Britcar 24 Hours winners Richard Abra and Mark Poole will move up to the Avon Tyres British GT Championship this season, their brand new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 being prepared by Barwell Motorsport.
Abra and Poole won the Britcar event at Silverstone driving with Michael Symons and Clint Bardwell driving a BMW M3 GTR, but debuted their new Aston Martin at the final round of the Britcar British Endurance Championship at Donington Park, Abra cruising to pole position before the tricky conditions during the race caught Poole out as he span out of the lead.
Despite their success in the BMW 2013 will mark a return to racing in an Aston Martin for Abra and Poole, the pair having competed together in the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge, Abra ending the season by being named the ‘Best Performing Driver’ by the Aston Martin Owners’ Club.
“For us, British GT has always been the aim of where we want to be, it’s been the goal for a while now,” said Abra. “Everything we’ve raced in so far, we’ve won in, but we’re under no illusions about how big a step up this will be for us. There will be a lot to learn, everything from the tyres to the competition. Our aims for the year are realistic, if we can get on to the podium this year, given the competition, that would be great. As for winning, it would be a nice surprise, but let’s start with some top-tens! The championship is going from strength to strength and while there’s a lot of competition this year, I’m ready and excited to get started.”
For Barwell Motorsport the news continues their long association with Aston Martins, having previously entered the marque’s car in both British and international series, including outings at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Spa 24 Hours. The squad also won the GT3 drivers’ title in 2006 and the 2008 series’ teams’ title whilst running the Aston Martin DBRS9, the previous GT3-spec Aston before the Vantage debuted in 2012.
“We’re thrilled to extend our highly successful relationship with Aston Martin Racing, and the Vantage GT3 is an exceptional car,” said Barwell team principal Mark Lemmer. “We worked with Mark and Richard at the tail end of last year and they were unlucky to not come away with the win due to a racing incident. We see big potential in them and hope to enable both drivers to achieve their exciting goals in 2013 and beyond.”
Abra and Poole’s Aston joins the Beechdean Motorsport example on the grid for the 2013 season, race winners Jonny Adam and Andrew Howard confirming their return to the championship earlier this week.