Based on a similar series that has been running in the UK for four seasons now, the new Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America will pit a field of identically-prepared Vantage GT4s on race tracks across the continent. The cars features paddle-shift transmissions, track-tuned suspension, central fuel tank, stripped-out interior with roll cage and racing-specific aero kit, to name just a few of the upgrades that bring the V8 Vantage up to competition spec.
The eight-race calendar kicks off at Road Atlanta in April and ends at Sebring in November, hitting Watkins Glen, VIR, Mont Tremblant, Laguna Seca and Road America in between. (The eighth race is apparently still being arranged and will likely take place in September.) Pirelli provides its P-Zero racing slicks in a series that promises gentleman racers a tempting alternative to the Ferrari Challenge and Lamborghini Super Trofeo series.
Gaydon, 18 October 2013 – Aston Martin Racing's North American partner team, TRG-AMR, has unveiled a new one-make series for the Vantage GT4; the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America.
The eight-race series, unveiled earlier today (18 October) at the final round of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) at Road Atlanta, is based on the successful Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of Great Britain, which is now in the planning stages for a fifth consecutive season.
Like its British counterpart, the GT4 Challenge of North America visits some of the top locations that the region has to offer, starting with Road Atlanta in April and ending in Sebring in November.
"We are understandably excited about this schedule and the quality of the tracks where we will be racing," explains GT4 Challenge Series Director LisaKay Foyle. "These venues are, without question, among the best road courses available here and we are very proud to be able to offer our teams and drivers the chance to fulfill their dreams of racing Aston Martins on these amazing circuits."
The Vantage GT4, like all current Aston Martin Racing cars, is based on the sportiest car in the luxury manufacturer's range, the Vantage. Sharing the same chassis, V8 engine and drivetrain, including the semi-automatic paddle-shift system, the Vantage GT4 has upgraded race-specification springs and dampers and stiffened front and rear anti-roll bars.
The interior has been stripped and a centrally-mounted bagged fuel tank inserted, which improves weight distribution and allows for twin quick-fuel entries. The car has the same FIA-approved roll cage used in all Aston Martin Racing cars, including the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) specification Vantage GTE.
The latest specification Vantage GT4 has a new aerodynamic package. This comprises an adjustable carbon fibre rear wing working in conjunction with a larger front splitter to increase downforce and enhance dynamic performance. With nearly 300kg of weight reductions and with than 400bhp available, the GT4 is the perfect entry to GT racing.
"This series will without a doubt capture the heart, dreams and passion of our Aston Martin racing drivers," comments TRG-AMR North America CEO Kevin Buckler. "It will reflect the sophistication and performance of the brand and provide memories of a lifetime in a competition that will be fun, but challenging. We have been working for months to put all the details in place and we are all set. The schedule is simply amazing and it was a personal dream of our entire team to race at some of the finest venues across North America and turn our race weekends into fantastic and complete lifestyle events."
The series will be supported by official tyre supplier Pirelli, which will provide Pirelli P-Zero racing tyres to each of the competitors.
"This is the perfect brand fit," comments Pirelli North America's Director of Motorsports Operations, Rafael Navarro. "We are both premium companies that complement each other extremely well. TRG's Aston Martin racing programme has been on our radar since they began. We are excited to support the new series and to come on board as the official tyre partner."
Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw concludes: "It is particularly exciting to see TRG-AMR North America make this announcement today. 2013 was always going to be a transitional year but what Kevin and his team have focused on is getting the right people in the right place to shape the future and now, with a terrific team in place, this announcement is evidence of real progress that will bring a great programme to the Aston Martin owners of North America.
"And, the GT4 has been developed for not only the GT4 Challenge series, but it is also homologated to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge. The H-pattern gearbox is eligible to compete in both the PWC and the Continental Tire Series Championship; both types of shifting mechanisms are eligible to compete in the new Challenge."
Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America 2014 schedule:
April 11-13 Road Atlanta
May 16-18 Watkins Glen
June 6-8 Virginia International Raceway
July 25-27 Circuit Mont Tremblant
August 29-31 Laguna Seca
October 10-12 Road America
November 21-23 Sebring International Raceway