In recognition of the outstanding racing and sales success of the Vantage GT4 race car since its launch as the Vantage N24 three years ago, Aston Martin is announcing a four-pronged programme of enhanced support and incentives for race teams and owners of the cars across Europe for 2010.
At the heart of this exciting programme is a new six round competition – the Aston Martin British GT4 Challenge – an official one-make series operated by the company’s racing partners Aston Martin Racing. The series comprises five rounds of 90 to 150 minutes on classic British circuits and a visit to the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
In Germany where the first Vantage race car made its debut in the Nürburgring 24 hour race in 2006, Aston Martin will utilise facilities and expertise at its Nürburgring Test Centre to run the Aston Martin Nürburgring Trophy within the ten race VLN series of four hour races on the legendary Nordschleife circuit.
Thirdly, Vantage N24s and GT4 cars have achieved remarkable results in numerous 24 hour races around the world and demonstrated unprecedented reliability, so the Aston Martin Twenty Four Hour Challenge will further encourage entries in these ultimate endurance tests by recognising GT4 class results in the Dubai, Nürburgring, Spa and Silverstone (Britcar) 24 hour races.
Finally, since taking victory in the inaugural FIA GT4 race at Silverstone in 2007, the Vantage has regularly featured as a winner in the increasingly popular FIA series, so Aston Martin Racing will continue its on-event parts and technical support for Vantage customers. Additionally, the Aston Martin GT4 Cup will be awarded to the best placed Vantage driver within the championship. A range of trophies and prizes will be awarded to drivers and teams with official factory tests offered to winning drivers of all four competitions.
David King, Aston Martin’s Head of Motor Sport commented: “GT4 racing not only demonstrates the capabilities and pedigree of our V8 Vantage road car, but also connects us directly with our customers, so we are delighted to offer them a greater choice of events along with rewards and incentives for choosing to race our cars.”
The Aston Martin Vantage road car was launched to global acclaim in 2005 and has since gone on to become the most successful Aston Martin of all time. Its handling and durability were honed on test tracks around the world, including the Nürburgring where, like all the company’s new models, it completed a 10,000km durability sign-off test prior to public launch.
As a further public demonstration of its capabilities, a small team of factory engineers and technicians prepared an almost standard Vantage for the 2006 Nürburgring 24 hour race. With Chief Executive Dr Ulrich Bez leading the driving team, the bright yellow car took a remarkable and trouble-free 24th overall from over 200 starters. Shortly afterwards, to celebrate this achievement and prompted by numerous enquiries from customers, Dr Bez announced a plan to build twenty four cars to the same racing specification for sale to customers and the Vantage N24 was born.
The initial batch of 24 cars sold out rapidly and to date over sixty cars have been built. In 2009 the car was upgraded with the company’s new 4.7 litre V8 engine replacing the 4.3 litre and the car was renamed Vantage GT4. FIA performance balancing measures ensure both versions can compete on equal terms.
Aston Martin British GT4 Challenge
This recently announced one-make series has already attracted considerable interest from entrants who are keen to compete exclusively against identical cars and a strong grid of cars is anticipated for the first round at Snetterton on 5th April. Entrants will benefit from a comprehensive range of technical and promotional support and hospitality from Aston Martin Racing. The Challenge champions will receive a GT2 or GT3 test drive and other awards. The full programme is as follows:
– April 5 Snetterton
– May 22 Silverstone
– June 4/5 Spa Francorchamps
– June 26 Brands Hatch
– August 21 Oulton Park
– October 9 Donington Park
Aston Martin Nürburgring Trophy
This will be run within the 2010 VLN series which comprises of ten races of four hours on the legendary Nordschleife circuit from 27 March to 30 October. All Aston Martins regardless of entry class are eligible for the Aston Martin Nürburgring Trophy although most entrants are expected from the SP10 (GT4) class. Points will be taken directly from the VLN scoring system with best eight results counting. The winning team will receive a free entry to the 2011 Nürburgring 24 hour race and the opportunity to test Aston Martin’s V12 Vantage race car at the Nürburgring.
Aston Martin 24 Hour Challenge
With the Dubai 24 Hours already completed, results from that race will count retrospectively and the Challenge will count only the best two results from four events, with points automatically allocated to all Vantage GT4 class finishers. The winning team will receive a trophy and a test drive opportunity. The four qualifying events are:
– January 14/15 Dubai 24 Hours
– May 15/16 Nürburgring 24 Hours
– July 31/August 1 Spa 24 Hours
– October 2/3 Britcar 24 Hours, Silverstone
Aston Martin GT4 Cup
The FIA GT4 Cup comprises six rounds in Europe supporting either the new FIA GT1 World Championship or the FIA GT3 Championship. This prestigious first step on the GT racing ladder has seen close competition between numerous marques in the three years since its inception, with Aston Martin featuring regularly on the podium. The best placed Aston Martin entrant will receive the Aston Martin GT4 Cup, with an Aston Martin GT2 or GT3 test drive for the winning driver. The full programme is as follows:
– May 9 Dijon (France)
– June 5 Spa (Belgium)
– June 20 Oscherslaben (Germany)
– August 29 Nürburgring (Germany)
– September 19 Algarve (Portugal)
– October 17 Donington Park (UK)