Bahrain test
  • Aston Martin Racing continues with enhanced AMR Driver Academy
  • Programme aims to expand the pool of talent joining AMR driver ranks
  • Winner receives works support and assistance for 2021 season

Thursday 23 January, 2020, Gaydon. — The Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy returns in 2020 as the British luxury sportscar manufacturer continues to discover the next generation of GT endurance superstars.

The initiative, designed to fast-track talent within Aston Martin Racing’s thriving customer team network, proved a huge success last year. The AMR Driver Academy attracted 23 individuals from a range of championships around the world in 2019 and provided an unrivalled platform for learning and development with an established manufacturer. This essential initiative has been fine-tuned and improved again ahead of this season to more effectively coach a fresh crop of talent and effectively identify a future star to rise up the AMR ranks.

The AMR Young Driver Academy is eligible to drivers aged between 17 and 25 and open to those with planned Vantage GT3 and GT4 race programmes in recognised championships. And while the overall number of participants has been reduced to a maximum of 10 to allow more focus and scrutiny on each driver, competition for places is already proving intense.

The prize on offer for the successful graduate will be financial support towards their 2021 race programme, simulator time and fitness sessions and a TAG Heuer AMR timepiece. All the participants will receive individual mentoring from works drivers Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Charlie Eastwood as well as Team Principal Paul Howarth during the season. In addition to this, each will gain access to the works team on event, receive PR and commercial guidance and importantly, an increased amount of time in Base Performance’s simulator during the season.

Just as before, this year’s contestants will be judged on a wide range of criteria including pace, consistency, technical feedback and fitness. The judging panel will also evaluate drivers’ ability to manage the strategic, teamwork, commercial and public relations aspects of their role. Finally, the outstanding candidate will demonstrate the most potential to develop their talent for the future.

The 2019 British GT4 champion Tom Canning emerged top of the class in the 2019 AMR Driver Academy. The 17-year-old, from Bath in Somerset, who follows in in the footsteps of 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Jonny Adam and works FIA World Endurance Championship driver Ross Gunn, has since undertaken a test in a works Aston Martin Vantage GTE in Bahrain last December and will receive support from the factory throughout his campaign this year.

“Being a part of the Academy in 2019 really set me up for my test in Bahrain,” said Canning. “The Aston Martin mentors were a real help to me. It felt like being in a team away from my team and it was a great opportunity to learn and grow as a driver. The AMR Driver Academy has really propelled my career. For young drivers taking that step up from customer racing to a manufacturer it really helps set your sights on where you want to be.”

Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner Darren Turner added: “For any manufacturer it’s crucial that you are looking to the next pool of talent. What the Academy does is put young drivers into a situation where they can absorb all the experience from our designers, engineers, physios, marketing and PR departments in a rapid timeframe and develop them into fully rounded and prepared racing drivers. This scheme lifts the veil on how a professional manufacturer race team works and teaches you about all the various aspects of a drivers’ role outside the cockpit. If you want to make a big step in your career, then this will help you.”

Aston Martin Racing President David King added: “As the global boom in GT racing continues apace, so too does the quality and quantity of the emerging hopefuls entering this sector of the sport. Thus, the AMR Driver Academy has become even more essential, both as a finishing school for drivers aiming to make a career as professional, but also as a means for us to keep a close watch on the stars of the future.”

Interested parties should submit their racing CV to academy@astonmartinracing.com by Friday 28 February 2020.