Aston Martin will begin its Grand-Am campaign on Friday (January 27th) during the first round of the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) at the Daytona International Speedway.
Making a return to domestic competition in North America, Aston Martin Racing has joined forces with Toronto-based Multimatic Motorsports to enter a pair of Vantage GT4s in the Grand American Road Racing series.
Multimatic stalwarts and proven race-winners Scott Maxwell and Joe Foster will drive the lead car, while Hollywood movie star Patrick Dempsey, a talented racer in his own right, will drive the second car. Chris Porritt, Aston Martin's Chief Engineer and vastly experienced Vantage GT4 driver, will compete alongside Dempsey in a one-off guest appearance.
The first round of the 2012 CTSCC will run in support of the 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona, running for two and a half hours with a mandatory driver change. The team will compete in the headlining Grand Sport category, which is contested by six- and eight-cylinder production-derived sports cars. The opening round of the championship follows a highly successful three-day test session earlier in the month, during which the newly delivered Vantage GT4 thoroughly impressed the Multimatic team having set encouraging lap times.
Multimatic has vast experience of the CTSCC having won the championship three times (2002, 2005 and 2008) since the series' 2000 inauguration. The Vantage GT4, meanwhile, has numerous 24 Hour class victories to its credit, as well as the 2010 European GT4 Cup title and back-to-back championship victories in the Nürburgring-based VLN series in 2010 and 2011. Sharing the road-going Aston Martin V8 Vantage's bonded aluminium chassis, 4.7-litre engine and suspension design, the Vantage GT4 also has established itself as Europe's most successful GT4 car with an unsurpassed record for reliability. The Vantage GT4 cars for the CTSCC have been modified in key areas from standard 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.
David King, Aston Martin's Head of Motorsport said: ";The first round of the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Daytona will see Aston Martin realise a long-held desire to have the Vantage GT4 competing regularly in North America. Aston Martin Racing has built and sold nearly 100 Vantage GT4s since we raced the first one at the Nürburgring 24 Hour race in 2006, and it's great to be present at last in such an important market with such a strong and experienced partner as Multimatic."
Larry Holt, Vice President of Multimatic Engineering added: "My team have been hugely impressed by the build quality of the cars as received from Aston Martin Racing and we are very proud to be appointed as the official team to run the Vantage GT4s in the Grand-Am series throughout 2012. Our drivers love the car already and I'm sure they will be a big hit with the race fans, too."
Multimatic will also take on the responsibility of supplying Grand-Am specification Vantage GT4s and providing spares and technical support to North American customer teams as Aston Martin Racing's official Grand-Am representative.
The race gets underway at midday (1200hrs) local time after a qualifying session on Thursday, 26th January. Aston Martin Racing updates can be found during the course of the race on Facebook at www.facebook.com/astonmartinracing and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amr_official.