The new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 made a surprise appearance this morning, entered as the #3 Invitation entry in the Aston Martin Festival support race.
The car is driven by Aston Martin Factory Development Driver Ross Gunn and he set impressive times, albeit without BoP, bettering the times set in qualifying yesterday by the factory GTE cars, and very much quicker than the other racing debutant in the same support race, the Aston Martin Vulcan!
Just a little earlier the wraps were taken off the ‘little sister’ Vantage GT4 outside the Aston Martin hospitality pavilion by Andy Palmer and David King, both cars very handsome replacements for the current car and both destined for 2019 customer sales.
We’re proud to show our new Vantage GT4 this weekend at the @24hoursoflemans. Unveiled for the very first time this morning by @AndyatAston and @Design_Dr, the car will be on display all weekend at the @AMR_Official Festival Race paddock! pic.twitter.com/mszoeZj4EO
— Aston Martin Racing (@AMR_Official) June 14, 2018
Both cars are powered by the same 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine, optimised by Aston Martin Racing.
Weighing in dry at 1245kg, the Vantage GT3 produces a boost-variable 535bhp and 700 Nm of torque. Built from a lightweight aluminium chassis, again based on the road car, it features a steel roll-cage, an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox, an Alcon motorsport multi-plate clutch, Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers and Alcon brakes and Bosch Motorsport ABS.
The Vantage GT3 remains in development until homologated on 1 March, 2019 and replaces Aston Martin’s most successful customer car, the V12 Vantage GT3, which is still winning races seven years after it was first introduced to the market – most recently in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and British GT series. One of the key reasons for the popularity of the Vantage GT3’s predecessor was the ease at which it allowed inexperienced racers to drive quickly while maintaining an optimum performance window for professional drivers to be competitive in.
While not competing this weekend, the new Vantage GT4 will remain on display throughout in the Aston Martin Racing Festival Race paddock, offering potential customers and race fans a first glimpse of the marque’s new challenger. Along with the Vantage GT3, it will remain in development throughout 2018 and is set to be homologated for competition from 1 March, 2019.
“Driveability and a wide operating window remain key targets for us as we develop the new Vantage GT3 and GT4 racing cars,” says Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw. “The fact that our customers can still purchase the V12 Vantage GT3 and be competitive seven years after it was introduced is a fantastic legacy to build on, and the new cars will take this concept on in leaps and bounds. The current GT3 is very popular with customers, and there is a desire to spread our marketplace to more championships and at a high level, and from the expressions of interest that we have seen so far I believe we are on track to do that.”
Vice President and Chief Special Operations Officer David King said: “The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 is a worthy successor to the V12 Vantage GT3 and represents the core future of our customer racing programme. With the continued growth of GT racing in general and the GT3 category in particular, this new car and its Vantage GT4 brother will lead our expansion in the GT markets around the globe and particular target areas of the US and Asia. We’ve already seen a high level of interest from potential customers and we only expect that to grow as the car evolves closer to its homologation date.”
(GT4 shots courtesy of Peter Cate’s Twitter feed)