British GT GT4 Drivers’ Champion Ross Gunn has won the inaugural Aston Martin Racing Evolution Academy, with the 18-year-old receiving a factory-backed contract with Aston Martin Racing for the 2016 season.
Competing against a strong field of young hopefuls, aged between 16 and 25 years old, British-born GT4 rookie excelled in the academy’s seminars held throughout 2015. Focusing on key areas such as fitness, simulator sessions, engineering, marketing and PR, a final group of six were selected for the Bahraini showdown.
After shadowing the Aston Martin Racing team throughout the FIA World Endurance Championship’s season finale, each of the six finalists enjoyed two track sessions as part of the official WEC rookie test, driving the 2015 V8 Vantage GTE.
Working alongside the team’s world-class engineers and mechanics, Gunn impressed on his first outing in the 2015 challenger. After quickly learning the Bahrain International Circuit, he demonstrated the all-round potential and knowledge base required for a successful career in GT racing.
“Ross has performed at an incredibly high level throughout the 2015 season,” said AMR team principal John Gaw. “His ability on the track, coupled with his attitude and enthusiasm off it, impressed us all here at Aston Martin Racing.
“We’re delighted to offer him this contract for 2016 as he continues to progress his career in GT racing”.
Gunn’s prize of a 2016 Aston Martin Racing contract, will see him compete in the British GT Championship alongside Andrew Howard in the Beechdean AMR V12 Vantage GT3.
With the progression of works driver and now WEC regular Jonny Adam, the opportunity provides Gunn with the perfect environment to further carve his own racing career with Aston Martin Racing.
“It’s been a fantastic season and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect outcome,” Gunn said. “The Aston Martin Racing Evolution Academy has been really supportive throughout 2015 and I’m really looking forward to building on everything I’ve learnt next year”.
Howard added: “Having watched Jonny (Adam) develop into a world class factory GT driver, it is very exciting to be involved in the development of the next generation.
“It was Ross’s dad who got me involved in motor racing so it’s amazing to bring the story full circle. Beechdean will be continuing its commitment to young drivers in 2016.”
Speaking of the announcement, Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Andy Palmer said: “Racing has, and always will, remain a key part of this great British brand’s DNA.
“It’s exceptionally important for us to nurture and develop young talent in motorsport and I’m pleased that we’re able to offer Ross this opportunity with Aston Martin Racing. I wish him every success in the forthcoming British GT season alongside Andrew”.
Re-launching again in January 2016, the Aston Martin Racing Evolution Academy will continue to support young drivers racing Aston Martins in championships worldwide. Applicants must be aged between 16 and 25 years old at the start of the racing season.