DAMAX And Ascari
The Project and The Progress
The deal for Robin Ward’s DAMAX concern to
run the Ascari KZ1R in the new FIA GT3 Championship has gone from
a standing start to an almost fully formed international racing
effort in remarkably short order.
looking for ways to step into the international GT racing arena
and, with our existing Ferraris will still be taking part in the
Euro GT Open series, which will support the World Touring Car Championship,”
said Robin Ward, at Silverstone on Sunday (with Aaron Scott, below).
“We were though looking at other opportunities
and decided to take a close look at the plans for the new GT3 series.
I went over to the series launch in December and spoke to a number
of people about the available options. Of course with years of experience
of running Ferraris, the first consideration was the new 430 Challenge,
and we also spoke to Prodrive about the Aston Martin. The problem
though is that we would be one of a number of customers for those
cars. The deal we eventually opted for with Ascari means we are
very much the lead racing partner, even if another team comes along
the very beginning, Ascari was very positive about the project and
Klaas (Zwart) was very approachable indeed.”
The news on both the car and driver front is very
good indeed – from a starting position where a two car entry
looked likely, Robin confirmed to dsc that a three car effort is
now “very probable.”
Among the confirmed drivers are Aaron Scott, already
well established in the Damax family, and another team regular,
Nick Adams, the World (C2) Sportscar champion in 1989.
Damax names are likely to be seen on the team’s strength in
the Ascaris too, but the team is still keen to hear from other suitably
qualified (and presumably budgeted!) drivers.
is very different from the other contenders for GT3 Series honours,
With a carbon chassis and body, it is ironically barred from international
GT2 contention, but welcomed with open arms into the GT3 fold. The
GT2 version is of course welcomed into the Spanish GT field and
is the version used in the Ascari Race Resort, on the race track
which forms an integral part of the facility.
5 litre V8 engine would have been more usually found in the last
generation of BMW M5 super saloon, but in Ascari tune develops a
fulsome 500bhp giving the purposefully styled 1.3 tonne road car
a 200mph top speed and stunning acceleration - 0-60 in around 3.7
seconds. In race car KZ1R trim, the car is lighter and sprouts an
effective rear wing, translating the already stunning performance
on the road into a more than competitive GT3 race car package.
The KZ1 will
remain a rare sight on the roads car with just 50 of the £235,000
supercars (KZ1Rs cost some £10,000 less) scheduled to be built,
70% of which seem likely to find a home in the UK. Other cars have
been ordered in the Middle East: Ascari Marketing Director Chris
Burton, in charge of the pre-production road car on display at Silverstone,
had just returned from delivering a customer car to the United Arab
The silver KZ1 attracted a huge amount of attention
amongst the trackday customers, not a bad shop window amongst a
paddock jam-packed with high end Porsches, Ferraris and a myriad
On track though it was time to get more acquainted
with the KZ1R. Nick Adams had already pronounced himself very impressed
with his new mount, the car pulling around 145 mph down the Hangar
Straight in the cold conditions.
DSC’s guinea pig in the passenger seat for
a three lap blast around the Grand Prix circuit was James Goodwin.
Nick Adams was given the instruction not to hold back.
was eager to show off the car’s capabilities – as we
left the pits he tapped me on the shoulder and said, I thought with
a slight grin, “Now I’ll show you something!”
took off like a scalded cat, the V8 going from rumble to scream
in quick succession as he threw the car through the gears. The car’s
pace through Maggotts was very impressive indeed and, with the exception
of a minor lock-up, presumably cold rubber the cause, into Luffield
One, it was just about the quickest thing out there, humbling a
couple of very quick Porsche Cup runners with ease.”
So how does the car compare with the Ferrari 360
for starters it isn’t as easy to tell how fast you’re
going in the Ascari. The Ferrari is all about noise, you can gauge
your speed well from the noise, this car just rumbles away, and
will take a bit of getting used to on that front.”
How about the
“Certainly better than the 360, the turn in
is fantastic, this is a very impressive handler indeed.”
So overall it would give the Ferrari a run for its
seems that way. I’m still getting used to it and it is a very
different car and it will take a while to dial myself in, but it’s
not a difficult car to drive at all. What we need to do now is to
confirmed that it's very early days with the new car, but he's looking
forward to getting stuck into the development of the Ascari.
it briefly at Donington, in the wet on road tyres. Sunday at Silverstone
confirmed that we have a very good base package: first impressions
are really good. We're testing for two days at Snetterton next week,
then we hope to be off to Spain for some warm weather testing."
that "this is a very big opportunity for me," and he can't
wait for the racing season to start.
What no one
knows at the moment is how the relative performance of the different
GT3 cars will be balanced out this year, by the FIA, but such issues
will be resolved in due course, when relative speeds are compared
at Paul Ricard.