It’s the final race of the year coming up for me this weekend, but not my final race of the season! Of course, the current FIA World Endurance Championship climaxes next June at the Le Mans 24 Hours, so my arrival in Shanghai with Aston Martin Racing on Wednesday means we’re only crossing now into the second half of the 2018-19 WEC. And we’ve travelled with high hopes of a good result.
I raced at Shanghai in 2016 with the Manor LMP2 team with Matt Rao, and we had a good run there. I really enjoy the circuit, which is the same as is used for the Chinese Grand Prix. It’s got a good flow, with a lot of nice, fast technical corners that link into each other and the long straight, and that makes for some exciting racing.
We had a good run at Fuji last time out, and my team-mate Maxime Martin and I are confident of a further improvement in performance for our #97 Vantage GTE. We’ve actually been pretty busy since that race in Japan, because we’ve been back in Europe doing endurance testing for the new GT3 Vantage and the GT4 car at Paul Ricard in the South of France. That was really great, and both cars from Aston Martin Racing ran faultlessly. It was all hands on deck, with all the factory drivers doing the test, and it was good fun. We had a real mix of conditions, from dry to horrendous rain, but both cars did 30 hours with no problems.
Also, there are a lot of things we learned on the GT3 car that we know we can transfer to the Vantage GTE, which is still a pretty new car and is only four races into its lifespan. So Maxime, myself, and our team-mates Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen in the #95 car are really hoping for some good results.
I think the Shanghai circuit will suit the car, but as I write this it’s looking as though the weather conditions could be quite mixed – just as they were at Fuji. That time it really hit us badly and compromised our strategy, so hopefully we’ve used up our bad luck and this time we will have a better run. What is certain is that it will make it an interesting race.
As well as that, we’ve been given a little bit more power and been allowed to take off a small amount of weight under the GTE Balance of Performance rules, so that could make things interesting and give us a better chance in the race. I really think it’s everything to play for this weekend in what is an amazingly competitive class, and we’ve got every chance of coming away with a great result to carry into the winter.
Source. Alex Lynn