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D'station hopeful of securing WEC LMGT3 slot with Aston Martin

Aston Martin squad D'station Racing says it is hopeful of securing a grid slot to remain in the World Endurance Championship in the new LMGT3 class next year.

#777 D'Station Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Satoshi Hoshino, Casper Stevenson, Tomonobu Fujii

D'station has been on the WEC grid in the GTE Am class since 2021, running an Aston Martin Vantage GTE in partnership with TF Sport.

Gentleman driver Satoshi Hoshino has shared driving duties with D'station team manager Tomonobu Fujii throughout that period, with the pair being joined by a revolving cast of silver-rated drivers.

So far they have scored two podium finishes, one at Monza in 2021 with Andrew Watson alongside Hoshino and Fujii, and the second on its home turf at Fuji last year with Charlie Fagg as the third driver.

With the WEC preparing to axe GTE machinery in favour of a full switch to GT3 cars next year, Fujii is optimistic that the Japanese squad will be able to remain part of the series next year and beyond.

"We hope to stay in this championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours," Fujii told Autosport. "This is our first priority at the moment.

"We are working hard to stay here and preparing everything. If possible, 100% we will stay."

Fujii stressed the team's priority is to continue its existing relationship with Aston Martin, which is thought to be likely to be granted entries for the LMGT3 era due to its long-standing involvement in the WEC's GTE ranks.

The news that TF Sport will be switching to partner Corvette for next season also means one less competitor for the two grid slots. 

 

"We have been a good partner with Aston Martin since 2019, we are their biggest team in Asia and Japan," Fujii said. "Of course we don’t want to move manufacturers. I want to commit to them."

Outside of the WEC, D'station's other programmes for this season are in the Japan Cup leg of GT World Challenge Asia and Super Taikyu, although due to schedule clashes it has withdrawn its Vantage GT3 from the top ST-X class in the latter series, leaving just its ST-1 class entry.

Fujii said that he is still investigating opportunities to return to SUPER GT, where D'station last raced in 2020 in partnership with Pacific Racing.

"We always want to return to SUPER GT, and we looked into it last year and this year," said Fujii. "But the problem is the entry rights.

"If we get the rights, we would enter SUPER GT with Aston Martin, as it's our biggest priority in Japan. We are always talking to some teams [holding entry rights], waiting for an opportunity.

"We would have no problem committing long-term to running one car in SUPER GT. We have the team, we have the car, we have the manufacturer partner. The costs are also no problem."

 

Fujii also divulged plans are afoot to establish another team to participate in GT World Challenge Asia next year, involving one of the clients for his newly-established 'Simdrive' simulator facility in Tokyo. 

"It will use D'station's facility [near Fuji Speedway], but it will be an entirely new programme with a gentleman driver," he said. "It's possible we will run a different car. I am already preparing for it."

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