New class challenge for the Oman Racing at Blancpain opener at Monza

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Oman Racing Team heads to Monza's world-famous Autodromo Nazionale circuit this week in preparation for the opening round of the 2016 Blancpain Endurance Series (April 23/24).

Sunday's three hour opening race looks set to deliver an impressive spectacle with 57 cars from the world's most prestigious marques predicted to line up on the grid. Moving to the Pro-Am Class for its third consecutive campaign in the series, the Motorbase-powered squad faces fierce competition from 22 rivals on the iconic Italian track.

“Monza’s always a fantastic place to visit;” said Team Principal David Bartrum. “It has a fantastic history of great racing and we’re all looking forward to heading back for our third time there in the Blancpain. We’re coming back this year in the Pro-Am class where I think we should have been all along. It’s a fiercely competitive series and not one that you can learn easily but I think with this year’s line-up we have a genuine chance of doing well.”

The Oman Racing Team line up has been bolstered for the 2016 season with new signing and reigning 24H Series SP3 class champion Devon Modell joining Aston Martin works driver Jonny Adam and Omani driver Ahmad Al Harthy, who returns for his third year in the #44 Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.

“It’s great to have Jonny back in the team and obviously thanks to Ahmad first and foremost for putting his faith back in the team to fly the flag for Oman again this season;” continued Bartrum. “It’s such a great honour.

“Jonny brings so much to the team with his experience with Aston Martin and his capabilities both in the car and how he works with within the team. Now this year adding Devon Modell as a young, fast peddler as a bronze alongside Ahmad I have to say this is one of the best driver line-ups we could have hoped for. I’m hoping that this is our year to shine. We had some high and lowlights last year and I’d like to see more highlights!”

Saturday (April 23) sees the #44 Oman Racing Team Vantage take to the track for first time for free practice and pre-qualifying sessions. Qualifying for Sunday's (April 24) three hour race commences at 09.00 local time (8.00 UK time) before the first race of the 2016 Blancpain Endurance Series season which is scheduled for 15.00 local time (14.00 UK time).

Driver Quotes:

Jonny Adam:
“It’s nice to be back for a 2nd year with Motorbase and Ahmad. Preparation has gone really well and we’re all looking forward to getting back out on track. We’re the only Aston Martin on the grid which could be a good thing as there’s a lot of new machinery out there so consistency could be our key this year.

“Monza isn’t the greatest of circuits for the car but we had good race pace there last year and moving to a new class this year I think we’ve got a good chance of netting a decent result if we can manage to stay out of trouble. Hopefully we can represent Aston Martin and Oman well this weekend and get our campaign off to a good start. “

Ahmad Al Harthy:
“It’s fantastic we’re only a few days away from the first round at Monza, I really can’t wait. Every year you think Blancpain can’t get any stronger, any bigger, but it does and when you look at the entry list for this season it looks like it should be the most competitive championship yet.

“Everyone at the team is so determined to make the best start we can to the new season, it’s going to be great working with Jonny and Devon and we’re all looking forward to the weekend. It’s too early to know where we stand, so we’re not making any predictions, but we’ll aim to do the very best we can and be as competitive as possible.”

Devon Modell:
“I really cannot wait to get away to Monza. It really does feel like we’ve had to wait a long time for the start of the 2016 Blancpain Endurance Series, as practically every other championship has already begun. Nevertheless, I have done some testing with Motorbase Performance in Portugal, at Silverstone and the official Media Days at Circuit Paul Ricard, and the Aston Martin feels very strong.

“A lot of teams will have kept their cards close to their chests and we don’t have much to compare our pace to as the only Aston Martin entered in the championship this year. There is variety with the cars and driver line-ups and I think we simply need to stay out of trouble, particularly on the opening lap, and bag as many points as possible before setting our long term ambitions.”

Source material - Motorbase
Photo credits - Peter May
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