Ahmad Al Harthy, the reigning Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am Champion, officially launched his and the Oman Racing Team’s 2018 motor racing programme at the Barr Al Jissah resort in Muscat this morning, Monday, 5th March.
Returning to the world’s biggest GT endurance racing championship for a sixth season, the Muscat sportsman will compete in the new Silver Cup class – his driver grading having been changed from Bronze to Silver following last year’s title win – with his trusty Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 car.
Oman Racing’s entry will once again be engineered and prepared by British squad TF Sport, with a three driver line-up confirmed for the new campaign. Joining Al Harthy will be Euan McKay, who contested one event with Oman Racing last year, and team newcomer Charlie Eastwood.
Officially confirming his 2018 plans in front of gathered dignitaries earlier today in the Sultanate’s capital, Al Harthy said: “We come into 2018 off the back of an absolutely incredible season last year for Oman Racing. To win the Pro-Am championship in Blancpain was a dream come true, especially in the 10th anniversary year of Oman Racing. It was the culmination of so much hard work.
“Now we have an exciting new challenge awaiting us this year and it’s one we’re all very much looking forward to. As ever, the level of competition is going to be extremely high and the Silver Cup will be a very closely contested championship. It’s important for me to continue to progress, so racing in the Silver Cup is another step-up made possible by my incredible partners.”
Having been partnered by Aston Martin ‘works’ driver Jonny Adam to the memorable Pro-Am championship triumph last year, the next chapter of Al Harthy’s Blancpain career now opens with two new team-mates.
Euan McKay and Charlie Eastwood both make the move into full-time GT endurance racing from the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship, where Al Harthy himself was Pro-Am1 Champion in 2012. While McKay isn’t completely new to the Oman Racing team, he competed with the squad in the Gulf 12 Hours in December, Eastwood – the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Champion – debuts.
“Euan obviously raced with the team in the Gulf 12 Hours last year and he did a fantastic job on our way to a podium finish, so it’s wonderful he is with us for the full season in Blancpain”, added Al Harthy, “Charlie more than proved his talent in Porsche Carrera Cup GB, so I’m really looking forward to racing with him. I think we have a very strong, competitive and exciting driver line-up.”
Oman Racing will travel to Paul Ricard in France next week for the official pre-season Blancpain Endurance Cup test days on Tuesday, 13th March, and Wednesday, 14th March. Round one of the new season will then follow over the weekend 21st/22nd April at Monza in Italy.
2018 Blancpain Endurance Cup Calendar
Rd1 Monza, Italy – 21/22 April
Rd2 Silverstone, UK – 19/20 May
Rd3 Paul Ricard, France – 1/2 June
Rd4 Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – 26/27/28/29 July [Total 24 Hours of Spa]
Rd5 Barcelona, Spain – 29/30 September
Official Pre-Season Test: Paul Ricard, France – 13/14 March
Official Total 24 Hours of Spa Test: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – 3 July
Source. Marc Orme/Photo. John Patterson