If you’re wondering why Aston Martin suddenly has placed a greater emphasis on outright performance cars, look no further than the company’s CEO, Andy Palmer.
Palmer played a big part in Nissan’s growth over the past five to 10 years, and has been focused on elevating the Aston brand since joining the British automaker in 2014. He largely hopes to do that by filling all the gaps in Aston Martin’s performance lineup, and it’s now obvious why he chose that strategy.
Aston Martin tweeted Tuesday that Palmer will take part in the Hankook 24 Hours of COTA, which starts Saturday, just over a month after he earned his racing license.
“It is a real treat for me to take part in the race at COTA,” said Palmer. “I have a fantastic car, some great co-drivers and a top team behind me and we are going out there to try to win the SP3 class. It’s a fantastic circuit with some fast sections and some tight, technical corners and I know our WEC drivers enjoy racing there.”
The 54-year-old executive has amateur racing experience, such as Aston Martin Owners Club events at various tracks throughout the U.K. The endurance race at Circuit of the Americas, however, will be his first professional competition, as he tweeted Oct. 6 that he got his C Class international license.
Palmer should fare well in Austin, Texas, despite his lack of experience. Not only will he pilot the same Aston Martin Vantage GT8 that took a class victory in the Nurburgring 24 Hours, he also had the manufacturer’s 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning drivers Darren Turner and Jonny Adam help him prepare for his pro debut.