Aston Martin will join the German-based DTM touring car championship, and could start racing as soon as next season.
The British firm will partner with R-Motorsport, which already runs Aston Martins in GT racing. The Swiss team has already begun work on a DTM version of the Vantage and says that it could compete as early as 2019 if development progresses as scheduled. The deal is largely a customer project, unlike Aston Martin"s Prodrive-run Le Mans GTE team.
The DTM runs for high-tech silhouette-style touring cars, built on space frame chassis and with extensive aerodynamic modifications. All the cars must be rear-wheel drive and feature 4.0-litre V8 engines, which produce more than 500bhp. Although based in Germany, this year’s 10-round series included a number of overseas events, including a race at Brands Hatch in Kent.
“This decision of a luxury sports car manufacturer such as Aston Martin is a historic event for our series and a milestone for the international orientation of DTM,” said series boss and ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger.
Aston Martin will take on BMW and Audi in the DTM and will effectively replace Mercedes, which is quitting the series at the end of this season to focus on F1 and Formula E. R-Motorsport has secured a joint venture with HWA, a long-term DTM partner of Mercedes, to develop, build and run the cars.
The number of Vantages the team will enter and the indentities of the drivers will be announced at a later date.