Aston Martin Vantage wins GTE AM Championship
The Aston Martin Vantage GTE is a world-beater once again after the British-built racing car clinched the FIA World Endurance Trophies for both drivers and teams in the GTE Am class during a dramatic season showdown, the 8 Hours of Bahrain in November 2022.
Team TF Sport drivers, Ben Keating and Marco Sørensen, were crowned drivers’ champions after finishing fourth in the tense finale. Following a seasonlong rivalry with fellow Vantage racers, NorthWest AMR, Keating and Sørensen – who were partnered by Henrique Chaves in Bahrain – eventually triumphed by 23 points.
Keating and Sørensen began the 8 Hours of Bahrain with a 20-point advantage over NorthWest AMR’s trio of Paul Dalla Lana, two-time WEC champion Nicki Thiim and David Pittard, with just 39 points available.
Keating qualified second in class and ran a punishing triple-stint at the start of the race, meaning he achieved his minimum drive time at the earliest opportunity and provided the team with the most flexible strategy for the remainder of the race, which finished in darkness.
This proved to be the correct decision as the TF Sport trio – who had lost ground thanks to a pair of unfortunately timed full-course yellow periods immediately after their first two green-flag pit stops – bounced back to finish fourth, high enough to clinch the title by 23 points over the NorthWest AMR crew, who were fifth. It is a first FIA world title for Keating and a third for Sørensen, who has claimed all his WEC crowns with Vantage. Because he was not part of the TF line-up at the Sebring season-opener, Chaves finished third in the points, behind the number 98 crew of Dalla Lana, Pittard and Thiim.
After a gruelling and hard-fought season, the Vantage has been the class of the field in GTE Am with three victories and eight podiums in the six rounds contested, including the Sebring 1000 miles, Le Mans 24 Hours and the 6 Hours of Fuji.
Said Marco Sørensen afterwards, “This is a fantastic achievement for all of us. There have been a lot of crucial moments across the year; Le Mans – which I’d never won before – being the biggest; one that’s very special to be able to put on your CV. When it comes to winning a world championship, you must have a group of drivers who can show pace over a whole season and a car that can help them deliver it. We’ve been consistent at most of the races and not made any bad mistakes. That’s how you win in the WEC and we’ve had an outstanding team performance all year to achieve this.”