If you’ve never visited Le Mans but always promised that you would, perhaps this video from Aston Martin Racing will change your mind. The soundtrack of the Vantage GTE V8 is utterly intoxicating, and the iconic Gulf Oil colors make it impossible to overlook.
For 2012, the Aston Martin Racing factory team will make a return to international GT motorsport in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The team will campaign the V8-powered Vantage in the GTE Pro category of the eight round series, which spans three continents. This effort will include a second works car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the third round of the championship. The Vantage GTE is a development of the Vantage GT2, but with significant improvements to the engine, drivetrain and suspension.
Carrying the Gulf colors, the new car will make its competitive debut at round one, which marks the 60th anniversary of the 12 Hours of Sebring on March 17th.
The driver line-up for the race has been confirmed as Darren Turner (GBR), Stefan Mücke (D) and Adrian Fernandez (MX).
In order to give the team more competitive experience 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 14 and May 12 respectively.
At the heart of the Vantage GTE is the road-going Aston Martin V8 Vantage. The GTE ersion has competition components including cylinder heads, connecting rods, valves, camshafts and a racing exhaust system. As in the Vantage road car, the transmission is mid/rear-mounted, but with a six-speed semi-automatic sequential transmission and competition clutch. The transmission also has a dedicated oil/air cooling system.
The bonded aluminum structure is taken directly from the road car but AMR integrates a steel rollcage and, with the exception of the roof, the bodywork is manufactured from lightweight carbon fiber. It features advanced aerodynamica with a carbon fiber splitter, flat floor and diffuser, plus a carbon rear wing designed using the latest computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques.
The Vantage GTE retains the road car’s double wishbone suspension layout front and rear, but with bespoke wishbones and coil springs over Koni adjustable aluminum-bodied dampers.
Powerful but lightweight six-piston Brembo racing calipers are fitted to the front axle with similar four-piston calipers at the rear.
Aston Martin Racing’s decision to enter the World Endurance Championship will ensure the brand competes at the highest level of endurance sports car racing. It also marks the time that all Aston Martin Racing’s cars are based on the Vantage.
Its predecessor, the DBR9 GT1 racecar was launched in 2004 and achieved famous victories at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008.
Aside from a two-car campaign at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin will host the inaugural Aston Martin Racing Festival for owners of its GT competition cars. They can tcompete in an exclusive 45min race on the 8.5-mile Le Mans circuit on the morning of the 24-hour epic.
2012 FIA World Endurance Championship calendar
17th March – Sebring 12 Hours (USA)
5th May – Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours (BEL)
16th/17th June – 80th Le Mans 24 Hours (FRA)
26th August – Silverstone 6 Hours (GBR)
15th September – Sao Paulo 6 Hours (BRA)
29th September – Bahrain 6 Hours (BAH)
14th October – Fuji 6 Hours (JPN)
27th October – Shanghai 6 Hours (CHN)
Aston Martin Vantage GTE Technical Specification
BODY AND CHASSIS
Bonded aluminium chassis from the V8 Vantage road car
Aston Martin Racing designed and manufactured aerospace specification steel roll cage complying to FIA regulations
Carbon fiber bodywork: bonnet, fenders, doors, tailgate, front and rear bumpers, sills, rear quarters
Aerodynamic package: carbon fiber front splitter, flat floor, rear diffuser, CFD designed rear wing
Double wishbones front and rear
Koni adjustable dampers
Aston Martin Racing designed front upright installation
Front and rear suspension adjustable for corner weights, ride heights, toe and camber settings
4.5-liter V8 in 90-degree configuration with all aluminum cylinder block and heads
Four valves per cylinder
Dry sump lubrication
Racing exhaust system
Pectel SQ6M12 engine control unit
Mid rear mounted trans axle
Six speed sequential Xtrac transmission with flat shift
Competition triple plate clutch
Limited slip differential
Full military specification loom designed and manufactured by Aston Martin Racing
Hyllus power management control unit
Pi Delta Pro-logger with analogue loom
Pi Telemetry system
FIA-approved 95-liter bag-type fuel tank located within the safety rollcage
Three-liter pressurized fuel collector (larger capacity option for Le Mans)
WHEELS AND TYRES
TWS forged aluminum centrelock wheels
Front – 12.5x18”
Rear - 13x18”
Six-piston lightweight Brembo calipers front
Four-piston Brembo calipers rear
Two-piece brake discs, front and rear
ACO SPECIFIC OPTIONS
ACO logger loom, position lights and wheelspeed logging kit
ACO regulations - 1195kg