Last year’s GT4 European Series Silver Cup champion Valentin Hasse-Clot has been named as the latest graduate from Aston Martin Racing’s annual Academy program.
The 24-year-old Frenchman will receive career guidance and financial backing from Aston during the 2021 season as his prize for standing out during a year-long evaluation.
Hasse-Clot won the GT4 Europe title driving an AGS Events-prepared Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and also drove the British manufacturer’s GT3 variant in GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup with Silver Cup outfit Garage 59.
Aston Martin’s 2020 Academy program evaluated a total of 13 Academy candidates with programs in Vantage machinery.
The initiative, which is in the second year of its current guise, is designed to pick out potential future works drivers.
Ross Gunn was fast-tracked to Aston Martin factory seats in a previous version of the scheme before Aston Martin relaunched its young talent selection process as the AMR Academy in 2019. Tom Canning was the first graduate and received support last year.
“Valentin has impressed greatly over the past 12 months,” said Aston Martin Racing president David King.
“Not just with his results on track, which speak for themselves, but with his mature, focused and inspiring approach to his various race programs in a very challenging year.
“He has demonstrated many of the attributes vital to becoming a valuable works driver.
“He finished top of an exceptional class, any of whom would have made a strong candidate for graduation, and I firmly believe that he has what it takes to be very successful among the ranks of works Aston Martin Racing drivers in the future.”
Hasse-Clot won his GT4 Europe title alongside fellow Academy hopeful Theo Nouet.
Other candidates included IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge champion Nate Stacy, British GT4 title-winners Jamie Caroline and Daniel Vaughan, and WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona driver Roman de Angelis.
“When I began racing Aston Martins two years ago, it was always my goal to establish a long-term relationship with the manufacturer,” said Hasse-Clot.
“Winning the Young Driver Academy is a great distinction that rewards the commitment of my partners in this project, and the tireless work of AMR customer teams Garage 59 and AGS Events.
“I am proud to officially join the prestigious Aston Martin Racing family, but I do not forget my short-term objectives – to continue to grow technically off- and on-track in new competitions such as the Asian Le Mans Series.
“I know that I will have all the tools to evolve, and I look forward to continuing the work I’ve begun with Aston Martin Racing. I can’t thank them enough for making my dreams come true.”
Aston Martin plans to continue its AMR Academy program this year with a new set of candidates.