Aston Martin has confirmed the 23 drivers who will participate in the 2019 Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy – the recently-announced season-long initiative designed to fast-track talent and stimulate healthy competition within the AMR customer network.
Since its launch last September, the AMR Driver Academy received a large number of applications from drivers around the world, aged between 17 and 25, who signed to customer teams racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 or GT4s this season. From this group, a judging panel that includes three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Darren Turner (GB), works FIA World Endurance Championship drivers Jonny Adam (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL) as well as Aston Martin Racing team principal Paul Howarth, selected the successful applicants who will compete for the prize of an Aston Martin Racing Junior contract in 2020.
The selection process included a comprehensive series of interviews with the judges at Aston Martin Racing’s headquarters in Banbury, near Oxford, last month. The candidates were put through a set of stringent examinations, including simulator tests at Base Performance and a fitness assessment with Boomerang Pro Fitness. The result is a highly competitive field of drivers with representation from 12 countries including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The Academy drivers will continue to be assessed through the year, based on their on-track performances in their chosen GT3 and GT4 championships as well as off-track assessments. They will also attend seminars that focus on driver performance, simulator work, engineering and technical analysis and marketing and PR. Each driver will have access to nominated mentors, including Aston Martin’s newly-promoted Junior drivers Charlie Eastwood and Andrew Watson who are also both on the judging panel.
Finally, at the season’s close, the judges will decide on a winner based on the following criteria: pace, consistency, technical feedback, team work, strategy, fitness, PR and commercial awareness and their overall approach.
Aston Martin Racing President David King said: “We were highly impressed by the standard of the candidates that attended the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy assessment days. All those who have been selected thoroughly deserve this opportunity. Their performances during the assessment highlights the strength and professionalism of the drivers we have racing in our customer teams around the world.
“The Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy is an important first step on a pathway to success within our organisation. With the recent promotion of Charlie Eastwood and Andrew Watson to Junior status, and former Academy winner Ross Gunn as reserve driver for the FIA WEC team, we now have talented individuals at all stages of the driving ladder within the team. The Academy allows us to draw on significant pool of talent to continue to supply that success ladder.”