Donington Park today saw what is believed to be the third test for the 2013 spec Vantage GTE, bound for both the FIA WEC in the hands of the factory AMR team and to the ALMS in the hands of new North American partner TRG.
The Donington test follows initial mileage at Silverstone a couple of weeks ago for a substantially revised car with several visual differences to the aero package to the already mightily effective 2012 version, indeed the car which took the class win at Shanghai in the final race of the WEC was on hand for back to back testing of a number of changes already established, and others under consideration too.
(The pics below are from the initial Silverstone Test with the shots in the garage at Donington from today)
[wzslider height=”400″ transition=”‘slide'” lightbox=”true”]
There are particular differences noticeable around the front wheelarches and sills – the form and extent of changes particularly noticeable on the all white test car.
Whilst Darren Turner was on hand as the man with the hands-on experience of the current car there were other recognisable faces around too, and several of them tried the 2012 car for size, the new car reserved exclusively today for Turner.
Villois Racing campaign a Vantage V12 GT3 in the International GT Open but their regular drivers Alvaro Barba and Matteo Malucelli were both trying a GTE car for size today – Does that indicate a change of machinery on the GT Open (unlikely!), or a replacement or parallel programme elsewhere?
Rather more obviously on hand as a potential addition to what looks set to be an increased factory effort was Fred Makowiecki, the very rapid Frenchman impressed mightily in the early WEC rounds with Luxury Racing until that effort folded.
He’d be a very welcome addition to the AMR fold and the Donington run was rumoured to be a decision making moment for a man that is a very hot property at present.
There was no official comment available from the team but DSC believes that the situation at present is that we are certain to see one GTE Pro and one GTE Am car for the full 2013 FIA WEC with further additional cars for both sub classes already funded up to (and possibly beyond) the European rounds and Le Mans with very active efforts underway to add them to the effort to produce a full season foursome. That marks very considerable positive progress from the situation described at Shanghai by AMR MD John Gaw which was described as “99% certain for one car, 90% for two, 70% for three and 50% for four”
As reported earlier there looks to be a very high possibility of the factory team weaving a race appearance at Sebring into their early season testing, likely to include extensive running at Road Atlanta and Sebring before the European season starts.