Mark Poole and Richard Abra – half of the winning line-up from last month’s Britcar 24 Hours – are to step up to GT3 level in 2013 following a deal with Barwell Motorsport to run a Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Poole and Abra, who have campaigned the Britcar 24 winning BMW M3 GTR in a full season of the Britcar MSA British Endurance Championship (BEC) this season, culminating with victory alongside Micheal Symons and Clint Bardwell at Silverstone.

The pair will take delivery of the new car this weekend and start testing almost immediately with two days at Donington Park, with the potential – if both feel comfortable with the car – for a race debut at the final round of the BEC – the ‘Into The Night’ race at Donington Park on November 2.

However, it is clear that any event this year, and the 2013 season is very much a learning year for the duo, before a full championship fight in 2014.

I’m over the moon we have managed to put this deal together with Barwell to step up to a GT3 car,” said Abra. “It’s always been an ambition for Mark and I and after a couple of seasons racing in a Vantage GT4 and BMW GTR in a few different Championships, we feel we are ready for the challenge and what better Team/Car to do it with..? 2013 is going to be very much a learning year but I can’t wait to get started!”

Plans for 2013 include a step up from Class Two to Class One in the BEC, as well as appearances in both the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and at international GT3 events.

As well as running the Aston Martin Mark Lemmer’s Barwell operation, will continue its relationship with Ecurie Ecosse, running their BMW Z4 GT3 in both British GT and Blancpain Endurance Series. They helped the Vantage GT3’s predecessor – the DBRS9 – to a pair of British GT titles among involvement in running the cars all over the world.  

We are delighted to be continuing our ultra-successful partnership with AMR, and the Vantage GT3 is a car that we are already familiar with due to our ‘Partner Team’ status,” said Lemmer. “We would like to welcome Mark and Richard to the team, they have great potential as a driver pairing, and we are looking forward to working with them and helping them to achieve their goals over the coming seasons.