Aston Martin heads to North America with Vantage GT4
After five successful seasons in Europe and elsewhere around the world, Aston Martin’s Vantage GT4 racer will at last be seen in domestic competition in North America as Multimatic Motorsports is appointed by Aston Martin Racing as its official partner to campaign two cars in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) for 2012.
Toronto-based Multimatic Motorsports has won the championship three times (2002, 2005 and 2008) since the series’ 2000 inauguration, giving the team the requisite experience and expertise to mount a competitive title bid this season. The lead car will be driven by Multimatic regulars and proven race-winners Scott Maxwell and Joe Foster. Hollywood movie star Patrick Dempsey, a talented racer in his own right, will drive the second car, partnered in the opening round of the series by Aston Martin Chief Engineer and vastly experienced Vantage GT4 racer Chris Porritt.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is run by the Grand American Road Racing Organization. The 2012 calendar takes in some of North America’s most iconic circuits over ten races, which run for two and a half hours with a mandatory driver change. The series kicked off with an official test session at the Daytona International Speedway on January 6-8, ahead of the prestigious opening round at the same circuit on January 27, which will be held as a support race to the legendary Rolex 24 at Daytona. Aston Martin will compete in the headlining Grand Sport category, which is contested by six- and eight-cylinder production-derived sports cars.
The Aston Martin Vantage GT4 was born out of the company’s successful entry of an almost standard V8 Vantage in the 2006 Nürburgring 24 hour race. It is still closely based on the V8 Vantage road car, sharing its bonded aluminium chassis, 4.7-litre V8 engine, manual transmission and suspension design. With numerous 24 Hour class victories, the 2010 European GT4 Cup title, back-to-back championship victories in the Nürburgring-based VLN series in 2010 and 2011, an unsurpassed record for reliability and nearly one hundred examples produced to date, it has established itself as Europe’s most successful GT4 car and will undoubtedly be a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The Vantage GT4 cars for the CTSCC have been modified in key areas from standard FIA 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.
Aston Martin has enjoyed a long association with Multimatic. The Canadian outfit produces the carbon fibre chassis for the exclusive One-77 supercar, as well as carbon fibre components for the V12 Vantage Zagato. Furthermore, Multimatic’s UK-based four-post test rig is regularly utilised by both road and racing Aston Martins for suspension development. In addition to campaigning the two official Vantage GT4 entries, Multimatic will take on the further responsibility of supplying Grand-Am specification Vantage GT4s and providing spares and technical support to North American customer teams as Aston Martin Racing’s Grand-Am representative.
David King, Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport said: “It has long been our desire to see the Vantage GT4 in regular competition in North America. In Multimatic we have a partner we know well who clearly knows how to win races and can help us spread the message that Aston Martins are competitive and exceptionally reliable as well as beautiful to look at. Not only that but Multimatic will provide the necessary customer support on behalf of Aston Martin Racing to allow new customers to choose the Vantage GT4 with confidence.”
Larry Holt, Vice President of Multimatic Engineering added: “I am really excited about this opportunity. Aston Martin is a great brand making great products and Multimatic is proud to be a long-term partner – there is a real buzz about this project around the whole company. It may take us a little while to get the car developed to front-running pace, but for sure we will get there and make a strong challenge for the title.”
Following the season opener at Daytona, the series then takes in a further nine rounds with races at such celebrated circuits as Watkins Glen International, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Laguna Seca, with the season finale on September 28-30 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.