Vantage Eastwood as he signs multi-year Aston Martin contract
Charlie Eastwood has been elevated to the level of a full works driver with Aston Martin Racing.
The former Porsche Carrera Cup champion from Belfast has signed a multi-year contract with the iconic British car maker having been part of their Junior Driver programme alongside fellow Ulsterman Andrew Watson.
Eastwood is currently a title contender in the World Endurance Championship GTE Am class where he races an Aston Martin Vantage with Aston Martin partner team TF Sport. He and team-mates Jonny Adam and Salih Yuloc scored back-to-back wins in Japan and China in the current WEC series which splits over 2019 into 2020.
He also won the 2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup - Pro-Am with Oman Racing, finishing on the podium in every round, and recorded victory at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Now his success over the past two seasons has been rewarded by the factory, promoting the 24-year-old to full works status.
It represents the next step up the ladder for Eastwood who is fast-becoming one of the most sought-after drivers in International GT racing.
"It has long been a goal of mine to drive for Aston Martin Racing and since joining TF Sport for the 2018-19 WEC season, I've been pushing extremely hard to showcase what I can do on and off the track. This has resulted in race victories and podiums for the team," he said.
"I am delighted to sign a factory contract with Aston Martin Racing, who have supported me throughout my endurance racing career, and I'm really excited that they have shown such faith in me."
Eastwood and the TF Sport missed out in last week's WEC round in Bahrain where Watson recorded his first podium finish in the series, taking third place for Gulf Racing. Their Vantage was forced into retirement late in the race with a fuel issue but they are still in the fight for the GTE-AM title.
In the New Year they move on to Texas for the next round at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin.
Meanwhile, the Ulster Automobile Club's appositely named Not the Boxing Day Rally - it takes place on December 27 - has again attracted a capacity entry ranging across all disciplines of motorsport including autotest specialists like Steven Ferguson, who was runner-up last year behind Matthew Mason, to special stage rally stars like Robert Woodside and William Creighton.
It will again be based at Edenmore Golf Club in Magheralin.