Following the recent announcement of Audi’s involvement in the Grand-Am racing series (see separate story in the News pages at www.eurotuner.com), Aston Martin has confirmed its Vantage GT4 racer will finally be seen in domestic competition in North America.
After five successful seasons in Europe and around the world, Aston Martin Racing has appointed Multimatic Motorsports as its official partner to campaign two cars in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) for 2012.
Toronto-based Multimatic Motorsports won the championship three times (2002, 2005 and 2008) since the series started in 2000, giving the team the experience and expertise to mount a competitive title bid.
The lead car will be driven by Multimatic regulars and proven race-winners Scott Maxwell and Joe Foster. Hollywood movie star Patrick Dempsey will drive the second car, partnered in the opening round by Aston Martin Chief Engineer Chris Porritt.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is run by the Grand American Road Racing Organization. The 2012 calendar takes in some of North America’s most iconic circuits over ten races, which run for two and a half hours with a mandatory driver change.
The series kicked off with an official test session at the Daytona International Speedway on January 6-8, ahead of the prestigious opening round at the same circuit on January 27, which will be held as a support race to the legendary Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Aston Martin will compete in the headlining Grand Sport category, which is contested by six- and eight-cylinder production-derived sports cars.
The Aston Martin Vantage GT4 was born out of the company’s successful entry of an almost standard V8 Vantage in the 2006 Nürburgring 24 hour race. It is still closely based on the V8 Vantage road car, sharing its bonded aluminum chassis, 4.7-liter V8 engine, manual transmission and suspension design.
With numerous 24 Hour class victories, the 2010 European GT4 Cup title, back-to-back championship victories in the Nürburgring-based VLN series in 2010 and 2011, an unsurpassed record for reliability and nearly one hundred examples produced to date, it has established itself as Europe’s most successful GT4 car and will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The Vantage GT4 cars for the CTSCC have been modified in key areas from standard FIA GT4 specification by Aston Martin Racing to comply with Grand-Am regulations and to hone the chassis set-up specifically for the North American Series.
Aston Martin has enjoyed a long association with Multimatic. The Canadian outfit produces the carbon fiber chassis for the exclusive One-77 supercar, as well as carbon fiber components for the V12 Vantage Zagato. Furthermore, Multimatic’s UK-based four-post test rig is regularly utilized by both road and racing Aston Martins for suspension development.
In addition to campaigning the two official Vantage GT4 entries, Multimatic will take on the further responsibility of supplying Grand-Am specification Vantage GT4s and providing spares and technical support to North American customer teams as Aston Martin Racing’s Grand-Am representative.
Following the season opener at Daytona, the series then takes in a further nine rounds with races at such celebrated circuits as Watkins Glen International, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Laguna Seca, with the season finale on September 28-30 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.