Ahmad Al Harthy is preparing to open a fresh chapter in his hugely successful motorsport career this coming weekend, at Oulton Park in the UK, as he begins his first season of endurance racing action in the high-profile Avon Tyres British GT Championship.
Having achieved his aim of winning the Pro-Am 1 class title in the prestigious Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship last year, the Omani wanted to embark on a completely fresh challenge for 2013 and identified British GT as the best place to develop his skills in endurance competition.
Linking-up with the reigning British GT Champion Michael Caine for his debut season in the category, the 31-year-old from Muscat will share a high-powered Porsche 911 GT3-R entered under the ‘Oman Air Motorbase’ banner.
“I really cannot wait for Oulton at the weekend, it’s going to be a fantastic experience and it’s very exciting to be embarking on a completely new challenge and adventure”, said Ahmad, “I’ve had two very positive pre-season tests, one at Oulton and another at Snetterton, so I’m feeling confident we can go into the first round of the British GT season aiming for a very competitive weekend.”
British GT has long been one of the globe’s most popular endurance racing categories and for the coming season has attracted a huge entry list of more than 30 cars, featuring the likes of Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, BMW, Aston Martin and, of course, Porsche.
Ahmad’s Porsche, which is specifically engineered for endurance-style competition, may look aesthetically similar to the car he raced last year but, under the skin, it’s a much different machine and one which has enjoyed a great deal of success at GT level.
While hopeful of mounting a challenge for the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship crown in his rookie season, Ahmad is also looking to develop his endurance racing skills as strongly as he can for the future where he one day hopes to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours.
“We have a new team for this year with the guys at Motorbase but we’ve already gelled really well and I know they’ll provide a fantastic car, just as they gave Michael [Caine] last season when he won the championship”, added Ahmad, “The car felt very comfortable in testing, it handles well and is obviously quick. Hopefully Oman Air Motorbase can end the season on top!”
Ahead of the opening pair of races for the 2013 Avon Tyres British GT Championship, Oulton Park will host two one-hour practice sessions on Saturday, 30th March, prior to qualifying at 16.30 (UK time). Both races will follow on Monday, 1st April, with round one getting underway at 11.05 and round two set to begin at 14.50.
Photo by Jakob Ebrey Photography.