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FIA WEC: Silverstone, Race Preview Part 1, LMGTE Am

LM GTE Am: 6 cars

50 M Larbre Competition Yutaka Yamagishi,Paulo Ruberti, Pierre Ragues Chevrolet Corvette C7.R
78 M KCMG Christian Ried, Wolf Henzler, Joel Camathias Porsche 911 RSR
83 M AF Corse François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard, Rui Aguas Ferrari 458 Italia
86 M Gulf Racing Michael Wainwright, Adam Carroll, Ben Barker Porsche 911 RSR
88 M Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Khaled Al Qubaisi, David Heinemeier Hanssen,Klaus Bachler Porsche 911 RSR
98 D Aston Martin Racing Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda Aston Martin V8 Vantage

Perhaps low in numbers but the sextet of full season entries in the GTE Am class is long on quality. GTE AM this year is for year old cars or older with the new for 2016 GTEs for GTE Pro only.

The 2015 Champions SMP have parked their GT programme for now but Ferrari is still represented by the returning #83 AF Corse effort with Gentleman Driver of the Year 2015 Francois Perrodo back again with the evergreen Manu Collard and the ever rapid Rui Aguas. This likely marks the final showing in the WEC for the wailing V8 of the 458 GTE, the #83 car here one of last season’s GTE Pro cars, could it add to the winning tally of one of the most successful cars of the WEC era? There’s every chance!

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Larbre Competition return with their sonorous Corvette C7.R, Jack Laconte having fallen short in his efforts to mount a GTE Pro effort this season.

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The #50 car has a different look to the driver squad this year. Paulo Ruberti returns for the first three rounds and will be amongst the very fastest in the class. He’s joined by Pierre Ragues, who drove at Le Mans for Larbre in 2014, and in the WEC for Morand Engineering last season, and by WEC debutant Yutaka Yamagishi, the ex Super GT driver though has driven previously in GTE, and in LMP.

Aston Martin fields a singleton effort in GTE Am this year for the returning #98 squad of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, this the dominant package of the early part of the 2015 season, now with new racing colours, and a new and important Technical Partner in Dunlop, the V8 Vantage the only car in the class fielded with Dunlop rather than Michelin rubber.

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Completing the class are a trio of Porsche 911 RSRs.

Abu Dhabi Proton Racing are the only returning Porsche squad for the class with Khaled Al Qubaisi back for a third season in the FIA WEC, joined by rapid Silver and previous WEC race winner in both LMP2 and GTE machinery David Heinemeier Hanssen, and by Klaus Bachler is a familiar face here too but is on the strength for just a one-off as regular driver, Porsche Factory man Pat Long, has Pirelli World Challenge duties – an intriguing combination.

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KCMG return for a third WEC season, but the reigning Le Mans LMP2 Champions and WEC class runners up have their full season colours in the GTE AM class this season, at least in part to ensure that their auto entry for Le Mans in LMP2 is secured.

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The car is in KCMG livery, and is handled by the KCMG team manager, but is run out of the Proton Competition garage.

Proton team owner Christian Ried is joined in the car by Joel Camathias, the Swiss driver back in the WEC for the first time since the 2012 season (with JWA Avila). Wolf Henzler completes the trio for the year as Porsche Factory muscle.

Last but not by any means least is the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche, with the changes to the backers for Aston Martin Racing this is the only effort in 2016 with the iconic powder blue and orange livery, and with an all British driver squad. The car is a stunner!

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Mike Wainwright is the Bronze driver here, the team stepping up with the Porsche after ELMS competition, and some real success, last season. Wainwright is joined by a pair of rap hotshots, ex GP2 racer Adam Carroll amongst the fastest men on the entire WEC bill, and Ben Barker, a Porsche specialist with a career path very much on the up.