Aston Martin GT3 & GT4 – Drivable yet formidable
Aston Martin Racing has revealed its new Vantage GT3 and Vantage GT4 customer racing cars to the public, at the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Vantage GT3 making its racing debut in the Michelin Aston Martin Racing Le Mans Festival this weekend.
The new Vantage GT3 and GT4 – the former taking the track for the first time on Thursday (14 June) in the hands of Aston Martin Racing driver Ross Gunn – is derived from the new Aston Martin Vantage GTE; two of which are entered into the GTE Pro category of this weekend’s showpiece endurance event.
All three modern Vantage race cars are based on the critically-acclaimed Aston Martin Vantage road car and 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 and brakes, Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers and Alcon 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.”
All pictures courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda