Muscat: Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 racer Ahmad Al Harthy says he is ‘very happy indeed’ with the first official outing of 2017 for the newly rebranded Oman Racing squad, after two excellent days of running at Paul Ricard in France this week during the pre-season Blancpain Endurance Cup test.
The 35-year-old, who will once again compete in the Pro-Am class in the globe’s biggest GT endurance racing championship, was joined by teammate Jonny Adam as the pair put the No. 97 Aston Martin through its paces.
Working through a wide variety of set-up changes and key areas of preparation ahead of the start of the new season, the test – on March 13 and 14 – went as smoothly as could have been hoped with both drivers enjoying a lot of very important mileage.
Notably, this week’s collective test alongside more than 50 other Blancpain Endurance Cup entries marked the first ‘official’ appearance of Oman Racing with British squad TF Sport looking after the engineering of the car.
Absolutely elated with the performance from TF Sport’s mechanics, Ahmad is relishing the start of his first season working with Tom Ferrier’s squad and is certainly looking forward to hitting the ground running when the opening round takes place at Monza in Italy next month.
“We had a really positive couple of days in Paul Ricard and it was good to be back in the car after so long away from the track,” said the Muscat driver. “The Aston Martin feels really good, it’s quick and handling very well as I knew it would, and the team is amazing – the guys at TF Sport have done a fantastic job with the Oman Racing car.
“We worked on a lot of different things, short stints and long stints, and prepared very well for when we’re back at Paul Ricard later in the season. We certainly did a lot of kilometres in the car over the two days at Ricard and I’m very happy indeed with how everything has gone. We can’t wait for the first round at Monza, we’re all feeling very positive.”
Ahmad, who is an Aston Martin Middle East and North Africa ambassador, is being supported during his fifth season in the Blancpain Endurance Cup by high profile commercial partners Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Oman Air, National Bank of Oman, Omantel, Barr Al Jissah and Amouage.
Round one of the ultra-competitive Blancpain Endurance Cup will take place on April 22 and 23 at Monza in Italy.
Oman Racing/Ahmad Al Harthy 2017 Calendar
Blancpain Endurance Cup:
Round 1: Monza, Italy – April 22-23
Round 2: Silverstone, UK – May 13-14
Round 3: Paul Ricard, France – June 23-24
Round 4: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – July 29-30 (Total 24 Hours of Spa)
Round 5: Barcelona, Spain – September 30-October 1
Total 24 Hours Test: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – July 4
Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup - Le Mans 24 Hours Support Race: Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France – June 17
Gulf 12 Hours: Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi – December 16