In an unprecedented synchronised launch, Aston Martin Racing revealed the new Vantage GTE in London at 8 pm GMT on Tuesday. Just four hours earlier, at 8 pm in Dubai, the Vantage road car had just said hello to the Middle East.
New Aston Martin Vantage V8
It has placed the driving enthusiast at a vantage point for seven decades. The evocative name was first used in 1951 on a high-output engine option for the DB2 but soon stood out in its own right, proven time and again by models like the William Towns-designed V8 Vantage or the twin-supercharged V600 Le Mans.
Pure, sculptural forms celebrate the wild, predatory stance the Vantage is recognised by, while new head and taillights form dramatic new signatures. The minimal front and rear overhangs, muscular flanks and broad haunches express the agility and dynamism inherent to the car.
The front splitter directs airflow underneath the car, where a system of fences directs cooling air to where it is needed, and feeds the rear diffuser with clean airflow. The design of the diffuser creates an area of low-pressure air and at the same time, stops any turbulence generated by the rear wheels from disrupting the outward flow of air through the centre. The new side gills bleed air pressure out from the front wheel arches and the upswept rear deck lid helps the Vantage generate a level of downforce that is a first for a core production Aston Martin.
Set low and as far back in the chassis in order to optimize the centre of gravity and a perfect 50:50 weight distribution, Aston Martin’s new alloy, 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine generates 503 hp (510PS) at 6000 rpm and 685 Nm from 2000-5000 rpm, transmitted to the rear wheels through a rear-mounted ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. It is good enough to rocket the 1530kg car from 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and a maximum speed of 314 kmph. The CO2 figures are *245g/km. The car features apt electronic assistance like Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Torque Vectoring, while the speed-dependent electric power steering has 2.4 turns lock-to-lock for precise responsiveness. The intoxicating character and soundtrack has been fine tuned too.
These days, even an Aston Martin sports car drives half by itself. The new Vantage features an Electronic Rear Differential (E-Diff) for the first time, which reads the car’s behavior through the electronic stability control system to direct the engine’s power to the relevant wheel. Unlike a conventional Limited Slip Differential, it can go from fully open to 100% locked in just milliseconds. This leads to finely composed behavior both in a straight-line and in corners.
Evolved from the latest generation bonded aluminium structure first seen on the DB11, though some 70 per cent of the structure’s components are new for Vantage. Highlights include a solidly mounted rear subframe for an enhanced feeling of direct connection for the driver, new Pirelli P Zero tyres developed specifically for new Vantage and the latest generation Adaptive Damping System which incorporates Skyhook technology and offers the choice of Sport, Sport Plus and Track modes.
Cockpit and intuitive controls
Inside out, instead of long, fluid curves, the Vantage features sharp lines that focus on its aggressive nature. The high waistline and lower driving position places the driver in a ‘vantage’ position to be immersed in the experience. Space and headroom is noticeably better than the previous generation, says the Vantage Press Release.
The new Vantage utilizes both rotary and toggle style controls. Even the PRND transmission buttons are now set in a triangular formation, clearly defining the control clusters. The interior also offers generous stowage space, with useable room behind the seats and generous double-tier storage areas.
What is standard in quotidian cabins is still advanced fare for sports cars. The Vantage does come with keyless start/stop, tyre pressure monitoring system, parking distance display, park assist and front and rear parking sensors. The 8” LCD screen and In-Car Entertainment system is rather comprehensive and diverse, and has an integrated satellite navigation system.
Flawless paintwork, luxurious Alcantara® and leather upholstery outline the refinement expected while there is extensive scope for personalisation in the alloy wheels, seats and steering wheel, besides the carbon fibre interior and exterior detailing and a Premium Audio System. Delivery should commence in the second quarter of 2018.
2018 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE
The stunning new FIA World Endurance Championship challenger will replace AMR’s most successful competition car ever – the current V8 Vantage GTE, credited with 36 of the team’s 50 international race victories, including two Le Mans 24 Hour class wins.
Interestingly, the design and development of both projects has been led by Technical Director Dan Sayers. The powertrain, chassis and aerodynamics of the highly capable road car core have been extensively optimised to comply with the FIA’s strict GTE class regulations. As they were simultaneously developed, the new Vantage GTE race car has already completed more than 13,000km of testing, including a successful 30-hour run at the Spanish circuit of Navarra and a rigorous durability programme at the notoriously rough Sebring circuit in Florida.
Drivers have reported the car is easier to control on the limit than its predecessor and this makes it an appealing package for top amateur racers too, who compete alongside professionals in The GTE Am class. At the core is a Mercedes-AMG 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine that has been worked to optimise by factory drivers.
New technical partners for Aston Martin Racing are Alcon for the braking system, Öhlins for the suspension and Michelin for a bespoke tyre programme. With a new car to develop, the established driver line-up at Aston Martin Racing has been retained while Formula E racer Alex Lynn has joined the stables. Keeping with regulations, the racing version will stick with the V8 engine, while the road car could get a V12 upgrade in due time.
Vantage Photos: Drew Gibson