The British GT Championship round entry at Spa Francorchamps on July 20-21 will be boosted by the debut for M2 Competition’s brand new Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT3, with Tony Quinn and Darren Turner sharing driving duties.
The Aston Martin is set to be entered under Quinn’s Keltic Racing banner and run from M2 Competition’s European base in Brussels.
Although British-born, Sixty-one-year-old Tony Quinn has spent most of his adult life in Australia and New Zealand, where he has carved out a successful racing career over the past 20 years.
A two-time series runner-up in the Australian GT Championship, Tony won the Dubai 24 Hours in 2008 and has contested the Nurburgring 24 Hours four times.
45 year old Darren Turner needs no introduction here, he’s been a factory Aston Martin Racing driver since 2004 and has won the Le Mans 24 Hours GT category three times with the brand.
In GT racing he has won the European Le Mans Series title plus the Sebring 12 Hours and Nurburgring 24 Hours, was runner-up in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2013 and has been an official Formula 1 test or simulator driver for McLaren, Toyota and Red Bull.
M2 Competition was established in 2010 to compete in New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series, now firmly established as the number one winter destination for young single-seater racers.
In nine seasons, the team has won five Drivers’ Championships as well as five consecutive Teams’ titles with drivers including current F1 racers Lando Norris and Lance Stroll and established top-level GT racers Alex Lynn, Raffaele Marciello and Nick Cassidy.
The 2019 campaign was their most successful to date as they won 14 of the 15 races on their way to a double-title success, broke the series’ all-time wins record and claimed victory at the New Zealand Grand Prix.
M2 set up a European base in Brussels in January 2019, from which it has masterminded its maiden season in the Formula Renault Eurocup, in which it is already a podium finisher.
Despite the team having never campaigned a GT racing car before, its personnel has a wealth of experience in GT and saloon car racing. Team Principal Elise Moury is a Spa 24 Hours-winning engineer while others have spent many years in the DTM.
Tony Quinn said: “I’m incredibly excited to race at Spa-Francorchamps. It’s one of those ‘bucket list’ circuits that a driver like me, who are based on the other side of the world, doesn’t get many opportunities to compete at. The V8 Vantage GT3 is a serious piece of kit and I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do. It will be a learning experience for me, but I’m confident that with a team like M2 Competition and a Le Mans-winning co-driver like Darren Turner behind me, we can cause a surprise or two.”
Darren Turner said: “Spa is one of the greatest circuits in the world and I’m always ready to accept a good opportunity to race there. With the British GT grid growing from strenghth to strength, it’s a great time to rejoin the fray. Tony Quinn has achieved a lot in motorsport in Australia and New Zealand and I think we’ll make a good partnership. M2 Competition is new to GT racing, but their record in single-seaters, and the drivers they’ve worked with shows they know their business. I’m looking forward to another new experience in a season that has offered a great deal so far.”
Elise Moury, Team Principal, said: “We’re incredibly excited to make the step into GT racing, and in particular, the British GT Championship, which is enjoying record entries and is one of the strongest national championships in the world. In Tony, we have a tremendously experienced driver who’s had some big successes in his motorsport career and should be one of the fastest am drivers in the field. Our team co-founder Mark Pilcher has been involved with Keltic Racing projects for five years with Tony in Australia and will be on-site with us at Spa. In Darren, we have a factory Aston Martin Racing whose record speaks for itself and who’s probably done more laps in the V8 Vantage GT3 than anyone else, so he feels like a perfect co-driver for Tony. We’re all coming to Spa to learn, and you never know what this might lead to in the future.”
Founded by Jonathan Moury and Mark Pilcher in 2010, and now co-owned with Spa 24 Hours-winning Engineer Elise Moury, M2 Competition is the most successful single-seater team in New Zealand motor racing of the past decade.
They have won the Toyota Racing Series 10 times, including five Drivers’ titles with Nick Cassidy (2013), Lance Stroll (2015), Lando Norris (2016), Robert Shwartzman (2018) and Liam Lawson (2019) and have an unrivalled reputation in the series.
Further notable alumnus includes Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber, Sebring 12 Hours victor Alex Lynn, Super GT champion Nick Cassidy and Blancpain GT racing star Raffaele Marciello. In 2019 M2 also enter the Formula Renault Eurocup Cup and the British GT Championship from their European base in Brussels; adding two European programmes alongside their TRS campaign.