2019 Aston Martin Driver Academy Roster Announced

By -

Aston Martin Vantage GT4

Academy winner will jump into the ranks of global professional racing with an Aston Martin Racing contract.

Last September, Aston Martin Racing announced their plans for the 2019 AMR Driver Academy as an effort to locate and sign the top talent in the world of road racing. However, the company wants to focus specifically on young drivers who are familiar and comfortable with Aston Martin vehicles, so program’s guidelines ask young drivers who compete in an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 or GT4 race car to apply.

After receiving a great many applications for the program, followed by an extensive application process, the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy has announced the 23 drivers who will compete for the contract with AMR for 2020. Based on a long list of criteria that centers on each driver’s on-track performance in their given championship, one of these 23 young racers will be the next junior driver signed to Aston Martin Racing’s legendary endurance program.

Aston Martin Racing Side

“We were highly impressed by the standard of the candidates that attended the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy assessment days. All those who have been selected thoroughly deserve this opportunity. Their performances during the assessment highlights the strength and professionalism of the drivers we have racing in our customer teams around the world,” said Aston Martin Racing President David King. “The Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy is an important first step on a pathway to success within our organization. With the recent promotion of Charlie Eastwood and Andrew Watson to Junior status, and former Academy winner Ross Gunn as reserve driver for the FIA WEC team, we now have talented individuals at all stages of the driving ladder within the team. The Academy allows us to draw on significant pool of talent to continue to supply that success ladder.”

The Application Process

The 2019 AMR Driver Academy is only open to racers between the age of 17 and 25 years old, all of whom are required to be a part of an Aston Martin customer team. In other words, all of the drivers who participate around the world in a Vantage GT3 or GT4 on private teams were eligible to apply, provided that they met the age requirements. The company received “a large number” of applications, leading to the next step of the process.

Aston Martin Racing Rear

To pick from the long list of applications, a panel of judges selected a group of drivers who were invited to Aston Martin Racing’s headquarters in Banbury, England. While there, applicants were put through a series of “stringent examinations” which included interviews, racing simulator seat time and a thorough fitness assessment over the course of the past month. With the information gathered during that phase of the process, the judging panel, which included three-time LeMans winner Darren Turner and FIA World Endurance Championship drivers Jonny Adams and Maxime Martin, picked the top 23 best applicants for the program. Within this group, 12 different countries are represented, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Aston Martin Racing Front

The Academy Program

Now that the 23 drivers in the 2019 AMR Driver Academy have been selected, their progress in each of their given racing championships will be monitored through the 2019 season. Their on-track success will be important, but there will also be off-track aspects of the program, including seminars that teach the drivers key points of driving performance, simulator time, technical analysis, marketing and public relations. In other words, the drivers have to do well on the track, but the Aston Martin Driver Academy will essentially teach them how to be great professional race car drivers off of the track as well. This phase of the process will also have mentors for the drivers to help them along the way.

Aston Martin Racing Drivers

At the end of the 2019 racing season, the judges will be one of these 23 drivers, listed below, as the winner, and that person will be signed to an Aston Martin Racing junior contract for 2020.

Team Speed - ASTON MARTIN

Join the Team Speed forums now!

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

Comments ()