After racing in the ELMS this season for the first time with TF Sport, Turkish racer Salih Yoluc is looking to move up into the WEC’s GTE Am ranks next year for the ‘Super Season’.
Yoluc, who currently races alongside Euan Hankey and current FIA WEC champion Nicki Thiim in the TF Aston Martin Vantage, tells DSC that the allure of becoming world champion, and a second Le Mans in the same season has prompted him to pursue a WEC programme with the British team, racing with Aston Martin.
“It is a bit of a weird calendar, I must say. I’m disappointed with the drop of CoTA and Mexico, but we have two Le Mans in the same season with the same budget. I think that’s where we’re going to go next year,” he revealed. “I would be sticking with TF Sport, we’re 90 percent there I would say.
“The main reason for the move is going step by step. My goal is to be European champion this season, and then the world champion. That’s the motivation that I think we all follow.”
One key factor though, is the choice of car for Yoluc and TF in next year’s campaign. The governing body of the WEC has yet to confirm whether or not the 2018 Aston Martin GTE is going to be available to GTE Am teams.
By regulation, GTE Am teams must wait a single year before using new-spec GTE cars, though the extension of the 2018 season into 2019 has brought into question whether or not Am runners should have to wait until the 2019/20 season to race the new Vantage. By that time, the current Aston Martin Vantage GTE would be three years-old.
If they were allowed to race with a new Aston Martin Vantage, Yoluc says he and TF Sport would likely purchase one for next season.
“I don’t know anything about it really,” he said when asked of his thoughts on running a new Vantage in 2018. “It makes sense to be able to run the new car, so you can make an easy transition into 2019 as well. We will basically drive for a season and a half rather than one season with the old car if they don’t make a change.
“If they’re making a change (to the series structure), they should be open to rule tweaks like allowing new GTE cars in Am as well.
“I would always look to drive the new car. It will be more competitive, and less BoP dependent. This current car is quite old, and already the competition can have the new Porsche and Ferrari next year, so we would have to have good BoP to fight with them.”
Photo courtesy of ELMS