A manufacturer entry into the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli is a “really big ambition” for Aston Martin according to its motorsports managing director John Gaw.
The British manufacturer, which debuted its new-generation Vantage GTE this year, is in line to join the global GT3 championship next year, with multiple customer teams working on programs.
The SRO Motorsports Group-run series, comprised of five endurance races on five continents, currently has eight registered manufacturers for the 2019 season.
SRO boss Stephane Ratel has been bullish on the prospects of reaching double-digit numbers next year.
“That’s a really big ambition, and a big ambition of Stephane’s as well, to get Aston in there,” Gaw told Sportscar365.
“There’s a €60,000 entry fee, obviously. There isn’t any point paying the fee if you’ve not going people doing the whole championship.
“Up until now, we’ve never had people doing the whole championship because the new car’s not been available.”
Gaw said both Garage 59 and R-Motorsport are evaluating full-season IGTC programs for next year.
Both teams are set to take part in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, as full-season Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup entrants, with Garage 59 also currently entered for the penultimate round of the season at Suzuka in August.
Sportscar365 understands R-Motorsport could also contest the final two rounds of this season, although Gaw said Aston has no plans to lodge a mid-season manufacturer entry, which the SRO has permitted.
“I’m sure if they step up to do all the races, then we’ll find the manufacturer entry fee,” Gaw said.
Gaw has praised Ratel’s IGTC concept, which sees iconic races held at Bathurst, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Spa, Suzuka and Kyalami.
“Customer racing, or partner racing, is as important as factory racing,” he said. “At the end of the day, Aston Martin are trying to sell cars.
“A win in Bathurst, of course it’s not as big as Le Mans, obviously, but… Within motorsport, we all know the difference between Pro, and Pro-Am, and Am.
“Motorsport is quite niche, and people don’t always know the difference between R-Motorsport winning or TF Sport winning and Aston Martin Racing winning.”
He also indicated no plans to enter a factory team in those events, leaving it to Aston Martin’s customers instead.
“It’s as important for them to win, the customer program is as important as the factory program,” Gaw said. “It’s not like one is above the other, they’re both equal. And again of course, we never race against our customers.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report