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Spike in North American Sales “Just the Start” for Aston Martin

Number of Aston Martins racing in North America growing rapidly for 2020, beyond…

Photo: Barry Cantrell/IMSA

The co-owner of Aston Martin’s new North American distribution partner believes that setting up a support network has “rekindled enthusiasm” for the brand in the region.

Established in 2018, CSJ Motorsports became an official Aston Martin parts distributor and sales representative last June and has become the portal through which all new Vantage GT3 and GT4 chassis arrive into North America.

The company, which is run by the husband and wife team of Cy and Susan Jary, has allocated 13 GT4 cars to teams racing in IMSA and SRO America competition this year.

Previously, Aston Martin had a limited presence in North America with no cars entered into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship since 2015 and limited numbers in both IMSA Pilot Challenge and Pirelli GT4 America.

Construction entrepreneur Cy Jary’s ties with Aston extend back to his days working on the crew of De la Torre Racing’s World Challenge GT3 program in the 2010s.

Nonetheless, CSJ arrived in the paddock with relatively few contacts and little experience in the motorsport business, however, Jary reckons this actually helped the company in its pursuit of clients.

“I think our aim was to emphasize to all the teams that we were here to support them 100 percent, taking a more proactive approach to providing the parts and cars and making sure that we had engineering support,” he told Sportscar365.

“Everything to take some of the financial burden off the teams. That’s what we emphasized all of last year with everybody in the paddocks, both IMSA and SRO.

“It’s really helped rekindle the enthusiasm of people as far as getting back into the brand is concerned.

“I think [it was manageable] because we looked at it from a business standpoint, and we’re not racing, we’re specifically doing support.

“Susan and I said that we should set up a business model to run the parts program and the support, engineering and car sales.

“There were doubters. We had no experience, but we had no affiliation with any teams either so we’re not favoring anybody and that’s helping in the long run.”

Jary explained that CSJ offers an identical level of support to all Aston Martin customers in North America.

CSJ hired a new engineer for the 2020 season who will provide support to Aston teams at each event while some of the busier races will require additional technical staff.

CSJ then maintains a level of commercial independence on the ground, dealing with teams directly, although it also receives constant updates from Aston’s British base.

“Aston has given us the leeway to negotiate what we want to with the teams,” said Jary.

“We try to do what we can to get teams back in the brand. Switching brands is a huge change because tooling up is different from the support side.

“If they’ve been running Porsches they probably don’t have all the equipment to switch over to Aston, so we’ve tried to make it a bit more palatable for them to get into the new platform.”

For the recent influx of Vantages, CSJ first took orders from customers before requesting the cars from Aston Martin to be shipped over to North America.

“We’ve had such good demand here that it’s worked in the way that CSJ has found the teams and then come to us,” said Aston Martin Racing commercial controller Huw Tasker.

“But of course, it would be great to have some cars out here that are in stock and ready for people to buy.

“We’re not in that situation at the moment because we’re selling them as quickly as we can build them.”

Tasker added that the current fleet of Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and GT4s in North America “is just the start” and that he expects numbers to increase further.

According to CSJ, interest has been noted for two more GT4s, while the GT3 market has proven to be harder to gain commitments for because of the higher costs involved.

For example, The Heart of Racing’s entry into the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona class with a Vantage GT3 was orchestrated directly by the Aston factory, although CSJ will still be on-site for the team.

“We’ll see exactly where we get to, but this is just the start of a relationship with CSJ, AMR and IMSA and other championships,” said Tasker.

“We are trying to get as many cars over here as we possibly can. It’s such an important market for Aston in terms of racing and is also one of the biggest racing markets in the world.

“We are now seeing all the groundwork [from 2019] come to fruition with four cars in IMSA Pilot Challenge and more cars in SRO. It’s been really good growth.”

Old and New Aston Teams Pleased with Support

Senior staff from Aston Martin’s GT4 customers have voiced support for how the manufacturer’s updated North American customer racing program is operating.

Experienced Aston Martin outfit Automatic Racing was the first to strike a deal with CSJ, running two Vantage GT4s in IMSA Pilot Challenge last year.

Its team principal David Russell told Sportscar365 that the formal support network will be a “great aid” to Automatic’s full-season program.

Some teams have switched to Aston from other manufacturers, including Flying Lizard Motorsports (formerly Porsche), KohR Motorsports (Ford), Rearden Racing (Audi) and Stephen Cameron Racing (BMW).

Stephen Cameron Racing ultimately sided with the Vantage GT4 for its 2020 program in IMSA Pilot Challenge after sampling different types of machinery last year.

“One of the things that’s strong is when you buy the car, you’re not necessarily bound to then go and spend another $100,000 on spares because they’ve got bumpers and wheels here at the track,” said team owner Stephen Cameron.

“That parts program that they put in place is really attractive. They rolled that parts support not only here at the track, but if you’re going private testing, they have support for that too.

“It’s not something I’ve seen from other manufacturers.”

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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