The resumption of international motorsport across the globe has signalled the start of the 2020 Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy as the British luxury sportscar manufacturer continues to uncover the next generation of GT endurance superstars.
The initiative, designed to fast-track talent within Aston Martin Racing’s thriving customer team network proved a huge success in 2019, and this year another 13 candidates have signed up to the AMR Driver Academy from a range of championships around the world. An unrivalled platform for learning and development with an established manufacturer, this essential initiative has been fine-tuned and improved again to more effectively coach this fresh crop of drivers. While at the same time, it has also been tailored to counter the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The AMR Young Driver Academy is eligible to drivers aged between 17 and 25 and open to those with planned Vantage GT3 and GT4 race programmes in recognised championships. The prize on offer for the successful graduate will be financial support towards their 2021 race programme, simulator time and fitness sessions and a TAG Heuer AMR timepiece.
Just as before, this year’s contestants will be judged on a wide range of criteria including pace, consistency and technical feedback. The judging panel will also evaluate drivers’ ability to manage the strategic, teamwork, commercial and public relations aspects of their role. Finally, the outstanding candidate will demonstrate the most potential to develop their talent for the future.
The reigning British GT4 champion Tom Canning emerged top of the class in the 2019 AMR Driver Academy. The 17-year-old, from Bath in Somerset, who follows in in the footsteps of 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Jonny Adam and works FIA World Endurance Championship driver Ross Gunn, has since undertaken a test in a works Aston Martin Vantage GTE in Bahrain last December and will receive support from the factory throughout his campaign this year.
Aston Martin Racing President David King added: “That there is a fresh group of talented individuals ready and eager to participate in the 2020 Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy, in spite of the difficulties presented by the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrates the value of this initiative and the importance of the junior GT racing ecosystem. It remains our mission to uncover the best young talent emerging through our customer network, so that we may both assist them in their future careers and protect the competitive prospects for Aston Martin Racing and the teams that race our cars in the long-term.”
Jamie Caroline (UK) TF Sport British GT Vantage GT4
Roman DeAngelis (CAN) Heart of Racing IMSA Vantage GT3
Cedric Freiburghaus (CHE) ProSport GT4 European Series Vantage GT4
Valentin Hasse Clot (FR) Garage 59 GT World Challenge Eu Vantage GT3
Robert Hefler (HUN) Virage GT Cup Open Vantage GT4
Patrick Kibble (UK) TF Sport British GT Vantage GT4
Kenton Koch (USA) Bsport Racing GT4SX Vantage GT4
Antonio Ledesma (MEX) Virage Ultimate Cup Series Vantage GT4
Connor O’Brien (UK) TF Sport British GT Vantage GT4
Theo Nouet (FR) AGS GT4 European Series Vantage GT4
Akhil Rabindra (IND) AGS GT4 European Series Vantage GT4
Nate Stacey (USA) KohR Motorsport Michelin Pilot Challenge Vantage GT4
Dan Vaughan (UK) TF Sport British GT Vantage GT4