Darryl O'Young has licence to thrill after being signed up by Aston Martin Racing

Hotshot driver, 34, joins factory team after his second in last year's Le Mans puts him in limelight

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 10:44pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 10:44pm

His name is not Bond, but Darryl O'Young will be behind the wheel of an Aston Martin as he attempts to put Hong Kong in the international limelight by winning his first world championship.

A second-placed podium finish at the famous Le Mans 24-hour endurance race last year has seen Hong Kong hotshot O'Young win the support of a factory team for the first time in his professional career, giving him "my best chance to win a world championship".

O'Young is set to become the first Chinese full-season driver to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) after signing up with Aston Martin Racing, which will power Hong Kong-based team Craft-Bamboo Racing Vantage GTE for the full WEC season.

Endurance racing is all about team work and I know I have got all the right ingredients to present a competitive challenge
Darryl O'Young

"This is the first time I have the support of a factory team for a world championship and this gives me my best chance to win a title," he said on Tuesday.

"To win a world championship you need the best equipment, the best engineering, the best support and the best opportunity and I believe I have got all this with the backing of Aston Martin."

After four seasons in the World Touring Car Championship, the 34-year-old O'Young has switched to the longer endurance championship after getting a call from the luxury British sports car manufacturer whose sleek machines were made famous as the marque driven by celluloid spy hero James Bond.

Move over Bond, for O'Young believes he has got the licence to thrill when the season commences on April 20 in Britain at Silverstone.

The WEC season comprises eight races, seven of which are over six hours, while the prestigious Le Mans race is 24 hours.

"My podium finish in Le Mans in the GTE-Am class last year obviously didn't go unnoticed," O'Young said.

"It takes years to get a factory seat and I'm thrilled that I now have the backing of Aston Martin. Endurance racing is all about team work and I know I have got all the right ingredients to present a competitive challenge this season."

O'Young will partner Brazilian driver Fernando Rees and British star Alex MacDowall in the three-driver line-up in the GTE Pro category.

"I will miss the WTCC as it is a great racing series. I enjoyed my four seasons there and had some close races and gained valuable experience," said O'Young, who had six class wins in the WTCC, including a highlight double victory in Macau in 2012.

Lawrence Yu Kam-kee, president of the Hong Kong Amateur Automobile Association, wished O'Young well and said his success could be a catalyst for more local drivers.

"I have known Darryl since he was a kid," Yu said.

"His dad and I were classmates, and I have always closely followed his career with interest. If he is successful in this new venture in endurance racing, it will help further increase the profile and development of motor-sports in this town."