- V12 Vantage GT3 heads to British GT Donington finale as title favourite
- Factory driver Jonny Adam targets third domestic crown
- Customer teams commit to new Vantage GT3 and GT4 as interest soars
Friday 21 September, Donington Park: Aston Martin Racing’s V12 Vantage GT3 stands on the brink of a glorious send off as it heads in to the British GT Championship finale at Donington Park on Sunday as firm favourite.
The most successful car in the history of the GT3 category, the V12 Vantage GT3 has dominated the 2018 British GT Championship, winning all but two of the eight rounds contested. This weekend marks its final race as the spearhead of Aston Martin’s domestic customer racing programme before being replaced by the new Vantage GT3.
Notwithstanding this weekend, the V12 Vantage GT3 has been at the forefront of the British GT series since its introduction seven years ago, and has recorded 22 victories, 26 pole positions and 63 podiums as well as three drivers’ championships and two teams’ titles.
Two works Aston Martin Racing drivers, Jonny Adam and Nicki Thiim, are among those in contention for the 2018 title, while partner TF Sport leads the hunt for GT3 Team Championship honours. Adam who along with record-breaking Optimum Motorsport team-mate Flick Haigh leads the championship, is aiming for his third title to add to those he won in 2015 and ’16. Meanwhile Haigh has the chance to make history by becoming the first woman to win the GT3 class and only the second to become a British GT champion after Jamie Chadwick, who also claimed the title in an Aston Martin Vantage (GT4), in 2015.
Adam and Haigh hold a 27.5-point lead over their nearest rivals with Thiim and TF Sport co-driver Mark Farmer a further point behind. And while the Optimum duo go into the last round with a 20-second success penalty following victory at Brands Hatch, they only need to finish sixth or higher in class if either of the other two contenders should win to lift the crown.
Aston Martin is the most represented brand in British GTs, with seven cars entered through the field. In the GT4 class Academy Motorsport also has an outside chance to shoot for title glory on the last race for the V8 Vantage GT4, before it is also replaced by the next generation racer in 2019; two of which will be campaigned by Academy next year.
As interest in both the GT3 and GT4 soars, TF Sport and Optimum have confirmed they will continue with Aston Martin in 2019 and will expand their campaigns to include GT4 alongside their GT3 programmes. Meanwhile many orders have been secured for the new Vantage GT3 to compete in British GT and around the globe.
The car is expected to race in the 2019 Blancpain GT Series, while discussions are ongoing with partners in the European, American and Asian markets. The new GT4 is proving just as popular with Street Art confirming two cars last week and more announcements to follow in the weeks to come.
Aston Martin Racing president David King said: “The high level of interest we have received for the new generation of Aston Martin GT3 and GT4 cars is both encouraging and a testament to the legacy of the cars competing in this weekend’s British GT finale at Donington Park. Aston Martin strives to build race-winning cars that are easy to drive, robust, reliable, long-lasting and beautiful; as proven by the fact that the outgoing GT3 and GT4 cars are in contention for championship titles so many years after the Vantage’s introduction. The new car is already a marked step forward and it’s a tantalising prospect to imagine how it might perform next season.”
Jonny Adam said: “My journey with Aston Martin really began with the V12 Vantage GT3. In fact I was the first driver to shakedown the car back in 2011, and all of the success I have had in the British GT Championship has been with a car that has proved itself to be the gold standard among GT racing machinery. In all its derivatives the current Vantage has excelled and it took me to the greatest height of all at Le Mans in 2017. There’s a long way to go before the flag falls at Donington on Sunday, and a lot can happen, but myself and Flick would love to give the ‘old lady’ a send-off to be proud of.”
Nicki Thiim said: “I’ve enjoyed my first year in the British GT Championship with TF Sport. Even now after seven years, the V12 Vantage GT3 is an incredible car that is still full of energy, speed and power. To have won twice in such a competitive championship, and particularly at Silverstone, was something special. And to have been in contention at other races has been great, especially racing against all my Aston Martin team-mates. Now it’s time to give it one last blast as we fight for the title this weekend!”
The Donington decider begins at 13:35 BST on Sunday, 23 September, and will be streamed live on the British GT Championship YouTube and Facebook channels.