After a good session of the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans with the Vantage GT2, Team Aston Martin confirms its return to motorsports with the Vantage GTE. The cup car will participate in the GTE Pro Category of the eight round series and will have a second factory made car in the third round of Le Mans. The driver line-up has been confirmed as Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke and Adrian Fernandez .
Aston Martin Lagonda Chairman, David Richards, while sharing his enthusiasm for the new project said, “It’s great to return to our core motorsport activity – production based GT racing. It formed the basis for Aston Martin’s return to competition when the DBR9 GT1-racer was launched in 2004, and it was in GT racing that we achieved our famous victories at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008. The GT category is also now the most competitive class in world sports car racing and with the new FIA World Endurance Championship the GTE class will, I believe, offer the closest fought and most exciting spectacle. We will see many premium sports car brands competing with great sounding racing cars based on their production models, which all the fans can relate to.” In order to give the team more competitive experience of the Vantage GTE ahead of Le Mans, Aston Martin Racing will also contest the Long Beach and Laguna Seca rounds of the American Le Mans series on April 14th and May 12, respectively.
Getting back to the drawing board and taking its success with the V8 powered Vantage production car, Aston Martin Racing has made an all-new cup car based on the Vantage V8 with significant upgrades to the engine, drivetrain and suspension that complies with all regulations of the Automobile Club De L’Ouest GTE. The Vantage GTE is fitted with race components that include race specification cylinder heads, connecting rods, valves, camshafts and a racing exhaust system. The transmission is a rear mid mounted with a six speed semi-automatic Xtrac flat shift system, a triple plate clutch and a limited slip differential. And with the ACO regulation, the new car weighs 1195 kg.
The Vantage GTE retains the V8 Vantage’s double wishbone suspension layout, but has a custom made wishbones and coil springs over Koni adjustable aluminium bodied dampers. Effective yet lightweight, the six-piston Brembo racing calipers are fitted to the front axle with similar four piston calipers at the rear for ideal braking. The new car will make its debut in the first round of the FIA Endurance Championship which is also the 60th anniversary edition of the 12 hours of Sebring on March 17, 2012.
The brand’s re-entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship will ensure its dedication to compete at the highest level of endurance racing. And besides the two car campaign at the 24 hour Le Mans, the manufacturer will also host the inaugural of Aston Martin Racing Festival where owners of Aston Martin cars will get to participate in an exclusive 45-minute race on the 8.5 mile Circuit de la Sarthe on the morning of the 24-hour epic.
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