In order to enter the GTE class of endurance racing, a race car must be based off a production model. Aston Martin just unveiled a brand new Vantage, and it didn't take very long before its racing counterpart emerged from behind the curtain.
The Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE is an endurance race car based off the new Mercedes-Benz V8. While the company did not explicitly give out power figures, it claims the GTE makes in excess of 536 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, which is more than the standard Vantage.. Like its road-legal sibling, the Vantage GTE gets its power from a 4.0-liter
Instead of an eight-speed automatic, the Vantage GTE relies on a six-speed sequential racing gearbox and an Alcon multiplate clutch. Its limited-slip differential is mechanical, as opposed to the street car's electronic unit. The Vantage GTE also sports adjustable dampers and sway bars, as well as a pneumatic jack system that removes the need for techs to use a separate floor jack during pit stops.
Inside, it's much harder to tell that this is based on the Vantage. As it is a race car, the inside is built with the driver, safety and not much else in mind. There's a steel roll cage, a racing seat with six-point harnesses, fire extinguishers, a Cosworth driver display gauge and an electrically operated water bottle. Out back, a radar system helps keep the driver from contacting faster traffic as it whizzes by.
My favorite part of the entire car, though, is the rear diffuser. Motorsport diffusers are a bit more hardcore than your average car's diffuser, and that's pretty damn evident here -- the thing sticks out for days behind the rear bumper. If you're not paying attention, a walk through the paddock could result in a banged-up shin for you and a very expensive repair for the car.
The new Vantage GTE will be ready for the beginning of the 2018 season. Aston Martin Racing will retain both Darren Turner and Jonny Adam as drivers, both of whom were class winners in the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans. It will compete in both the GTE Am (amateur) and GTE Pro (professional) classes.