Having just moved from touring cars to GT4 racing, Jessica Bäckman has been named among the selected drivers for the 2023 Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy.
Aston Martin Racing named its new Driver Academy racers for the 2023 season, after 2022 graduate Romain Leroux stepped up to a Vantage GT3 seat in GT World Challenge Europe. Among the newly added talents on the programme is Jessica Bäckman, the only woman among the 24 selected drivers.
"Super happy and thankful to be part of the AMR Driver Academy 2023. This is exactly what I need to take the next step as a racing driver and to get a glint of what it takes to be a factory driver for a luxury brand like Aston Martin", Jessica Bäckman says.
Bäckman, 25, has just moved to GT4 racing after focusing on touring cars since her race car debut after karting: the young Swede has in fact climbed the ranks of national TCR series up to the World Touring Car Cup, where she made history in 2021 for becoming the first – and only – woman to have scored points at the top of the TCR pyramid.
Bäckman has claimed podiums in four different TCR series over five years, was the first woman to step on the podium at continental level and was crowned Vice-Champion in ADAC TCR Germany in 2022. During a driver shootout in Arizona, USA, Bäckman had the opportunity to first drive the Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and decided to venture into GT racing for 2023.
In her first ever race in GT4 machinery, Jessica teamed up with PROsport's Gabriela Jílková in GT Winter Series, and scored two second place finishes at Navarra.
She then signed with the German team for her first full season of GT4 racing, alongside her brother Andreas in the highly competitive ADAC GT4 Germany, where she will drive the Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
Now part of the Aston Martin Racing Driver Academy, Bäckman will aim to emerge as the successful candidate for a 2024 factory-supported programme.
The selected drivers participated in a two-day seminar that included media training, simulator training, fitness assessment - including a bespoke nutrition plan - and engineering workshop at Aston Martin Racing's factory, aimed at maximising the understanding of the Vantage setup.
"I really enjoyed the seminar days at Prodrive last week" - Jessica explained. "Was amazing to learn from the best and to see the factory and all these amazing cars. I’m super excited to go racing now and big thanks to Aston Martin Racing for including me."
The drivers' progress will be evaluated by a plethora of racing royalty, including three-time Le Mans winner and Daytona class winner Darren Turner, British GT champion Jonny Adam and works driver Valentin Hasse Clot, a former graduate of the Driver Academy programme, as well as Aston Martin Racing's key personnel that will also take into account the public relations aspects of the job.
The successful candidate is set to receive financial support towards a 2024 racing programme, as well as factory assistance and guidance. "As a mechanism for assessing and identifying outstanding talent within our partner ranks, the AMR Driver Academy remains instructive and essential, and looking at the list of candidates lined up for 2023 we’re certain that tradition is set to continue", Aston Martin's Head of Partner Racing Huw Tasker said.
Jessica Bäckman's campaign in ADAC GT4 Germany is set to kick-off at Oschersleben on May 26-28th.