Garage 59 will take on the mighty Mount Panorama Circuit in New South Wales, Australia, next week, kicking off the team’s first full season in the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
The team will run the #188 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the Pro-Am class throughout 2020 with the proven driver line-up of Alexander West, Chris Goodwin and Côme Ledogar.
For next week’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour the team has also entered a second Vantage for a Silver class driver line-up. Garage 59 regular Andrew Watson will be joined in the #159 Vantage by two drivers new to Garage 59, Olivier Hart and Roman De Angelis.
Dutchman, Olivier Hart is best known for his mastery of historic racing cars and has taken some significant wins in some very special, very high-powered cars. A career highlight came at the 2018 Goodwood Revival when Olivier, along with his father, David, won the headline event – the RAC TT Celebration – in their 1963 AC Cobra. Olivier also topped off a great weekend by winning the second part of the St Mary’s Trophy race.
In 2019, Roman De Angelis became the first driver in history to win both the US and Canadian Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Championships. The Canadian racer started out in go karts at nine years-old and never looked back, progressing through the ranks before making his car racing debut in F1600 in 2016, taking five wins and a ‘Rookie of the Year’ title. Alongside his Porsche campaigns he won on his prototype debut at Daytona, winning the IMSA Prototype Challenge race during the Roar weekend in 2018. He will race an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for the Heart of Racing team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2020.
“As a team we enjoyed the Intercontinental GT Challenge races that we competed in last year so it was an easy decision for us to commit to the full season in 2020,” said team principal, Andrew Kirkaldy. “We think our driver line-ups are strong and we have a season of experience with the Vantage under our belts now so we are more than ready for the challenge that lies ahead of us.”
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has seen some incredible action over the past few years and has become one of the top international endurance events for GT cars so the team is excited to debut its pair of Aston Martin Vantage GT3s against some of the world’s top GT teams.
Both Garage 59 Aston Martins will run in Class A, which is divided into three sub-classes: Pro, Pro-Am and Silver. The #188 Vantage will run in Pro-Am and the #159 will run in the Silver class.
Of the #188 crew, just Chris Goodwin is a Bathurst rookie. Alexander West made his debut there in 2018 and Ledogar made his Mount Panorama in 2017, taking a class podium.
In the #159 Vantage, Watson has the most experience after making his debut in 2016, whilst De Angelis and Hart are rookies.
“Bathurst is my favourite track in the world,” said Watson. “It has a great layout with lots of undulation and the people there really make it an incredible event. Starting the race in darkness and watching the sunrise is amazing. I’ve been quick there in the past and the Vantage GT3 should be well suited to the circuit so I can’t wait to get out there and challenge for a podium with my new teammates.”
The first practice session for the Bathurst 12 Hour gets underway at 08:40 local time on Friday 31 January. Qualifying starts on Saturday 1 February at 12:40 local time and the Bathurst 12 Hour starts at 05:45 local time on Sunday 2 February (which is 18:45 on Saturday 1 February in the UK). The full race and all of the Qualifying sessions will be shown live online at www.bathurst12hour.com.au/streams-tv/