Romain Leroux graduates from Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy as search to find new Vantage talent continues
Aston Martin Racing has named its latest AMR Driver Academy graduate as Romain Leroux. The 20-year-old Parisian joins a growing list of Aston Martin star graduates that includes IMSA GTD Pro front-runner Ross Gunn, reigning IMSA GTD champion Roman De Angelis, works driver Valentin Hasse Clot and former British GT4 champion Tom Canning.
Leroux, the 2021 FFSA GT4 champion and a runner-up in last year’s ADAC GT4 series, stood out among the 22 candidates in 2022 for his extraordinary consistency in all categories and for his attitude towards the Academy processes, as well as his willingness to mentor other younger and less experienced AMR Academy drivers. The Frenchman now steps up to the Vantage GT3 in 2023, racing alongside two of this year’s AMR Academy candidates Jacob Riegel (DEU) and Jeff Kingsley (USA) in BULLITT Racing’s new GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup programme.
Leroux said of his AMR Academy graduation: “I am honoured to be recognized by Aston Martin for my success over the past two seasons. My objective when I enrolled in the AMR Academy in 2021 was to establish a relationship with a manufacturer. Being named the winner of the 2022 AMR Academy is a significant achievement that reflects my hard work and improvement as a driver. Now I’m looking forward to building on this with the Vantage GT3 this season.”
Aston Martin Racing has also announced this year’s candidates for the annual initiative designed to fast-track talent from within its thriving partner team network and is a way for AMR to contribute back to motorsport by investing in and honing future talent.
A unique and unrivalled platform for learning and development with an established manufacturer, this essential initiative is fine-tuned every year and improved to effectively coach drivers in the early stages of their careers. Competitors aged between 17 and 26 with Vantage GT3 and GT4 race programmes in recognised championships are eligible. The prize on offer for the successful graduate includes financial support towards their 2024 race programme, as well as assistance and guidance from the factory, tailored to their season plans. Further evaluation of the most outstanding candidates may also include a test in a Vantage GT3 at the end of the 2023 season.
The candidates benefit from a three-day seminar that includes media training with FIA World Endurance Championship commentator Louise Beckett, simulator training at Base Performance, a DNAFit assessment including a bespoke training programme and nutrition plan, Aston Martin Racing in-house commercial training and a factory-based engineering workshop to further their understanding of how to competitively set-up Vantage.
The judging panel, which includes three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner and 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona GTD class champion Darren Turner (GB), four-times British GT champion Jonny Adam, former Academy winner and works driver Valentin Hasse Clot, AMR Head of Performance Gus Beteli and Head of AMR Partner Racing Huw Tasker, will evaluate each drivers’ ability to manage the strategic, teamwork, commercial and public relations aspects of their role. Finally, the outstanding candidate will demonstrate the most potential to develop their talent for the future.
Huw Tasker, AMR Head of Partner Racing, said: “We are delighted for Romain, who has produced two outstanding seasons of racing in Vantage and has shown all the qualities and characteristics that made his predecessors stand-out as AMR Driver Academy graduates – and we’re certain that he will continue to flourish as a driver within our ranks through 2023 and beyond. As a mechanism for assessing and identifying outstanding talent within our partner ranks, the AMR Driver Academy remains instructive and essential, and looking at the list of candidates lined up for 2023 we’re certain that tradition is set to continue.”