First customer race for new Vantage GT3 at Gulf 12hr

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

With racing duties within the new Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3 so far being restricted to factory drivers, that will all change in mid December when three examples of the new 2019 turbo charged Vantage GT3 race in the colours of the Oman Racing Team by TF Sport, Beechdean AMR and R-Motorsport at the 2018 Gulf 12Hrs event in Abu Dhabi.

Both Oman Racing and Beechdean AMR cement their continued and long established association with the Aston Martin Racing brand into the next generation of race car as well as relative new comer R-Motorosport who have become more of a strategic partner for both the race side and production car side of Aston Martin than just a race team.

Oman Racing will enter their car into the Pro class with Ahmad Al Harthy being joined this year by AMR factory drivers Jonny Adam and Darren Turner as will R-Motorsport who have today announced just Jake Dennis and Marvin Kirchhofer for that entry. Stepping outside of his prior experience and comfort zone is Andrew Howard who will race again alongside AMR reserve and former ELMS co driver Ross Gunn as well as local driver Humaid al Masaood in the Pro Am class.

To date, the new AMR V8 Vantage GT3 has only seen competitive track action at Le Mans and more latterly at the penultimate round of the VLN Series from the Nordschleife where drivers Turner and Maxime Martin so nearly upset the 'apple cart' with such a strong performance to finish fourth overall and despite pit stop penalties being applied through the race due to the cars current non-homologated state.

We understand that no Customer Team has yet to receive any of their orders for 2019 specification Vantages as testing and development continues apace even this week with a 30hour continuous test at Paul Ricard so when these teams get to see their new cars before being require to ship out to the Middle East we don't know.

“It will be a privilege to pair up with Darren and Jonny once again, who are both amazing factory drivers. Yas Marina is close to Oman, so is obviously a true local race for Oman Racing and we’re looking forward to the incredible support I know we’ll receive from all of our guests and amazing sponsors who will be there to cheer us on. I can’t wait to be back in Abu Dhabi” said Al Harthy.

 He added: “I’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who is making this possible, it’s big news and a great honour for Oman Racing to be running the brand new Aston Martin GT3 in the Gulf 12 Hours. Hopefully, we’ll all have something to celebrate!”

Beechdean AMR team owner Andrew Howard said: “Having been the first team to run the outgoing multiple race and championship winning Vantage, it is a real privilege to be part of a line-up with the first AM drivers to race the new Vantage GT3. We have been lucky enough to test the prototype and if that is anything to go by, then it will be as big a leap from the current car as the Vantage was from the glorious DBRS9. Another great step forward by Aston Martin.”

More importantly todays announcement is not simply about which customer teams received their orders before others but rather one that demonstrates a continuing framework of testing and development (now involving a number of their long standing customer teams) as the factory look to finalise the development of their new car ahead of its final homologation in March 2019. The outgoing V12 Vantage was infamous for its AM driver capabilities and the factory will be keen to maintain that characteristic.

Aston Martin Racing President David King said: “Handing the keys of the new Vantage GT3s to our top partner teams to race in Abu Dhabi is the next critical step in the car’s development ahead of its planned homologation early next year. The Vantage GT3 has performed exceptionally well in its test and development programme to date and proved highly competitive on its Nürburgring Nordschleife debut in October. Primarily a car built for top level customers to race, we’re confident it will be a potent force in the Gulf 12 Hours and the feedback from our partner teams will no doubt be invaluable in refining the car prior to wider customer team supply next year.”

With entries into the 2018 event having opened in August, we believe that todays announcement is the first confirmation to be made for the event, an event which starts with Free Practice on Thursday 13th December with Qualifying on Friday before the usual two part race taking place on Saturday 15th December.

Photo credits - Oman Racing / AMR / 24H Series

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