Ahmad Al Harthy season review - November 2014
November 26th 2014
In just eight short years, Ahmad Al Harthy has firmly established himself as one of the Middle East's most talented sportsmen and Oman's shining light in global motor racing. Following a very successful background competing in Formula Renault single-seaters; Ahmad switched to the world of sports car racing in 2010 competing in the Porsche Carrera Cup GB Championship where he was crowned Pro-Am 1 Champion in 2012.
2013 saw Al Harthy step up to endurance racing partnering Michael Caine in the #1 Oman Air Motorbase Porsche 997 GT3R competing in the prestigious Avon Tyre British GT Championship. Ending his maiden season in the series fourth in the standings, Al Harthy returned to the Motorbase fold in 2014 as the Kent-based squad switched marque to the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. An extended two car entry in the British GT Championship alongside a parallel campaign in the highly competitive Blancpain Endurance Series proved to be a prudent move with Al Harthy and Caine taking two race wins and two podiums during the British GT season with David Bartrum’s squad securing the Teams Championship title.
MP: Making the move across to the Aston Martin this season – did you have any initial reservations about stepping away from the Porsche? Obviously both you and Motorbase have a strong history with the German marque.
AAH: "It was definitely not an easy decision to take, however we believed the move was for the better and it turned out to be a very good decision."
MP: It was another successful year for Motorbase in the British GT, securing its 2nd title in three years and another year in the fight for the overall title. What do you think is the key to Motorbase’s success in the championship?
MP: Was the British GT Title a realistic target for you at the start of the season?
AAH: "With Motorbase it’s very clear that whenever we go racing we want to win, and the target will always be to win Championships."
MP: With the team expanding to a two car operation in the BGT, how useful was that in terms of strategy on and off track/feedback and data etc?
AAH: "It always helps to get more track time and data, I believe having two cars helped us in every way possible and also secured us the Team Championship."
MP: 2014 also marked Motorbase’s expansion into Europe with a parallel campaign in the Blancpain Endurance Series – do you think that this helped the team to gel further in both championships?
AAH: "The only reason we competed in Europe was to make the team stronger, it is one of the biggest endurance championships in the world and we took everything we could from every race weekend and this helped us in British GT as well."
MP: Unfortunately the Blancpain campaign didn’t go as smoothly as planned or hoped for. What do you feel was the biggest challenge/obstacle to success in this series?
MP: What were your personal highlights from the season?
"Winning the British GT Team Championship and seeing the Omani flag represented everywhere we went."
MP: Is there anything that you wish you could have changed looking back over the season? Any regrets or disappointments?
AAH: "Every season has some kind of scenario that goes against you, but obviously Rockingham* was not in our control and that played a big part in the Driver standings."
*A mid-race safety car period cost the Motorbase Performance team a chance of a podium finish at Rockingham with the #4 Aston badly delayed when red lights at the end of the pit-lane were kept on in error, and Caine lost seven places as a result.
MP: What can we expect to see from Ahmad Al Harthy in 2015?
"If everything goes as planned we would love to be back and compete in a stronger position for both Championships and maybe one or two extra events."