Published on June 12th, 2018 | by Subhash Nair0
New Aston Martin Vantage GTE To Make Its Le Mans 24 Hours Debut
Aston Martin Racing returns to the scene of its famous 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours triumph with the all-new Aston Martin Vantage GTE, which makes its first competitive appearance on the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe this weekend (16-17 June).
A year on from Jonny Adam’s dramatic late pass for the lead of the GTE Pro category that led to a glorious win for Aston Martin Racing, the team has entered two new Vantage GTEs in the 2018 event. Based on the critically-acclaimed Aston Martin Vantage road car and powered by the same 4.0-litre, V8 turbo-charged engine optimised by AMR, the Vantage GTEs are part of a 17-strong GTE Pro line-up that represents the most competitive field ever assembled for the class.
The new Vantage GTE made a solid debut in Spa-Francorchamps with both the #95 car driven by Nicki Thiim (DEN), Marco Sørensen (DEN) and three-time Le Mans winner Darren Turner (GB) and the #97 machine of Maxime Martin (B), Alex Lynn (GB) and Adam (GB) finishing in the points. Following an extensive development programme that covered 35,000km over the winter, the team is now ready to give the car its toughest examination yet in the most famous race of all.
This in spite of Sørensen’s accident at the Le Mans test day, which required the team to build up a brand new chassis in a tight timeframe. Aston Martin Racing’s technicians and engineers worked around the clock in split shifts to ensure a fresh #95 ‘DaneTrain’ was completed, shaken down and ready for scrutineering just six days after work began on a new race car.
The new Vantage GTE replaces the highly-decorated normally-aspirated V8 Vantage GTE, but that doesn’t mean the old car’s hunt for Le Mans glory is over. Indeed two will compete in this year’s event. The #98 car, driven by Aston Martin Racing’s reigning GTE Am champions Paul Dalla Lana (CDN), Mathias Lauda (A) and Pedro Lamy (POR), will seek to add a Le Mans class victory to its extraordinary success tally, which continued with another GTE Am win in the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa last month.
The second V8 Vantage GTE meanwhile, will be campaigned by Aston Martin’s partner team TF Sport, driven by Charlie Eastwood (IRL), Euan Hankey (GB) and Salih Yoluc (TUR).