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Aston Martin Names 23 Junior Academy Candidates

Aston Martin reveals list of prospective factory junior drivers for 2020…

Photo: Aston Martin Racing

Aston Martin Racing has presented a shortlist of 23 young drivers who will vie for a place on the British manufacturer’s Driver Academy program next year.

All candidates bar one will compete for various Aston Martin customer teams in GT4 machinery this year, with 10 racing in British GT, 11 in the GT4 European Series and one in China GT.

Ollie Wilkinson is the only driver in the cohort who is listed to drive a GT3-spec Aston Martin Vantage, with British GT squad Optimum Motorsport.

AMR relaunched its young driver program in 2018 after running a similar ‘Evolution Academy’ selection process in 2015 which resulted in Ross Gunn achieving full factory status and a role as the team’s FIA World Endurance Championship reserve driver.

The 23 candidates up for 2020 selection were hand picked from a series of interviews, fitness tests and simulator sessions held last month.

Factory drivers Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Maxime Martin, as well as Aston Martin GTE-Pro team principal Paul Howarth, formed the panel deciding which drivers made the cut.

The assessment will continue throughout the year, with the winner being chosen based on how they perform across various criteria including pace, consistency, technical feedback, public relations and commercial awareness.

Eastwood, Watson Named Factory Juniors

AMR has also announced that WEC racer Charlie Eastwood and former McLaren GT young driver Andrew Watson have been selected as factory juniors for 2019.

2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Eastwood stepped up to the WEC this season, co-driving the No. 90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE with Salih Yoluc and Le Mans winner Adam.

Watson, meanwhile, raced a Garage 59 McLaren 650S GT3 in last year’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and was also at the wheel of a BMW M6 GT3 in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe sprint competition. 

The pair will offer mentorship to the 23 candidates and will work with AMR’s factory panel to determine the winner.

AMR Driver Academy Candidates

Patrick Kibble (British GT – TF Sport)
Tom Canning (British GT – TF Sport)
Ash Hand (British GT – TF Sport)
Josh Price (British GT – TF Sport)
Alex Toth-Jones (British GT – Academy)
Micah Stanley (British GT – Academy)
Ben Hurst (British GT – Academy)
Connor O’Brien (British GT – Optimum)
Jack Butel (British GT – Optimum)
Patrick Matthiesen (British GT – Optimum)
Ollie Wilkinson (British GT/IGTC – Optimum)
Clement Seyler (GT4 European Series – StreetArt)
Julien Darras (GT4 European Series – StreetArt)
Jamie Vandenbalck (GT4 European Series – StreetArt)
Matthew Cowley (GT4 European Series – Academy)
Tom Wood (GT4 European Series – Academy)
Matthew George (GT4 European Series – Generation AMR)
Akhil Rabindra (GT4 European Series – PROSport)
Jeremie Lesoudier (GT4 European Series – PROSport)
Florian Thoma (GT4 Eurropean Series – PROSport)
David Griessner (GT4 European Series – PROSport)
Jeremy Sarhy (GT4 European Series – PROSport)
Yves Volte (China GT – BSEM)

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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