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Check out the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and GT4 race cars
Two flavours of slicks 'n' wings specials break cover just in time for Le Mans
Got a lot of money? Want to get into racing? Aston Martin has two options for you fresh out of the oven: the new Vantage GT3 and Vantage GT4. Both are powered by a 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 engine, but which one you go for depends on two things: how much you want to spend and how quick and competent you are at pedalling a race car.
First up, the big boy: the Vantage GT3. It’s still in development until it’s homologated in March next year, but knowing the regs it’s complying towards, we’ve got some hard facts. Power? 535bhp. Torque? 516lb ft. While still being based on the road car’s aluminium chassis, it gains a steel roll-cage (just in case you end upside down in a gravel trap), a quick-shifting Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox (instead of the normal eight-speed ZF), an Alcon motorsport multi-plate clutch, Öhlins four-way adjustable dampers and beefy Alcon brakes and Bosch’s trick ABS system.
Then there’s the aero package. ‘Swole’ is how those gym types would describe the GT3’s stance. The whole car has bloated out while fancy wing mirrors, spoilers and shelf-like side skirts have been added to keep the chaps who live in the wind tunnel happy. With this monstrous downforce package and a dry weight of 1,245kg, the Vantage GT3 should hopefully be as successful as the V12 Vantage GT3 – Aston Martin’s most successful customer car which is still winning silverware seven years after first hitting the track.
But if you’re a racing noob, the Vantage GT4 may be a better stepping stone into the world of competitive motorsport. It’s also still in development, so there’s less known right now about the GT3’s baby brother. But that won’t stop us reading between the lines.
Much like the Audi R8 GT4 LMS and Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, the Vantage GT4 will be a turn-key racer eligible for entry into many race series. Series like the VLN Endurance Racing Championship in Germany, the Pirelli World Challenge in the US or the British GT Series in, erm, Britain.
Based on the road-going Vantage, it’ll have the same engine as the road car (just like the GT3) and probably the same amount of power (503bhp). But don’t be surprised if it actually ends up having less than the road-car as the Balance of Performance regs designed to level the playing field could get in the way. Still, 0-62mph should be sub-4secs and the top speed over 150mph with a price somewhere in the region of £200k.
If you want to get a glimpse of the new GT3 car for yourself, it’ll be raced in a special 45-minute Aston Martin extravaganza at Le Mans this weekend. Piloted by Aston reserve driver Ross Gunn, it’ll be hitting the track with 35 other Aston race cars including GT4, GT3, GT2, GT1, GTE and two AMR Vulcans. Sounds like a party, right? We’ll bring you more on that next week when we have it.