Aston Martin GT4 Challenge lets customers take to the track

Aston Martin launched a new one-make race series for well-heeled enthusiasts this weekend at the Watkins Glen International track in upstate New York.

The the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge for North America is a seven-event series that will allow customers and enthusiasts to compete in identical V8 Vantage racers at some of the best tracks on the continent.

The series is similar in concept to one-make race series operated by Ferrari and Lotus, which allow participants to experience racing without the complications of running a team.

After the inaugural round at Watkins Glen, the series moves to Virginia International Raceway next month, then on to Circuit Mount-Tremblant (Mount-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada), Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (Monterey, California), Monticello Motor Club (Monticello, New York), Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin), and finally Sebring, Florida, home of the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race.

The cars themselves will be Aston Martin Vantage GT4s, prepared and leased to customers by Aston racing partner TRG-AMR on a per-season or race-by-race basis.

The GT4 is a modified V8 Vantage coupe, with the same 4.7-liter engine. Aston didn’t specify with the racing version produces more than the stock 420 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque.

The start of the GT4 challenge comes as Aston launches the V8 Vantage GT, which is intended to emphasize the connection between the company’s race cars and road cars.

Announced at the 2014 New York Auto Show, the Vantage GT features a 470-hp version of the 4.7-liter V8, a new aerodynamic package, and a sport exhaust system. Aston didn’t say how much a Vantage GT4 racer costs, but the Vantage GT can be yours for $99,900.

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