The WEC is returning to Fuji this week for the penultimate round of the 2023 season, it’s guaranteed to be a great race but for Aston Martin Racing and their Vantage GTE’s, they’re looking to continue their winning ways in in the Far East.
The Vantage GTE is a prototype version of the British built race car that is derived from Aston Martin’s critically acclaimed ultra luxury sports car. It shares the same aluminum body frame and a specially tuned version of the four liter V8 turbo charged production engine. Introduced in 2018, the Vantage GTE has 12 WEC victories and two world championships.
All three Aston Martin Racing partners, D’station Racing, Heart of Racing (competing under the NorthWest AMR entry) and the reigning LMGTE Am class champions TF Sport are entered into the 6 Hours of Fuji as Vantage seeks to record their first win in its final season of WEC competition.
Since it’s introduction to WEC in 2012, Fuji has frequently been a scene of victory for Aston Martin. They have a total of seven WEC class victories, including double class wins in 2013 and 2019, and Fuji holds the distinction of being the track where the current generation Vantage GTE recorded it’s firs pole position in 2018.
There are since been two more pole positions that were converted into lights to flag victories. That includes last year when TF Sport’s Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sorensen consolidated their championship lead with the Vantage GTE’s most recent WEC class win, and it’s third in Japan.
D’station Racing, who does receive technical support from TF Sports, are returning to their home soil full of determination to repeat their podium glory of 2023. With team headquarters less than 10 miles from Fuji, Satoshi Hoshino, team manager Tomonubu Fujii and Casper Stevenson are looking to use local support to boost their chances of a third WEC podium finish for the team.
The Heart of Racing team is returning to WEC for the first time since Le Mans, and are making their Japanese racing debut with the strong lineup of team principal Ian James, Alex Riberas and Daniel Mancinelli. Since taking over the #98 NorthWest AMR entry, which was vacated when Paul Dalla Lana retired prior to Spa, the US based team has quickly learned the ways of the WEC. They have finished both the races they’ve contested and recorded a very strong sixth place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
TF Sport heads into the 6 Hours of Fuji with a season of momentum behind them. Drivers Ahmad Al Harthy, Michael Dinan and Charlie Eastwood have been front runners for most of 2023 with two podiums in the last three races. Currently they sit two points off of second place in the championship and aren’t backing down.
Huw Tasker, AMR Head of Partner Racing, had this to say about the race weekend, “We are delighted to see three Aston Martin Vantage GTEs contesting the 6 Hours of Fuji, a venue Aston Martin has traditionally enjoyed competitive form at over the years. TF Sport has been in the mix all season, and it feels like only a matter of time before the team is rewarded with a victory. D’station Racing is always strong on home soil, and we are excited to see what Heart of Racing can achieve on the team’s first visit to Fuji. There are only two races left for this iteration of the wonderful Vantage GTE, which has proved so successful, and yet we see no signs of it fading in competitiveness and we are hoping that it can bow out on the high its pedigree deserves.”
Official practice for the 6 Hours of Fuji begins on Friday, September 8th at 1100 local time with the race beginning at 1100 on Sunday. For more information and to follow along on race day, checkout the official WEC app and website.