Eastwood and Watson get Aston Martin call
In a significant boost to the standing of Ulster motor racing, Charlie Eastwood and Andrew Watson have both landed prized roles with the Aston Martin sportscar team.
They have been selected as AMR Juniors and set on a path to becoming full factory drivers. Their role will see them as reserves for the factory professionals, mentors for the 23 AMR Academy drivers and playing a vital role in the development and testing of new race cars.
Former Porsche Carrera Cup champion Eastwood has already spent a season with Aston Martin affiliate team TF Sport, racing in the World Endurance Championship and the Blancpain European GT series. In addition to his new AMR role, he will continue with the West Sussex team, which is headed by Tom Ferrier, and will be back in action at Monza in two weeks' time in their GT3 Aston Martin.
"Joining AMR is a real privilege and I will continue to work hard and develop my role in terms of test and development, but also in data analysis and mentoring of the Academy drivers," said the 24-year-old from Carryduff.
"I'm still relatively new to endurance racing but the results and pace have been good. I've proven my consistency over stints at a very high level."
Watson, from Donaghmore in Co Tyrone, has been part of the McLaren young driver development programme for the past three years, competing in the Blancpain series - where he has been a race winner - and in iconic long distance races like Spa and Bathurst in Australia.
But now he makes the switch to Aston Martin to join Eastwood as one of two AMR Juniors. "To sign with Aston Martin Racing as an AMR Junior is a hugely proud moment for me and a massive step in my career," said Watson, who is managed by former F1 driver Mark Blundell.
His 2019 race programme will be announced on Monday.