Aston Martin Vantage GT3 racer Ahmad Al Harthy will make a very welcome return to competitive action this weekend, 17th/18th October, at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium with an unexpected debut in the International GT Open.
Oman Racing’s Al Harthy, who last month announced he would compete in the rescheduled Asian Le Mans Series at the start of 2021 after the global COVID-19 pandemic scuppered his planned return to the British GT Championship this year, will now be back on track much sooner than anticipated.
Partnered by young British driver Tom Canning, who will also form part of Oman Racing’s three driver line-up in the upcoming Asian Le Mans Series, double Blancpain Endurance Cup Pro-Am Champion Al Harthy cannot wait to be back in action almost exactly a year since his last race.
As always, the Oman Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 will be prepared by the renowned TF Sport squad headed by Tom Ferrier. The British team, with which Al Harthy has been affiliated since 2017, already competes in the International GT Open with an Aston Martin piloted by Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc – both drivers who have partnered Al Harthy in recent years.
“I’m really looking forward to being back racing after so long away and I’m delighted we’ve chosen International GT Open in which to make our first competitive appearance of the year”, said the Omani sports star who is supported by long-term partners Oman Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, National Bank of Oman, Omantel and Barr Al Jissah.
“The championship is known for its competitiveness, with some fantastic teams and drivers, and at the same time we’ve chosen it as it fits with our programme for the Asian Le Mans Series and is a great opportunity to get some race mileage under our belts. It’s a great opportunity to work with Tom Canning also, and I’m looking forward to Oman Racing being part of GT Open for the first time.”
In addition to Aston Martin, International GT open features a variety of GT3 manufacturers including the likes of McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari and Porsche. The encounters are relatively short in endurance racing terms, with one 70-minute contest and another which is 60 minutes in duration.
Spa, of course, is a circuit at which Al Harty has enjoyed huge success – not least as the venue at which he claimed his maiden Pro-Am Championship title in the Blancpain Endurance Cup in 2017. In the process, he became the first Omani and first driver of Arab origin to win a title in the globe’s biggest GT3 championship. He also took Pro-Am race victory in the Total 24 Hours of Spa last year.
“I’ve been following GT Open all season, especially with TF having a sister car in the championship, and where else would we want to make our racing return than at Spa?”, Al Harthy added, “It’s an amazing track, truly one of the best in the world, and we have had some amazing results there.
“The weekend’s racing will be more of a learning curve for us, and especially after so much time out of the car, but I hope we’ll be up to speed quickly. If we can get some good results from the two races we’ll be very happy indeed.”
Following two free practice sessions at Spa on Friday, 16th October, race one qualifying will take place at 10.50 (local time) on Saturday, 17th October, with the 70-minute encounter scheduled to get underway at 14.30 (local time). On Sunday, 18th October, race two qualifying will start at 09.35 (local time) with the 60-minute second contest following at 13.45 (local time).
Live streaming of the races will be carried at the GT Open YouTube channel HERE
Source. Marc Orme