Three brand new Aston Martin Vantage GT3s will take part in the eighth edition of the Gulf 12 Hours in December, ahead of the car’s first full season of customer racing in 2019.
Racing the new Vantages will be three AMR customer teams, Oman Racing with TF-Sport, Beechdean AMR and R-Motorsport, with factory drivers scattered across their line-ups.
Oman Racing with TF Sport spearheads the Aston Martin challenge in the PRO class, having finished third overall in the event in 2015, and second in the PRO/AM class last year. The team’s Vantage will run with two Aston Martin works drivers, Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, racing alongside Ahmad Al Harthy.
“It’s an honour to be among the first customers to race the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3, a car for which we have high hopes,” TF Sport team principal Tom Ferrier said. “We’ve already committed to racing it in the British GT Championship in 2019 and we’re excited to find out what the car is capable of in competitive conditions in the Gulf 12 Hours.”
Alongside TF Sport in the PRO class will be Swiss outfit R-Motorsport, which competed with AMR in the Blancpain Endurance Cup this year, winning a race and scoring three poles. The team, which is competing in DTM next year with Aston Martin, will race with two of its Blancpain regulars, Jake Dennis and Marvin Kirchhöfer. A third driver is yet to be confirmed.
R-Motorsport team principal Florian Kamelger said: “We are really excited to run the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 on its debut outing outside Europe. The challenging event in Abu Dhabi will give us the best opportunity to test the car in a long-distance race before we run it in 2019.”
The third Vantage will race in the PRO AM class, Beechdean AMR, running a Vantage GT3 for two-time British GT and European Le Mans Series champion Andrew Howard, Humaid al Masaood, Chris Dyson and works driver Ross Gunn.
Beechdean AMR team owner Andrew Howard added: “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.”
Aston Martin Racing President David King concluded: “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.”
The eighth edition of the Gulf 12 Hours, takes place on the 15th of December.