Aston Martin Racing has ramped up its North American support network, having confirmed a new parts distributor and sales representative for the line of Vantage GT machinery.
The British manufacturer has contracted CSJ Motorsports for the program, which will include trackside support at IMSA and SRO Motorsports America events.
Previously, Aston Martin worked with Kevin Buckler’s TRG operation although the contract lapsed several years ago.
Aston Martin Racing managing director John Gaw, who met with Aston Martin Americas President Laura Schwab and Chief Marketing Officer Simon Sproule earlier this month, is bullish on their prospects of the expansion of its North American customer base.
Currently, only a single new-generation Vantage is in the States, with Automatic Racing’s Aston Martin Vantage GT4 competing in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
“We’ve got a new distributor there who’s not from racing at all, actually from the construction industry,” Gaw told Sportscar365 earlier this month in Le Mans.
“[They are] going to be responsible for taking all the parts around all the tracks for all the customers. I met with them last week.”
Gaw said he met two “pretty serious” people while on a visit to Sonoma Raceway during the SRO America round that could be interested in running GT3-spec Astons in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.
It’s understood one of the teams currently competes in Pilot Challenge and the other being an existing GT Daytona class competitor.
“The first thing they wanted to know is if there’s going to be parts support,” Gaw said.
“We’ve got that in place now so I’m hopeful that we’ll start to sell cars across there with that parts support.
“Obviously people can see the car is competitive now, because it’s running in a lot of championships, and had pole in British GT in GT3 and GT4. People can see that.
“It’s a long way in America from Banbury. You’ve got to be confident that there’s parts support there, so that’s what Si and Susan are building up just now.”
Gaw has ruled out any factory team presence in North America for the time being, despite comments form Aston Martin Lagonda CEO Andy Palmer on the potential of the current WEC GTE-Pro program moving to the WeatherTech Championship.
A 2020 North American program, according to Gaw would require customers to purchase the cars, which have been in high demand in Europe and Asia.
“It was always the plan to do that a year after doing Europe, but it’s up and running it,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll have some cars.
“We’re pretty full just now up until October then there’s some slots available for the start of next year.”
Gaw: A “Phenomenal Challenge” to Be Ready With Customer Cars for 2019
Gaw admitted it was a concentrated effort to have sufficient stock of parts to build its slate of GT3 and GT4-spec Vantages in time for the start of the European season.
A total of 60 cars have since been built, 41 of them being Vantage GT4s.
“It was incredibly ambitious, it was always going to be a challenge, and to get everything ready before the start of the season was tough, really tough,” Gaw said.
“We didn’t have all the parts available that we wanted to at the start of the season because we made some choices to build more cars for customers.
“We set ourselves a target to build a certain number of cars before the start of the season, there was more interest than we anticipated, so we built a few more.
“On top of that, we had a few cars that, before we got to the start of the season, were written off, so we had to replace them. It was a huge challenge.
“We never let anyone down so no-one’s missed a race, but some of the partner teams have had to deal with a small amount of spares. But we’re up to speed now.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report