Hot off the back of a stunning GTD class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona last month, Aston Martin’s ultra-successful, multiple championship-winning Vantage returns to the international motorsport arena for the opening rounds of the 2023 Asian Le Mans Series, which kicks-off at the Dubai Autodrome this weekend.
No less than five Vantage GT3s, all based on the ultra-luxury British sportscar brand’s critically acclaimed roadgoing version that shares the same aluminium chassis and four-litre V8 turbocharged engine, are entered for the four-race, two-event series in Dubai and then Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit the following weekend.
The quintet of Vantages are prepared by four Aston Martin Racing [AMR] partner teams in attendance, and they will be fully supported by Aston Martin Racing’s Asian regional distributor, Motorsports Services AMR Asia. Spearheading those four teams will be D’station Racing and Viper Niza Racing’s operations. FIA World Endurance Championship LMGTE-Am champions and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner TF Sport has entered two cars (and will assist D’station Racing as it does in WEC), while AMR’s Spanish distributor and team, Bullitt Racing, will make its series debut in Dubai.
Japanese squad, FIA WEC GTELM Am class front-runner and previous Asian Le Mans Series race-winner D’station Racing, will field its #77 Vantage GT3 for team owner Satoshi Hoshino (JPN), Tomonobu Fujii (JPN), and Charlie Fagg (GBR). Viper Niza Racing meanwhile makes its Aston Martin debut in the Asian Le Mans Series with its regular Thailand Super Series line-up that comprises team owner Douglas Khoo (MAL) and team-mate Dominic Ang (MAL).
TF Sport returns to the series with its 2023 European Le Mans Series line-up of John Hartshorne (GB), double 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and works driver Jonny Adam (GB) and reigning FIA WEC GTELM Am vice-champion and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Henrique Chaves in the #95 Vantage. Joining them in the team is long-time Chinese GT Aston Martin racer David Pun, racing under a Chinese flag, in the #61 car. He will be partnered by IMSA GTD Pro race winner and works driver Ross Gunn (GBR), who raced alongside Pun in the Chinese series in 2019. Adrian Henry D’Silva (MAL) will also drive in the car.
Bullitt Racing, a 2022 Le Mans Cup front-runner makes its debut in this year’s Asian Le Mans Series and brings with it a very strong driver line-up comprising Martin Berry (CDN), Jacob Riegel (DEU) and works driver Valentin Hasse Clot (FRA).
Huw Tasker, Head of AMR Partner Racing, said: “Interest from the Asian sector of the motorsport market is growing phenomenally quickly, particularly in GT racing. We know from other areas of international motorsport that Vantage is a highly competitive proposition in the hands of professional drivers, aspiring amateurs and gentleman racers alike and this year’s Asian Le Mans Series is another opportunity for us to prove that is the case. It’s fantastic to see D’station Racing and Viper Niza leading the charge for Aston Martin in the Asian Le Mans Series, and we’re certain that also having very strong entries from TF Sport and Bullitt Racing Vantage is very well represented in Dubai this weekend, and next week in Abu Dhabi.”
The Asian Le Mans Series will be contested over two consecutive weekends, with the first two four-hours races taking place in Dubai on Saturday, 11 February at 1500 (+4 hours GMT) and Sunday 12 February at 1500 (+4 hours GMT). The final two rounds will take place at the Yas Marina Grand Prix circuit in Abu Dhabi on Saturday 18 February and Sunday 19 February.
Free practice begins on Friday with GT class qualifying for Round 1 and 2 taking place on Saturday 11 February at 1040 (+4 Hours GMT).