WATKINS GLEN, N.Y (May 16, 2014)…Today marks the worldwide debut of The Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America at the legendary Watkins Glen International road course in upstate New York.
A strong field of Aston Martin enthusiasts and race-aspiring sportsman drivers have answered the call of the new GT4 Challenge series and kick-off the first three-day weekend of competition in series history with opening practice today.
Not just the current Watkins Glen circuit will factor into Friday’s historic day of activities for the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge competitors. After today’s opening sessions, the GT4 Challenge drivers will travel back in time as they get the rare opportunity to follow in the same tracks of racing greats when they drive the hallowed ground of the original Watkins Glen road course.
Saturday’s on-track schedule at The Glen includes a practice session at 8:30 a.m., qualifying of the inaugural race from 1:00 p.m. – 1:25 p.m. and the green flag for Race One at 4:15 p.m. Sunday includes more practice and qualifying and the weekend’s second and final sprint race of competition for The Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America.
Jeff Yeakel, Series Director, has his perspective on the first-year series:
“The GT4 Challenge Series has shaped into an exciting new one-make series that can truly help emerging drivers learn race craft in one of the most exciting and stylish cars on the track. The GT4 Challenge series has been going strong in the U.K. for five years with great success. We have brought that concept to North America and are delighted with the response. With a few spots available for the rest of the season, anyone interested in coming along for the thrilling ride should reach out quickly to us.”
Comments from GT4 Challenge Series CEO, Kevin Buckler:
“We took a great deal of time to develop this new GT4 series and to bring the Aston Martin Racing North American program to the right audience. Now that we are off and running with the best Challenge Series schedule of any Marque in North America, we are receiving inquiries almost daily on our program. Racers from all marques and categories and Aston Martin aficionados alike, want time on some of the most iconic tracks with the new GT4, to see if they can take their driving to the next level and compete against like-skilled drivers in equal cars. Part of our popularity will also be the “fun factor” in running in our events and including fantastic lifestyle events throughout the schedule. We are here to race and we are here to have fun and our drivers and guests will love it. From spirited driving through the historic old town circuits, to a sunset schooner cruise and amazing food and wine events throughout. Our series will be the best in terms of quality track time and entertainment for our drivers. That’s exactly what we have created in the GT4 Challenge Series and our race weekend event and amenities are conducive to the Aston Martin brand, experience and lifestyle.”
Driver Development and Training at Watkins Glen International, Watkins Glen, N.Y
Director of Driver Development, Brandon Davis, and his team of instructors are on site this weekend to assist each driver in meeting their individual driving goals with the aid of post-race debriefs, data analysis, race craft development and much more. Driving coaches will help navigate the GT4 competitors through the nuances of the historic 3.4-mile long course of Watkins Glen International circuit.
Racers learn how to properly take the tricky braking/turning maneuver of Turn 1, known as “The Ninety”; the correct degree of acceleration to gain ground in “The Esses” (Turns 2-3-4); the fun and tricky gathering of corners known as “The Bus Stop” at 5a before entering “The Carousel” at Turn 5 with its late apex and nearly blind exit before arriving at “The Laces of the Boot” (Turn 6) where drivers can use the inside curb to create a little car rotation, especially if experiencing understeer; then the famous “Toe of the Boot” at Turn 7, the lowest point of the WGI track, and it’s challenging concrete patch, especially during rainy conditions; the importance of braking efficiency for the downhill of Turn 8’s “The Heel of the Boot”, which transitions into the steep uphill grade of Turn 9, the fun, fast Turn 10 to how crucial exit speed is at the final Turn 11 before the long straightaway across start/finish.
Live Timing and Race Information
View live timing and compare driver stats during qualifying sessions and both races this weekend. Race Monitor brings the event straight to your computer, tablet or smartphone with great detail and upgrade options. Live timing can be viewed by going to http://narraonline.com/live-timing.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. – Practice
1:00 p.m. – 1:25 p.m. – Qualifying 1
4:15 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. – Race 1
Sunday, May 18, 2014
8:55 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. – Practice
1:00 p.m. – 1:25 p.m. – Qualifying 2
3:55 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Race 2
Did You Know…
Watkins Glen International is one of the few that can truly make claim as a “Grand Prix” circuit. While many race courses and events often bill themselves as such, The Glen hosted the United States Grand Prix for 20 consecutive years from 1961 – 1980. For the majority of that time span, The Glen was the only United States stop on the international Formula 1 “Grand Prix” circuit that remains today generally regarded as the top-tier of automobile racing in the world.