DTM gets a Merc replacement, in a roundabout way…
Aston Martin saves the DTM. It would have been easy to reach that conclusion when it was announced, in October, that the British marque will be on the grid of the German-based touring car series in 2019 (after Mercedes’ withdrawal). It’s not quite right, however.
There will be cars resembling Aston Martin Vantages, and badged to that effect, in the DTM next year, but they won’t be official factory cars. Or even unofficial factory cars.
Aston’s DTM entry is not conventional. There are multiple partners in the programme, but Aston Martin isn’t really one of them. It merely licensed the silhouette of the Vantage – and the right to call the cars Astons – to a Swiss entrant called R-Motorsport. There’s no money and no technical support.
R-Motorsport is an ambitious operation that has been competing with success in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with a pair of V12 Vantages run out of the UK by a combination of the Arden and Jota teams.
Its parent company, AF Racing, is a strategic partner in the marque’s Valkyrie hypercar being developed in partnership with Red Bull Racing. AF also has a link-up with HWA, which long masterminded Mercedes’ DTM assaults. It is the German company that will develop and then run the Vantages.
So Aston is competing in the DTM by name only. But its presence gives the series the third brand that was needed to guarantee its survival.