In an unprecedented move, Aston Martin decided to launch the new Aston Martin Vantage and its track-centric brethren, the Vantage GTE, on the same day. At its unveiling just hours earlier, Aston labeled the entry-level Vantage as ‘The Successor to a True Sporting Dynasty.’’The British carmaker calls the track-only GTE the “spectacular new FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) challenger” positioned to replace the team’s most successful competition car of all-time, the multiple Le Mans-winning Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE.
A race car must be based off a production model before it can qualify for the GTE class of endurance racing. Aston developed the GTE simultaneously with the road car, with the former already enduring 13,000 kms of testing, including the completion of a 30-hour run at the Navarra Spanish Circuit. The GTE needs to undergo these grueling tests and do so successfully, considering that Aston Martin wants the race car included in the WEC 2018/2019 transitional super series and repeat its predecessor’s class win at the Le Mans circuit.
Like the Vantage on from which it’s based on, the Vantage GTE draws its power from a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 matched with an Xtrac six-speed sequential transmission with mechanical limited-slip differential. The pairing allows the car to produce 535 hp and 700 Nm of torque. Suspension was developed with the help of Ohlins, with brakes coming from Alcon. Tires will be supplied by Michelin this time around, replacing the Dunlops of the previous model.
While the exterior clearly shows the similarities between the road-legal and GTE Vantages, the influence is much harder to tell inside, with practically all the comfortable accoutrements thrown out the window in favor of a steel roll cage, racing seat with six-point harnesses, driver display gauge from Cosworth, electronic water bottle, and fire extinguishers. Save for these safety and driver essentials, there’s not much else to find in the GTE cockpit.
What’s got everyone gushing though, is the carbon fiber rear diffuser. Diffusers in race cars are naturally different than their road-legal counterparts, but this time, the difference is ridiculously hardcore. Just check out what reviewers can’t stop talking about below.
During the launch, Aston Martin announced the partner brands that will support its campaign through the 2018/2019 season, which includes Hackett London (Official Clothing Partner), Total (Official Lubricant Partner), Waldorf Astoria (Official Hotel Partner), and Beats by Dr. Dre (Official Audio Partner).
“Designing and developing this new car has been an extremely satisfying process,” Aston Martin Racing Technical Director Dan Sayers said of the 2018 Vantage GTE. “We’ve collaborated closely with Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters to develop the road and race cars in parallel. Attention to detail has been a priority at every step of this process and we’ve made big improvements in each area of the car. We’ve spent every second optimizing the design right until the build of our test car, which has paid dividends during our current testing schedule. This project has been one of the most intensive but also rewarding of my career so far.”
President of Aston Martin Racing David King said, “Motorsport is fundamental to the DNA of Aston Martin and our commitment to the FIA World Endurance Championship is stronger than ever. This is a golden era for GT racing and today’s launch of the new Vantage GTE will ensure that Aston Martin Racing remains at the forefront of the world’s greatest endurance series. The team has enjoyed incredible success over recent years with the outgoing V8 Vantage GTE and while this will hold fond memories for me, I can’t wait to see the new car race in anger at Spa next year and continue to write motorsport history.”
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