways with quite a few drivers between last year's edition and this one. Chrystoffer Nygaard, Rob Bell, Alex Macdowall, Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall and Francesco Castellacci are no longer there, and neither is Stefan Mücke. The German driver is now with Ford after having competed in the last four editions with Aston Martin in LM GTE Pro!
Who are the rookies in Aston Martin's camp? Jonathan Adam is a British GT champion, success achieved in an Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 entered by Beechdean Motorsport, the team loyal to Aston Martin for several seasons now. He is quite familiar with Andrew Howard, another driver debuting at Le Mans, with whom he has been teammates in British GT since 2011! Liam Griffin has done several seasons in BTCC (British touring championship) and has begun his third season in British GT. He participated in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the Fuji and Shanghai rounds last year.
Aston Martin driver line-ups for the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans
Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen, Darren Turner, No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage
Nicki Thiim : début aux 24 Heures du Mans en 2014, 2 départs, meilleur résultat dix-septième place et vainqueur en LM GTE Am (2014) ;
Marco Sørensen : début aux 24 Heures du Mans en 2015, 1 départ, meilleur résultat vingt-septième place (2015) ;
Darren Turner : début aux 24 Heures du Mans en 2003, 13 départs, meilleur résultat cinquième place et vainqueur en GT1 (2007), puis vainqueur de nouveau en GT1 (2008).
Richie Stanaway, Fernando Rees, Jonathan Adam, No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage
Richie Stanaway: debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015, 1 start, best result 34th place (2015)
Fernando Rees: debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014, 1 start, best result 34th place (2015)
Jonathan Adam: no participations
Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda, No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage
Paul Dalla Lana: debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2013, 3starts, best result 26th place (2014)
Pedro Lamy: debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1997, 16 starts, best result second place (2011) and LM GTE Am winner (2012)
Mathias Lauda: debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015, 1 start, never ranked
Andrew Howard, Liam Griffin, Gary Hirsch, No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage
Andrew Howard: no participations
Liam Griffin: no participations
Gary Hirsch: debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014, 2 starts, best result 10th place (2014)
Geoffroy Barre - Translation by Nikki Ehrhardt / ACO
Photo: Aston Martin Racing is putting its money on the wisdom and experience of Pedro Lamy, but also the passion of the three drivers debuting at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans.