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Aston Martin returning to GT World Challenge Pro class with rock star Beechdean AMR driver line-up

GT World Challenge Europe Testing Paul Ricard, France 7th - 8th March 2022 Photo: Drew Gibson

This afternoon Aston Martin announced that they will be returning to the Pro class of the Fanatec GT World Series Endurance Cup for the first time since 2019 with Beechdean AMR. Beechdean AMR’s return comes in the form of a two car Aston Martin Vantage GT3 assault on the world’s premier all GT racing competition.

As Aston Martin Racing’s longest serving partner team, Beechdean AMR has expanded and extended it’s collaboration with the British ultra luxury car maker this year with a return to fulltime top-flight international competition, fielding an all-works driver line-up in their Pro class Vantage. This will be the first time an Aston Martin has fielded an all-works line-up in the top class of the SRO run series for a full season, which makes a very clear statement of intent for a car that has won races at every other significant level of GT racing around the world.

The #95 will feature a return of the famous ‘Dane Train’ with double FIA World Endurance GT champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen. The two will not only be targeting a GTWC Endurance Cup title, but an overall win in the series crown jewel, the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Thiim, who has a Spa 24H victory to his name, having won in 2019 in the Pro-Am class with TF Sport, and Sørensen will be joined by works driver, winner of the 2016 event and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner with Aston Martin in 2020, Maxime Martin.

Nicki Thiim had this to say about the team, ““GT World Challenge, Beechdean AMR, Marco Sørensen, Maxime Martin and Nicki Thiim – what a line-up! It’s great to see Andrew putting a lot of heart into this project. He has a great belief in Aston Martin and you can feel the spirit throughout the team. This is a great championship to get into – it is the strongest GT championship by far. As a pro-driver, I’m really looking forward to the challenge. And together with two insanely fast team-mates I can’t wait to get on with a season that includes the famous Spa 24 Hours.”

In the Pro-Am Gold Cup, team principal, two time British GT champion and 2016 European Le Mans Series title winner, Andrew Howard, is making a return to international competition. With him in the #97 Vantage GT3 is newly confirmed Aston Martin works driver Valentin Hasse-Clot and his 2020 GT4 European Silver Cup championship winning teammate Theo Nouet.

Nouet had this to say about his new team, ““Making the step up to the Vantage GT3 is the next logical progression for me in my career. Having won the GT4 European title in the Vantage GT4 with Valentin, it feels great to be stepping into the bigger class with a car I know and trust alongside a driver I work well with. This is going to be a big year for Aston Martin in the GTWC and I’m really excited about being able to play a key role in this story with Beechdean AMR.”

For his part, Hasse-Clot is no slouch either having been an ever present partner in Aston Martin team line-ups since 2020 in both GT3 and GT4 competition, winning the 2021 FFSA GT Silver Cup to add to his GT European title from the previous year. The 26 year old Parisian graduated top of the class from the prestigious in-house Aston Martin AMR Academy in 2020, following in the footsteps of fellow champions Tim Canning and Ross Gunn.

Andrew Howard, Beechdean AMR team principal, had this to say about the announcement, ““As Aston Martin Racing’s longest-serving partner team, Beechdean AMR has a proud track record of success with Vantage. For me personally, it’s a brand I have always regarded with a strong passion, and this deep emotional tie combined with the ambitions of our team have culminated in Beechdean AMR stepping into the GTWC Endurance Cup. This is the beginning of a new chapter, and together with the help and collaboration of Aston Martin, we intend to demonstrate the full potential of Vantage in the world’s most competitive GT series.”

For their part, Aston Martin and AMR have always felt that there was more for the Vantage in GTWC. “The GTWC is very much unfinished business for Aston Martin, and while we have had competitive Pro series entries in the series previously, for one reason or another, Vantage has not always enjoyed the success it deserves,” Huw Tasker, Head of AMR Partner Racing, said. “With Beechdean AMR, and a superb driver line-up in both cars, we hope and expect to see a step forward in terms of consistent competitiveness and results. Beechdean AMR is our longest-serving partner and one we have always enjoyed close ties with, so we will of course support the team’s endeavours in any way that we can to ensure that Vantage establishes itself firmly as a competitive option in the world’s most highly-contested GT division.”

The five round GTWC Endurance Cup begins with a three hour race at Imola in Italy on April 3rd. It will then move to the Paul Ricard 1000km race in the south of France on June 5th followed by the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, July 30th – 31st. Germany’s Hockenheim has been added to the schedule for a three hour race, September 2nd – 4th, before the season finale at Barcelona on October 2nd.

You can follow all the action this season on and on the SRO’s official YouTube channel.


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