Photo: Aston Martin Racing

Aston Martin reveals new car, partners, FIA WEC lineup

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Aston Martin Racing has taken the covers off its 2016 challenger for the FIA World Endurance Championship, the updated Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE, at its 2016 program launch in Gaydon.

New regulations mean a much bigger new rear diffuser, with additional freedom on aero development.

The team also has confirmed a switch from Michelin to Dunlop tires, which opens a tire battle up in GTE-Pro, and is something that’s welcomed for both manufacturers.

“The 2016 V8 Vantage GTE is a greatly improved package all-round and I’m extremely pleased that Dunlop have joined us as the team’s official tire supplier to complete it,” said Dan Sayers, technical director of Aston Martin Racing.

“The team is thoroughly confident heading into this season and I firmly believe that the Dunlop Sport Maxx is the perfect tire to help us achieve the results we desire. We look forward to working closely with the Dunlop team throughout the 2016 FIA WEC season and also at the Nürburgring 24hrs, where we’ll be competing with the V12 Vantage GT3.”

TOTAL and IQ-Option also join as new partners for what’s the newly reliveried “Stirling Green” colors.

“We’re pleased to welcome our new sponsors and technical collaborators to the Aston Martin fold,” said John Gaw, managing director of Aston Martin Racing. “With an extremely competitive World Endurance Championship ahead of us, I’m confident we have our strongest driver line-up to date and we can expect plenty of success throughout the season.”

Darren Turner shifts to the team’s No. 95 car in GTE-Pro, alongside Danes Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorenson. Fernando Rees joins Richie Stanaway and Jonny Adam in the No. 97 car.

“This will undoubtedly be a different year to the past three WEC seasons that I’ve been involved in, but I’m very much looking forward to partnering with Nicki and Marco in the No. 95,” Turner said. “Testing has gone very well during the winter months and I think we’ll be in with a strong chance by the time Le Mans comes around in June.”

Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda will be in the team’s single GTE-Am entry, the No. 98 car.

The WEC season begins with the Prologue test at the end of March, and the first race is in Silverstone on April 17.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen takes pole at Brazilian GP

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has taken pole position for Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

It’s the second career pole for the Dutch driver, who beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by just 0.123 seconds.

Verstappen’s first pole was earlier this season at the Hungarian GP in August.

Six-time champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes will start from third position. The 2018 winner at Interlagos finished 0.191 seconds back.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Alexander Albon finished in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Hamilton was fastest in final practice earlier Saturday, 0.026 quicker than Verstappen.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday is the penultimate race of the season. Hamilton secured the season title, his sixth, in the previous race in the U.S.