The advent of driver grading focused classes just a few short years ago saw a seismic shift in the sportscar racing driver market for the commercially important Pro-Am classes.
Put simply there is now a global ‘commodities market’ in finding the best Silver ranked drivers.
Aston Martin Racing and AF Corse are past masters at this with drivers of the quality of Matt Griffin, Stuart Hall and Christoffer Nygaard finding berths courtesy of a Silver ranking (and their obvious talent) in recent years.
Nygaard indeed was part of the successful #98 Aston Martin Racing squad last year, alongside Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy, that came second in the class battle in the FIA WEC scoring three class wins along the way.
His end of season elevation to Gold status though has, inevitably, seen the quick and quiet Dane lose that seat (he is though confirmed with TRG AMR in a GTD class V12 Vantage for the four race NAEC alongside Christina Nielsen and James Davidson).
His replacement, confirmed now as part of the full season AMR WEC set-up by Aston Martin Racing Team Principal John Gaw, is another perhaps surprising silver, Mathias Lauda.
Why surprising? Well because Lauda’s racing background suggests a pretty professional outlook, though in fairness his ultimate results do not support an assessment as a Gold.
After racing in the final year of F300 and the first year of GP2 in 2004-5 he raced for four seasons for Mercedes in the DTM from 2006-09, interestingly for two of those years he drove for Mucke Motorsport!
After that there was a full season of Porsche Supercup in 2011 and then the final year of the FIA GT1 World Championship (by then using GT3 machinery) in 2012 in a Vita4one BMW Z4GT3 (below).
Last season saw him contest the Indian based single seater MRF Formula (alongside Freddie Hunt – Hunt vs Lauda).
2015 looks set to see Mathias join Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy as the Canadian Gentleman driver looks to go one better than second in the Championship.
Before then the Austrian will have his first taste of GTE Aston action at Daytona for the Rolex 24 Hours alongside Dalla Lana and Lamy plus AMR works man Darren Turner, the quartet in Florida this weekend for the Roar before the 24, this the first confirmation of Dalla Lana’s proposed dual programme of FIA WEC and NAEC, relayed to DSC readers back in November.