Dual Blancpain and British GT bid confirmed for Ahmad Al Harthy

International endurance racer Ahmad Al Harthy has officially confirmed his return to the both the Blancpain Endurance Series and Avon Tyres British GT Championship with the highly successful Oman Racing Team.

During a special launch ceremony  yesterday at the Grand Hyatt Muscat, the 33-year-old announced the key aspects of his dual programme in the two high-profile championships where he will once again compete at the wheel of an Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3.

Also revealing his prestigious portfolio of sponsors for 2015, Ahmad will again be commercially supported by longtime headline sponsor Oman Air, the Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Ooredoo and the National Bank of Oman.

After a history-making year in 2014, where the Oman Racing Team became the first with an Omani licence to win the coveted British GT GT3 Teams’ crown, Ahmad is determined to add Drivers’ title success this season while also mounting a consistent challenge in Blancpain in the Pro Cup Class.

For the new campaign, he will be partnered by British duo Daniel Lloyd and Jonny Adam – Lloyd will share driving duties with Ahmad in British GT while Adam, who will be an on-track rival for the Oman Racing Team in the UK-based championship, joins the pair for the Blancpain Endurance Series.

“Last year really was fantastic for the Oman Racing Team so we are obviously aiming to build on that in our second year with Aston Martin”, said the Omani sportsman, “It was important to maximise our driving strength for 2015 and I am confident we’ve achieved that with Jonny and Daniel joining us. They are both great drivers and will bring a lot to the team, with pace and experience.

“Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my incredible sponsors so I am delighted to be continuing the Oman Racing Team’s strong relationship with Oman Air, the Ministry of Sports Affairs, Ooredoo and the National Bank of Oman. Their support is absolutely vital to our success.”

After switching to endurance-based racing in 2013, off the back of winning the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Pro-Am 1 title, Ahmad made an immediate impact and along with then team-mate Michael Caine claimed a maiden victory during the fifth race of the British GT season in their Porsche 911 GT3.

Going on to end the campaign fifth in the championship, having been in contention for the title going into the final weekend, for 2014 the Oman Racing Team switched to Aston Martin and enjoyed a superbly successful year.

“Winning the team title in British GT last year was incredible, especially as a full Omani entry, so this year we want to try and retain that and mount a big push for the drivers’ championship as well”, said Ahmad, “Blancpain is obviously another huge challenge, but we are determined to fight it out for the podium on a regular basis and be competitive against the big manufacturer teams and pro drivers.”

Impressive sponsorship portfolio central to Al Harthy’s challenge

Once again this year, Ahmad will compete on the international stage with the full backing of some incredibly prestigious commercial partners – in keeping with his position as a key ambassador for Oman’s growing sporting presence.

Each looking forward to another fruitful and enjoyable year of racing, with Ahmad central to their respective marketing strategies, Oman Air, the Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Ooredoo and the National Bank of Oman are again delighted to be supporting the Muscat driver.

Oman Air’s Usama Al Harami said: “Continuing as a prime commercial partner of Ahmad and the Oman Racing Team for 2015 is very important for Oman Air, especially with Britain and western Europe being two of our company’s key territories. We are once again absolutely delighted to provide our support to Ahmad in both championship campaigns and looking forward to a wonderful year.”

On behalf of the Oman Ministry of Sports Affairs, Fahad Al Raisi added: “For a number of years now, Ahmad has proudly represented Oman overseas through his motor racing career and he has undoubtedly become one of the Sultanate’s most successful sportsmen. All of us at the Ministry of Sports Affairs are incredibly proud of our continued support of such a great ambassador for Oman.”

Raed Dawood of Ooredoo commented: “Associating with such a successful driver as Ahmad in one of the most exciting sports in the world is very important for the Ooredoo brand. As Oman’s leading customer friendly communications provider, we are committed to responsibility and progress – key values which we share with Ahmad. This is set to be an exciting year with the Oman Racing Team.”

Speaking on behalf of the National Bank of Oman, CEO Ahmad Al Musalmi said: “We are very proud Ahmad is an ambassador of the National Bank of Oman and delighted to continue our long-standing support for his 2015 season. He represents everything we stand for, our core values of responsible banking and corporate citizenship, and is a fantastic role model for the youth of Oman. The relationship we have built over many years is key to helping us reach a very diverse customer base.”

Ahmad’s first official appearance of the year with the Oman Racing Team will be during the Avon Tyres British GT Championship ‘Media Day, at Brands Hatch in the UK this Wednesday, 25th March, ahead of the start of the season over the weekend 4th/5th/6th April at Oulton Park in Cheshire. One week later, Monza in Italy will host round one of the Blancpain Endurance Series on 11th/12th April.

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