Hot on the heels of the redesigned Vantage, Aston Martin is rolling out a racing version of its new sports car. The Aston Martin Vantage GTE was developed in tandem with the road-going version, the company says, and will hit the track next year.
The race car was built for the FIA GTE class, which features modified production cars. GTE is the top class for production-based cars at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the Vantage GTE’s predecessor took two class wins. One of those wins came this year, against Ford’s mighty GT. The new Vantage GTE has some big tire tracks to fill.
On the outside, the race car looks fairly similar to the road car and, love it or hate it, the retina-searing Lime Essence paint from the road car is apparently replacing traditional British Racing Green. The race car also uses the same Mercedes-AMG 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 as the road car, which can exceed 536 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, depending on how it is set up for individual races. But the similarities end there.
Look a bit closer, and you can see that the bodywork has been extensively modified. GTE cars must resemble the production models they are based on, but manufacturers get significantly leeway for alterations. So the Vantage GTE gets flared fenders, a slightly toned-down version of the controversial new grille, a big rear wing, and a massive rear diffuser that looks like a lawnmower deck. Don’t expect a luxurious cockpit either, as anything unessential was stripped out to save weight.
Aston Martin only has a few months before the Vantage GTE’s competition debut, but it’s done plenty of prep work in advance. The car has already completed 13,000 kilometers (just over 8,000 miles) of testing, including a 30-hour run at Spain’s Navarra circuit, and durability testing at the Sebring circuit in Florida. Built on decommissioned concrete airport runways, Sebring is known as a car breaker because of its rough racing surface.
The Aston Martin Vantage GTE will race in the FIA World Endurance Championship beginning next year. It will make its racing debut May 5 at the 6 Hours of Spa, the first race of the season.