Single-make customer racing series are an engaging experience for exotic sportscar-makers and their customers. Ferrari's Challenge series dates back to the 348 (succeeded since by the 355, 360 and 430, soon to be replaced by the 458). Porsche's Supercup series has been at it since the early '90s and Lamborghini launched its own Super Trofeo championship just a couple of years ago. Even Maserati's getting in on the game with its new GranTurismo MC. But despite its extensive competition in the various Le Mans Series around the world, Aston Martin has been decidedly absent from the spec-racing scene, the one exception being the company's Asia Cup that started in 2008. But that's all about to change.
To give the broad base of customers who already own race-spec Vantages a chance to get back on track against equal machinery, Aston is launching its own British GT4 Challenge. The series is open to the Vantage GT4 and N24, and will run this year at five tracks across the UK (including Silverstone) plus one at Belgium's famous Spa Francorchamps.
GT4-spec Vantage owners pony up a reasonable £12,950 (about twenty grand American) for the season, which includes hospitality, driving suits and full paddock support from Aston Martin Racing. Fuel and tires are extra, but Aston's trackside support will be so extensive that they'll even install a replacement engine on the spot in case you blow yours out. The 4.3-liter N24 owners feeling underpowered can also upgrade to the GT4's 4.7-liter engine to keep pace.
While the winner of the existing Asia Cup earn a fully-sponsored season in the FIA GT4 Championship, the British champion gets a crack at test driving either the Vantage GT2 or DBRS9 GT3. Now all we need is for Aston to launch a series in North America and we'll be set.