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Aston Martin Names 15 Hopefuls for Driver Academy Prize

Group of 15 young drivers to be assessed in 2021 for factory support prize next year…

Photo: Jules Benichou/SRO

Aston Martin Racing has announced a fresh group of 15 candidates for its Driver Academy program that will identify a young racer to receive factory support in 2022.

The Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy is back for a fourth term this year. It launched in 2015 as the Evolution Academy, producing Ross Gunn as a works driver, before returning in 2019 to award career support and financial backing to Tom Canning.

After Canning was chosen from a group of 23 candidates, the initiative returned last year with GT4 European Series champion Valentin Hasse-Clot being picked from 13 hopefuls.

Drivers aged 17 to 26 who compete full-time in Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and GT4 cars this year are eligible to receive the prize of AMR support and guidance in 2022.

The latest cohort involves three GT3 drivers including Roman de Angelis who drives for The Heart of Racing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona class.

Garage 59’s Tuomas Tujula and former Bentley junior Nicolai Kjaergaard, who share a car in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup, are also nominated.

The GT4 candidates include reigning DTM Trophy champion Tim Heinemann, who is defending his title in a PROsport Aston, and ADAC GT4 Germany racer Phil Doerr.

Drivers have been drawn from nine championships across Europe and North America. Mexico’s Antonio Ledesma will compete in the Ultimate Cup Series, Kenton Koch is contesting Pirelli GT4 America and Matthew Lewis is racing in the U.K.-based GT Cup.

Half a dozen candidates are racing with and against each other in the GT4 European Series.

Four of the title-winning AGS Events team’s GT4 Europe drivers – Hugo Conde, Cesar Gazeau, Konstantin Laschenauer and Akhil Rabindra – are among the intake. AGS is also running French GT driver Romain Leroux.

Ruben del Sarte from Team Mirage and Paul Theyagens from Street Art complete the group of GT4 Europe competitors.

The total group of 15 will be assessed according to criteria such as pace, consistency and technical feedback.

They will be judged by a panel including works drivers Gunn and Jonny Adam, AMR President David King, managing director John Gaw and 2020 graduate Hasse-Clot.

“The Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy has proven itself a key indicator of talent in recent years, and we see it as a vital development tool,” commented King.

“As Ross, Tom and now Valentin are proving, this initiative holds great value both to us and to the drivers who participate, as we seek to build on the talent that exists inside our network of customer teams.

“We intend to continue this tradition as we look to support our partners across the GT racing spectrum in every way that we can.”

2021 Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy

Hugo Conde – GT4 European Series (AGS Events)
Roman de Angelis – IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (The Heart of Racing)
Ruben del Sarte – GT4 European Series (Team Mirage)
Phil Doerr – ADAC GT4 Germany (Doerr Motorsport)
Cesar Gazeau – GT4 European Series (AGS Events)
Tim Heinemann – DTM Trophy (PROsport)
Nicolai Kjaergaard – GTWC Europe (Garage 59)
Kenton Koch – Pirelli GT4 America (BSport Racing)
Konstantin Lachenauer – GT4 European Series (AGS Events)
Antonio Ledesma – Ultimate Cup Series (Team Virage)
Romain Leroux – FFSA French GT (AGS Events)
Matthew Lewis – GT Cup (Deranged)
Akhil Rabindra – GT4 European Series (AGS Events)
Paul Theyagens – GT4 European Series (Street Art)
Tuomas Tujula – GTWC Europe Sprint Cup (Garage 59)

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

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