Automatic Racing is set to be the first customer team globally to take delivery of the new Aston Martin Vantage GT4 ahead of this month’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season-opener at Daytona.
The new-for-2019 car will debut in the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge race, with Automatic’s driver lineup expected to be announced in the coming days, according to team owner David Russell.
The Orlando-based squad had two of its previous-generation Aston Martin Vantage GT4s taking part in last weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24, with the new car expected to be a third team entry for the season-opener.
“This is Customer Car 1,” Russell told Sportscar365. “We’re pretty excited about that. Nothing like a little bit of pressure, right?
“It’s definitely an honor. I have a lot of friends [at Aston Martin] so I feel a little bit of pressure to make sure we do all the right things.”
The longtime Aston Martin entrant will become the first customer to run the car, following its competition debut in last month’s Gulf 12 Hours with the factory team.
Russell said they expect to take delivery of the car sometime next week, leaving little prep time for the race.
“I know that it’s just going to be us learning the car and taking it one step at a time,” he said. “They had one development car that they put a ton of mileage on.
“They ran a 30-hour test with that car at Paul Ricard, they ran it in the Gulf 12 Hours, and then they’ve done probably ten or 12 other outings with the car at a variety of race tracks throughout the UK and in Europe.”
The team expects to purchase additional new-gen Aston GT4s to phase-out its existing machinery throughout the Pilot Challenge season.
Russell said the level of interest in the new car is high.
“They’ve got a lot to do there this season because there’s a lot of orders,” he said. “The car is going to be very popular and they’ll run a lot of cars in Europe, GT3 and GT4, across the board.
“People that are really tuned to GT3 and GT4 see that the car has really tested well and is going to be a nice piece.”