Bengaluru; 30thMarch 2019: Bengaluru based Akhil Rabindra was today announced as the only Asian driver to be selected to join the Aston Martin Raching (AMR) Young Driver Racing Academy, run by the racing division of the iconic British Automobile manufacturer, Aston Martin. The 22-year old was amongst 23 elite young drivers picked from across the world and will undergo a year of training and assessment from the Aston Martin Racing team in United Kingdom with the best performer of the year landing a reserve driver role in 2020 with the factory Aston Martin Racing team.
Akhil hit the headlines earlier when he was chosen from Asia Pacific region for the prestigious FIA Institute Young Drivers Excellence Academy in 2014 and then in 2017 when he was the only Indian to be selected by the McLaren GT Driver Academy.
The AMR Driver Academy was launched in September 2018 and received many applications from around the world from drivers aged between 17 and 25. The final group of 23 elite drivers, who now stand a chance to win an Aston Martin Racing Junior Contract for 2020, were selected by a group of judges that included three-time Le Mans 24 Hours winnerDarren Turner (GB), works FIA World Endurance Championship drivers Jonny Adam (GB) and Maxime Martin (BEL) as well as Aston Martin Racing team principalPaul Howarth.
A thrilled and excited Akhil after the announcement of his selection said, “I am very excited to be selected for the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy. Being the only Indian and Asian in this group of elite drivers gives me a rush of excitement and pride to be a representative of my country as well as my continent to embark on this very prestigious journey. I look forward to a great season of learning and success.”
The selection process for AMR Driver Academy was a mix of interviews, simulator and fitness tests. These comprehensive tests were undergone by the applicants at the AMR headquarters based in Banbury, Near Oxford, United Kingdom. The final 23 are highly competitive drivers, representing 12 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. These academy drivers will now continue to be evaluated in their chosen GT3 and GT4 championships throughout 2019 along with off the track assessments requiring them to work on aspects resulting in enhanced driver performances including simulator work, engineering & technical analysis and marketing & PR. These 23 elite drivers will have access to nominated mentors.
The drivers will finally be judged at the end of the season and a winner announced based on the following criteria: pace, consistency, technical feedback, team work, strategy, fitness, PR and commercial awareness as well as their overall approach.
Congratulating the selected young drivers, Aston Martin Racing President David King said: “We were highly impressed by the standard of the candidates that attended the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy assessment days. All those who have been selected thoroughly deserve this opportunity. Their performances during the assessment highlights the strength and professionalism of the drivers we have racing in our customer teams around the world.”
He further added, “The Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy is an important first step on a pathway to success within our organization. With the recent promotion of Charlie Eastwood and Andrew Watson to Junior status, and former Academy winner Ross Gunn as reserve driver for the FIA WEC team, we now have talented individuals at all stages of the driving ladder within the team. The Academy allows us to draw on significant pool of talent to continue to supply that success ladder.”
Akhil is the only Indian racing in the 2019 GT4 European Series driving an Aston Martin Vantage GT4 car for PROsport Performance. The 2019 GT4 European campaign will begin at Autodromo Nazionale Monza Italy on April 12-14. Akhil will drive the Aston Martin in the GT4 European Series along with his Swiss team mate Florian Thoma.