> R-Motorsport and Garage 59 fill four-car maximum at Bathurst
Aston Martin will make its debut as an Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entry at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour this weekend after becoming 2020’s eighth full-season manufacturer.
The British marque joins Audi, Bentley, BMW, Honda, fellow newcomers Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG and reigning champions Porsche at each of this year’s five long-distance endurance races on as many continents.
Aston Martin contested several events that make up the world’s only global GT3 series last season, and finished second overall at Mount Panorama thanks to R-Motorsport’s previous-generation Vantage. The team returns this weekend with two new Vantages entered in the Pro class, while Garage 59’s Silver and Pro/Am crews complete the manufacturer’s full quota of four nominated entries.
Its #188 crew also features a change from the event’s official entry list, which was issued last week. Garage 59’s Alex West, Chris Goodwin and Come Ledogar are joined by AMR’s World Endurance Championship front-runner Maxime Martin in a four-strong Pro/Am line-up.
“It’s really good news,” said Martin. “It’s a really late, late call but I’m super-excited to be going. I know it’s an amazing event. I’ve never been to Australia, let alone Bathurst, so there is much to learn. We are fighting for the Pro/Am class victory and looking at who I am racing alongside I think we have a great chance.”
R-Motorsport and Garage 59 will also feature at the remaining four rounds, although AMR are entitled to reassign their Intercontinental entries if they wish.
“This is Aston Martin Racing’s boldest attack on the Bathurst 12 Hours, a race that showcases the very best of what international GT3 racing has to offer,” said President of Aston Martin Racing, David King. “We have full confidence that the combination of our two partner teams R-Motorsport and Garage 59, and the growing competitiveness of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3, will provide a fierce challenge for honours in Australia. This line-up, and the quality of our partners, represents the perfect time to commit to the overall Manufacturers’ Championship for the first time.”
This weekend’s season opener is followed by Europe’s round at the Total 24 Hours of Spa (July 23-26) before the Suzuka 10 Hours hosts Asia’s leg on August 21-23. The iconic Brickyard stages the inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hour six weeks later before the Kyalami 9 Hour closes out the campaign.
Bathurst’s ‘Town to Track’ parade kicks off the event this Thursday before cars turn their first practice laps on Friday. Qualifying and the Pirelli Top-10 Shootout follow on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s race, which starts at 05:45.