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Source: Racer Magazine

Aston Martin reveals revised Vantage GT3 racer

by Stephen Kilbey | February 12th, 2024

Aston Martin has formally revealed its 2024 Vantage GT3 alongside the global unveiling of its brand-new Vantage road car.

The new Vantage GT3 is the first race car from the brand to be developed from a collaboration between Aston Martin Performance Technologies and Aston Martin Racing (Prodrive). It is an Evo of the previous-gen car that was launched back in 2018 and has been in development since autumn 2022, before track testing began in Q3 of last year.

Crucially, because it's an evolution and not an entirely new car, customers have the option of upgrading their existing cars as well as purchasing brand-new ones.

The British brand is aiming to have 30 of its new Vantage GT3s delivered to customers by the end of the year, according to Adam Carter, the brand's head of endurance motorsport.

Speaking with select media, including RACER, at Daytona on the eve of the car's global race debut at the Rolex 24 Hours, Carter outlined Aston Martin's aims for the car. The expectation is that 10 will go racing initially, with the remaining deliveries being completed throughout the year.

“Very quickly I think we will see 10 racing," he said, "but by the end of the year, 30 (including spare cars for certain teams). That’s the projection.

“It’s about prioritising deliveries to suit when championships start. To get maximum coverage across all championships with the new car, we’ve got great interest from other markets.

“We are looking to grow the whole GT3 market over time and build on it," he continued. "We have a strong sales book at the moment, we couldn’t fill all of them by the start of the championships.

“We could have sold more cars. But the priority is about making sure they get the car, test and race relative to the stagger of championships.

"Some teams have bought a new car and an upgrade kit from a previous car as a spare. 30 cars will be in circulation to the new spec, with numbers in the high 20s competing."

This number includes the flagship cars racing in IMSA's GTD classes with Heart of Racing and Magnus Racing, and the Heart of Racing FIA WEC LMGT3 programme.

Having the car on grids around the world, including in IMSA and the FIA WEC, as well as regional championships and World Challenge, Carter feels is important for its debut year.

“We are very grateful to have received entries into the FIA WEC," he said. "Aston Martin has had a great history there, it’s been there a long time. So it was nice to see that repaid.

"In terms of being in that championship, it’s the FIA World Endurance Championship, to be part of that is really important. It’s a great landscape to be demonstrating our vehicles on.

“IMSA, it’s not only a great race series within the US, it’s the most technological race series within the US. To be part of that is great."

Feedback from drivers and customers after 12 and a half thousand kilometers of testing (including 30-hour tests) in Europe predominantly at Silverstone, Alcaraz and Portimao Carter said has been "positive".

"We’ve had a variety of AMR factory drivers in there, and had some amateurs get in to give different feedback," he revealed. "We’ve been fortunate enough to do some private test days where people have jumped from one car to the other, to ours."

Aesthetically, the 2024 Vantage is based on the brand-new road car, which was launched late on Sunday night; hence Aston attempted to disguise some of the front-end styling after the race car was first spied testing late last year.

It will cost teams �575,000 (approximately $725,000) and has a cost-per-kilometre figure "in line with the previous car"

"There are cars which are astronomical and some cars that are cheaper," Carter said.

The new car aims to address some of the previous model's shortcomings, principally in drivability, but also in serviceability. The front and rear suspension geometry has changed, along with the aero, throttle pedal set-up, driver controls, brakes and brake cooling.

Additionally, to keep it in line with the trends in GT3 racing of highly sophisticated front and rear clips, the car has a quick change clamshell front and "a better mechanism to allow for fast changes to the wing angle."

In total, Aston Martin says "85 sub-components and sub-assemblies" have been reworked across the car. Though notably, the engine is identical to the previous Vantage (the road car will use a revised unit), as are the transmission and gearbox.

"If you look across our stable of cars, there’s no point hiding from the fact is the GT4 car is super successful, really well-liked and very drivable and the GTE car is also ultra-successful and very drivable.

“But the GT3 car had got itself into a bit of position where it formed from the GTE car and had taken over some behaviours that made it a little bit more tricky for amateurs," Carter admitted.

“In GT3, amateurs would struggle with it. It had quite a small setup window. Sometimes an am would be on it, but they’d go to the next event and they’d just be out of the window.

“So the new GT3 Vantage is very much directed around having a wider setup window. GT3 is a pro/am market and also, it’s important for us because we want the race cars to represent road cars and we don’t want people to be scared of Aston Martins. An Aston Martin road car is very drivable and confidence-inspiring and you have to carry that through in the product range as well.

“So taking the opportunity of a new (road) car coming, the shortcomings of the previous car, the LMGT3 regs and it’s the perfect time do to it.”