Hot on the heels of the new 2019 Aston Martin Vantage's reveal comes the GTE racing variant, which will compete in the World Endurance Championship series beginning in 2018. The GTE-class race car will also fly the banner for Aston next year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the automaker hopes to win back-to-back class victories.
The 2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE will replace the V8 Vantage GTE, a car Aston Martin Racing calls its "most successful competition car of all time." In service since 2012, the V8 Vantage GTE was an evolution of the Vantage GT2 raced since 2008. The car won 36 races over its career, including a GTE Pro class win at Le Mans this year.
With the release of the new road-going Vantage, Aston decided to update the racing version as well. But this isn't just a new body on the old race car's chassis. Aston says the Vantage GTE was developed alongside the road car, and that development cars have already run roughly 8,078 miles worth of tests—including two 30-hour test sessions. The project is led by Aston Martin technical director Dan Sayers, who was also responsible for the V8 Vantage GTE. Engineering and design work was completed at Aston Martin Racing's headquarters in Banbury, U.K.
"Designing and developing this new car has been an extremely satisfying process," said Sayers, in a release. "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."
Like the road car, the 2018 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE uses a Mercedes-AMG-developed twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8, and output likely isn't far off the road-going model's 503 hp given GTE regulations. Aston Martin Racing partnered with Michelin for the tires, Alcon for the brakes, and Öhlins for the suspension. The 2017 driver lineup will be retained for the 2018/2019 WEC season. Aston Martin Racing also plans a return to the 12 Hours of Sebring, a race on the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship calendar, by 2019.
Source: Aston Martin Racing