Aston Martin Is On The Way To DTM. But Maybe Not In Time For Round One…
Aston Martin last October dropped the surprise news that is to join BMW and Audi competing in DTM, and as early as the first round of this forthcoming 2019 season. Aston in effect replaces Mercedes, which pulled out of the advanced German touring car championship at the end of last year, with four Aston Martin Vantages to be entered by Swiss team R-Motorsport in a joint venture with HWA called Vynamic. There is no shortage of expertise either, with HWA responsible previously for Mercedes’ DTM cars before entering Formula E this season as a precursor to Mercedes joining the electric series in 2019-20. R-Motorsport meanwhile raced Aston Martin Vantage GT3s with success in the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup in 2018. Even better, ex-Formula 1 driver and 2010 DTM champion Paul di Resta is confirmed to lead Aston’s DTM driver line-up, joined by Jake Dennis who starred for R-Motorsport in the inaugural Blancpain campaign mentioned. It also has just been confirmed that Daniel Juncadella and Ferdinand Habsburg complete the driving quartet.
However amid the effort’s launch, hosted by David Coulthard, at the team’s St Gallen base in Switzerland this week there was doubt about whether the Vantage will be ready to compete from the first meeting of the DTM season, which is at Hockenheim on May 4 and 5. A skeletal ‘art car’ was presented, as the actual car is not ready, and the team admits that, given the late confirmation of the project, making Hockenheim is touch and go. “Going to DTM for 2019 was definitely a stretch,” said R-Motorsport boss Florian Kamelger. “If we are [ready], and that’s still the question, [there is] a very, very tight plan to be on the grid at Hockenheim. If we are we will have built a DTM car in around 100 days, so that I think is a huge achievement.” Kamelger added that for Aston it made sense for a number of reasons to enter DTM this season, despite the tight timescale. “We had a team [HWA] which we knew is one of the most successful in DTM. We did want to give them the opportunity to stay in the DTM,” he continued. “Discussions with [DTM boss] Gerhard Berger led us to the fact that 2019 would be better than ‘20, not only for him but also for us. The next point is that we start the new regulation this year with Class One, which makes a lot of sense to go into that this year and not wait until the competitors gain a lot of experience out of the first year.”
The DTM effort is part of an expanded 2019 Aston Martin racing program, which also includes it returning to the Japanese Super GT Championship racing the new Vantage GT3, partnering with D’station Racing. The marque also confirmed recently that it is combining all of its historic motorsport activities under one new banner, called Aston Martin Heritage Racing, as well as has created a new racing series for modern classic Aston owners called the Aston Martin Heritage Festival Series.