Aston Martin Racing is set to give its new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 its Nürburgring Nordschleife race debut next month, in the eighth round of the 2018 VLN Endurance Championship.
As well as being the first event for the car at the Nürburgring, it’s also due to be its first run against other GT3 competition. However, the car will race in the SP-X class as it’s not homologated, much like Falken Motorsport’s effort in VLN 7 with the 2019-spec Porsche GT3.
The car will be driven by three-times Le Mans class winner Darren Turner and 2016 Spa 24 Hours winner Maxime Martin.
“It’s a great honour for me to be first to race the new Vantage GT3 at the Nürburgring,” said Turner. “The Nordschleife is like a spiritual home for GT racing so to be there at the start of a new programme is really special. It’s a circuit that presents a huge challenge for the cars and it’s where we need to be racing to find and extend the limits of the Vantage GT3.
“It’s always great to be a part of the early stages of a development process, and the fact that we are already taking it racing says a lot about its potential and the confidence we have in it. The early signs are that it is going to be race winner in the not too distant future.”
Maxime Martin added: “Last time we were there with the old car (the V12 Vantage GT3) we finished P4 so I can’t wait to find out what the new car can do. It’s a great challenge and being part of the development of the new car is awesome. In terms of what to expect, we have some basis of understanding from the FIA World Endurance Championship GTE version, so it will be interesting to see how the new car will react to this kind of track.
“There is so much going on at the Nordschleife with its mix of high and low speed corners and all the bumps. It is definitely the toughest track in the world. If the car is quick there, we can be sure it is fast everywhere.”
Aston Martin Racing President David King, who told DSC at this year’s WEC round at Silverstone that the brand is hoping to get together multi-car effort with the new Vantage in the 2019 VLN Championship and Nurburgring 24 Hours, said: “This is the next necessary step in the development of the new Vantage GT3. The programme is now at an advanced stage and it is time to measure the car’s performance against those it is likely to come against in 2019.
“With our extensive experience of the Nürburgring Nordschleife, it is the perfect place to test the car in a competitive environment as we sharpen areas of its development ahead of its homologation.”
This news comes amid the cars “extensive test programme” and follows the announcment that Aston Martin has already sold new cars to customers ahead of next season.
The Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 will be joined by two Nürburgring-based AMR Performance Centre prepared Vantages that will both feature works drivers. Turner will switch between the GT3 and a V12 Vantage he will share with German drivers Jürgen Kroner and Marco Müller. While Aston Martin Lagonda high performance test driver Chris Goodwin and Aston Martin Racing test and reserve driver Ross Gunn will share a Vantage GT4 as they begin the process of gaining their full VLN licenses for future programmes.