James Watt Automotive has announced that it will debut its Aston Martin Vantage GT2 in its home round of the Le Mans Series this weekend.
The team will use the final round of the 2008 campaign to officially launch its 2009 programme, with Alan van der Merwe, Tim Sugden and Michael Outzen sharing driving duties in the new car, which arrived from Aston Martin Racing last week.
The #93 car, which will become the first Vantage GT2 to race in the series, will complete a shakedown at Pembrey tomorrow [Tuesday] ahead of the weekend and its maiden race.
“Needless to say I'm excited that we're finally in possession of the car and set to go racing,” team principal James Watt said. “That said, we're under no illusion as to what we're up against heading to an international sports car event with virtually no track time under our belts. We'll make the most of tomorrow's shakedown at Pembrey before continuing our education with the car at Silverstone.
“We're very much looking at the long-term plan with the Aston Martin Vantage GT2 but in the short-term we're viewing this weekend's race as a competitive test outing, one which will give us a platform on which to build ahead of a full-time campaign in 2009.
“Silverstone marks the start of an exciting time for JWA and we're extremely proud to be progressing as a company as ambassadors for Aston Martin. We're certainly very keen to maximise the commercial potential that comes from being associated with such a powerful and iconic brand while showcasing our own company's championship-winning talents and delivering results for Aston Martin in the GT2 class of the Le Mans Series, probably the most competitive class in sports car competition.
“We've secured a talented trio of drivers for our debut at Silverstone and I'm looking forward to working with Tim, Alan and Michael for our only 'home' race of 2008.”
van der Merwe has long been linked to a drive in the car from the initial announcement that the team would run the Aston Martin and has run in the Vantage GT2 in the past, having taken part in an Aston Martin Racing run test at Paul Ricard earlier in the year.
Now however, the South African says he can't wait to race the car.
“It's been a long time coming but I'm really excited to be getting back behind the wheel and competing for JWA this weekend,” he said. “Our test at Pembrey's going to be pretty important so we can get into the swing of things and we can all familiarise ourselves with the actual running of the car. Silverstone's a great track, I've won there in the past and it'll just provide us with a good place to gauge the car's performance versus the Ferraris and Porsches in the GT2 class. It'll be good for the Aston Martin to get that level of exposure against the competition in order to prepare for next season's campaign.”
JWA will continue to field the #95 Porsche 997 GT3 RSR in the GT2 class, with regular driver Paul Daniels joined by British GT pairing Peter Bamford and Matt Griffin.