Aston Martin N24 makes Asian debut


Five drivers from the Aston Martin Asia Cup (AMAC) took the opportunity to enter their Aston Martin N24s into the latest round of the Asian GT Championship as way of a race warm up ahead of the start of the AMAC Championship which debuts on 23-25 May this year. Mel Choo (Singapore), Ringo Chong (Singapore), Dilantha Malagamuwa (Sri Lanka), Tunku Hammam (Malaysia) and  Max Chen (Taiwan)  sported their N24s at the Shanghai International Circuit on 19-20 April with excellent results.

This marked the race debut of the Aston Martin N24 in Asia and further heightened the anticipation of the forthcoming one make AMAC series.  Entered into the GT4 class of the Asian GT event, all five competitors were supported by AMAC technicians offering drivers and the AMAC team alike the chance to test their cars and organisation under race conditions.

Not only was this to be everyone’s first race experience in the Aston Martin N24, the weather conspired to ensure they would have some wet driving experience too! Qualifying was held in changeable conditions which made the tyre choice tricky. A shower halfway through the session brought everyone out on wet tyres. Ringo Chong took the honours of GT4 pole and was in a superb 6th position overall on the grid behind a gaggle of Ferrari 430s. He was followed by his fellow N24 drivers in 7th, 8th and 11th with Malagamuwa starting from the back of the grid having suffered an off.

By the start of the first race of the weekend’s double header event, the circuit was beginning to dry and everyone opted to start on slick tyres. Whilst a standing start may not favour the sport shift Astons, it took little time for Chong to scythe through the pack to take the GT4 Class win and impressively, 4th in the race overall. Malagamuwa valiantly fought from his back of the grid start to take 2nd in the GT4 class whilst Choo rounded off the GT4 podium. With Hammam and Chen also comfortably finishing it was a good start to the N24’s Asian adventures.

Race 2 was to prove dramatic before the start with the leading Ferrari team missing the pit exit window which saw Chong promoted to pole position! After another storming start by Singaporean Chong it was soon apparent the overall podium was the least he would settle for!

Taking the GT4 Class win for a weekend double, Chong was in stunning form to take 2nd overall. Malagamuwa was once again 2nd in the GT4 Class and was just shy of an overall podium finish coming home in 4th place. Choo enjoyed 3rd in the GT4 class with all five N24 drivers finishing in the overall top ten and securing a 100% finish record for the N24 on its first Asian race weekend outing.

The Shanghai Asian GT race clearly demonstrated the cars abilities and created much interest in the pit lane as well as proving a big hit with the spectators. The reliability and versatility of the car bodes well for the Aston Martin Asia Cup which kicks off at Shanghai on 23-25 May with series’ partners Michelin, Dura, Auto Media China, Racing Logistics International and Graham watches.