Aston Martin Vantage GTE: 2012 programme and new car revealed in London
A single, Gulf-backed factory entry will appear in all rounds of the eight-race FIA World Endurance Championship. At Le Mans on 16/17 June, it will be joined by another car – drivers to be announced.
The first race is the Sebring 12 Hours on 17 March.
Like its successful predecessors, much of the new Vantage GTE is based on the road car, but with extensive modification for increased performance (lower weight, more powerful engine, superior aerodynamics) and safety.
The car will compete in the ‘GTE Pro’ category for teams fielding an all-professional driver line-up.
Darren Turner, a long-term stalwart of Aston Martin’s racing activities since the marque returned to the track in 2005, said, “I’m excited about this programme as it’s our opportunity to take Aston Martin back to the top of the world of GT racing. The Vantage GTE is a great car; she’s coming along nicely now and we’re ready to take on what we expect will be tough competition.
“The FIA World Endurance Championship calendar looks good to me, especially as I’ve already won in an Aston Martin at half of the tracks: Sebring, Silverstone, Interlagos and of course at Le Mans. We are going to Sebring next month with a brand-new car, but that’s exactly what we did with the DBR9 back in 2005 and we won that race. I’m not promising we can repeat that but we’ll certainly try!”
In a separate announcement, the company revealed that it will host the inaugural ‘Aston Martin Racing Festival’, which gives all owners of its GT competition cars the opportunity to participate in an exclusive 45-minute race on the full, 8.5-mile Le Mans circuit on the morning of the main 24-hour race in June.
Photos: Classic Driver