Oman’s favourite circuit racer, Ahmad Al Harthy, came back to Muscat after securing an excellent third-place in the gruelling season-ending Gulf 12 Hours race in Abu Dhabi on December 11, along with his Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 teammates, Darren Turner and Jonny Adam. As he prepares for the new race season, the champion driver reflects and shares some thoughts on his sporting journey so far.
Falling for Motorsport
I used to play tennis and football as a child, but I developed a strong bond with motorsports when I was introduced to go-karting at the Oman Automobile Association back in 1988 when I was just seven years old.
From Hobby to Career
I took karting as a hobby, and I continued it when I went to the United Kingdom for higher studies. It was in 2004 that I took it seriously, as I figured in the regional competitions. The big step was in 2006 when I raced in Thunder Arabia Middle East Championship. Then I did three years of Formula Renault organised by the British Automobile Racing Club. I left it as a vice-champion in 2009. Then I did Porsche Carrera GB Championship from 2010 to 2012. I won the Pro-Am category in 2012. Then I went to endurance racing, and I found it as a competition that suited my style. In 2014, we moved to Aston Martin, and I was made the brand ambassador for Middle East and North Africa. I am happy to be part of the lone Arab team in the strongest GT3 championship in the world.
Frankly, I don’t remember my first serious competition, but I do remember the toughest one: a 24-hour endurance race that I took part in when I was 18.
On Setting Personal Goals
I began to set goals from 2006. I fought hard for the silverware. Circuit racing has been exciting me from the beginning.
Struggles Along the Way
I would like to forget the difficult stages of my career, instead I see challenges as big opportunities.
About the Fans
Social media has given me the opportunity to reach out to followers of my team. I am happy to see the sport is growing in Oman as more people try to understand its nuances. We have plans to give more fans the opportunity to watch us in action.
Advice for Young Drivers
It is important to start the right way. If you are ambitious, you have to begin with karting. Oman has got an excellent karting facility at the Oman Automobile Association, where you can sharpen your skills. You need good years of karting before moving to regional level events and international meets. Don’t try to climb the ladder too fast. Drivers who did it before, had failed.
On the Season Just Concluded and Upcoming Season
We ended 2015 season the best possible way. It was a tough season, but our performances were amazing. We got a podium in British GT, top-10 finishes in Europe. We wrapped the season in style when Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 trio secured an excellent third-place result in Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi. The positive results will motivate us in the next season.
Where to Practice
Motorsport in Oman & UAE
Oman Automobile Association
+968 2451 0239
UAE Emirates Kartzone Yas Marina Circuit – Kartzone Rak Track, Ras Al Khaima
Al Ain Raceway
+971 3768 6662
+971 50426 3424
+971 2659 9999
+971 7222 2128
Yas Marina Circuit – Kartzone
Rak Track, Ras Al Khaima