Aston Martin Reveals All-New Vantage GTE for WEC Competition
Out with the old and in with the new.
Replacing the winningest GTE-Pro racer in World Endurance Championship history ain't easy, but it seems as if Aston Martin Racing could be doing just that with the all-new Vantage GTE. After revealing the next generation road car early Tuesday, the historic British marque debuted its entrant for the 2018/2019 WEC 'Super Season'. Sporting a completely fresh design and an AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, the 2018 Vantage GTE will be tasked with following up the manufacturer's 24 Hours of Le Mans victory from this year and more.
The car's exterior closely mirrors that of the production version, albeit with added wings, skirts, and other aero bits. It's been entirely reworked from the somewhat-aging model it succeeds, boasting a sharky front fascia and voluptuous rear. Unveiled in Lime Essence, a predatory "communication color" according to the automaker, the 2018 version of the Vantage is plenty loud and proud while retaining the class of everything an Aston should carry.
While the Brit has obviously changed on the outside, what's underneath is undeniably more impressive. The Vantage GTE's formerly used naturally aspirated eight-pot is gone in favor of a forced induction unit, loosely based on the road car's 4.0-liter which can also be found in the brand's newest DB11. A brake switch from Brembo to Alcon has been made as well as Öhlins suspension over Bilstein, revising the Vantage's on-track mannerisms. Finally, the car will run Michelin tires after a stint using Dunlops during which the team's GTE-Pro outfit took home a Constructors' and Drivers' Title in 2016.
When discussing Aston Martin's journey with the Vantage GTE, Technical Director Dan Sayers said the following in a release:
“Designing and developing this new car has been an extremely satisfying process. 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.”
The Vantage racer has already undergone two testing runs eclipsing 30 hours, promising up-to-snuff performance in taxing endurance situations. It will be making its maiden voyage at Spa next May as part of the WEC's new two-year calendar before making its Le Mans debut in June. Aston's all-new competitor will be charged with following up a successful contest at the Circuit De La Sarthe in 2017, eyeing a second consecutive trophy at the season's most treasured event.
Aston Martin also aims to enter a race on the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar calendar with the Vantage GTE by 2019, competing against some of its biggest rivals in Ferrari, Ford, and Porsche.