Aston Martin Vantage GTE Racer

That Was Fast: Aston Martin Unveils Vantage GTE Racer

Aston Martin Vantage GTE racer

There is normally a gap between when an automaker unveils a new model and the announcement of its racing spinoff. But Aston Martin is releasing details and images of the new Vantage GTE racer just eight hours after showing its roadgoing counterpart for the first time. Such is the relentless pace of Aston’s development program.

While there are many details to relay about the car itself, we need to start by acknowledging that this is one of the most extreme-looking GT race cars ever. Its outrageously flared wheel arches bring to mind 1970s fashions in pants, and a rear diffuser hangs far enough behind the rear bumper to require two support rods to lash it to the bodywork. Considering that the previous Vantage GTE was competitive until the end, taking a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year, we imagine the first sight of this one will cause some consternation among competitors.

Like the roadgoing Vantage, the racer is switching to the Mercedes-AMG twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 engine, which we’re told will produce more than 535 horsepower and 515 lb-ft of torque. The engine gets different turbos, a dry-sump lubrication system, and an exhaust made by Akrapovič; it sends its considerable urge to the rear wheels via a six-speed Xtrac sequential gearbox. The body uses a development of the aluminum architecture of the road car with an integrated steel roll cage. The car’s claimed dry weight is just 2745 pounds, the minimum for GTE racing.

Tech includes what’s described as a electrically operated “driver drinks system”; a rearview camera with collision-avoidance radar, which should be useful when the car shares a track with vastly faster prototype racers; and even air conditioning—a luxury that we imagine would be looked down upon by the veteran racers who used to swelter in the cockpits of older sports cars.

The Vantage will compete in the GTE class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, which looks set to gain even more attention now, following Porsche’s decision to follow Audi in withdrawing from the more senior LMP1 category. Drivers will include this year’s Le Mans class winners, Brits Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, as well as the 2016 championship-winning duo of Danes Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen.



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