The Aston Martin GT4 Challenge will return in 2011, with an increased number of races and an expanded grid. The one-make race series which is fundamentally based around the V8 Vantage road car provides the first step on the GT ladder.

Following the success of the inaugural series in 2010, Aston Martin Racing has increased the number of races to nine, including two rounds in mainland Europe at Spa Francorchamps and Dijon, as well as introducing two longer, three hour races. The grid size is expected to grow to 20 cars, as more teams join the series in its second season.

The 2010 GT4 Challenge was won by the father and son partnership of Chris and Ant Scragg, who won every round of the six-race series. For 2011, Ant Scragg and fellow GT4 Challenge competitor, James Appleby, will step up to the European GT4 Cup where they will compete in a new 2011 Vantage GT4, running as the Generation AMR team.

The GT4 Challenge is open to Aston Martin Vantage N24 and GT4 cars, including the new enhanced Vantage GT4 for 2011. To ensure competitive racing, there will be mandatory pit stops and teams can have one, two or three drivers. Interest in the 2011 challenge is strong with six teams already signed-up.

“This year showed what demand there was from Aston Martin owners for their own one-make series and it is because of their positive feedback and their suggestions that we are expanding the series next year and including longer races,” said Aston Martin Chairman, David Richards. “I was fortunate to have competed at the Silverstone round this year and I fully intend to get behind the wheel again in 2011; this time in the new Vantage GT4.”

Despite adding three more races to the calendar, the entry fee for the season remains the same as in 2010 at £12,950 per car. The package also includes: Aston Martin Racing overalls; hospitality; on-event technical support; and a fitness appraisal with Aston Martin Racing Driver Performance.

Provisional 2011 calendar:

30 April   Silverstone (90 min)
14 May   Snetterton (180 min)
25 June Donington Park (180 min)
26 June   Donington Park (90 min)
8-9 July Spa Francorchamps (2 x 60 min)
6 August Oulton Park (90 min)
27 August Brands Hatch (90 min)
10-11 September Dijon Prenois (80 min)

About the Vantage N24/GT4

The Aston Martin Vantage road car was launched to global acclaim in 2005 and has since gone on to become the most successful Aston Martin of all time. Its handling and durability were honed on test tracks around the world, including the Nürburgring where, like all the company’s new models, it completed a 10,000km durability sign-off test prior to public launch.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage on which the Vantage N24/GT4 is closely based.

As a further public demonstration of its capabilities, a small team of factory engineers and technicians prepared an almost standard Vantage for the 2006 Nürburgring 24 hour race. With Chief Executive Dr Ulrich Bez leading the driving team, the bright yellow car took a remarkable and trouble-free 24th overall from over 200 starters. Shortly afterwards, to celebrate this achievement and prompted by numerous enquiries from customers, Dr Bez announced a plan to build twenty four cars to the same racing specification for sale to customers and the Vantage N24 was born.

The initial batch of 24 cars sold out rapidly and to date over 80 cars have been built. In 2009 the car was upgraded with the company’s new 4.7 litre V8 engine replacing the 4.3 litre and the car was renamed Vantage GT4. FIA performance balancing measures ensure both versions can compete on equal terms.

In December 2010, Aston Martin Racing announced the 2011 specification Vantage GT4 featuring a new aero package inspired by the V12 Vantage and further enhancements to the engine and ABS / traction control system.