The newly revealed facelifted version of the Aston Martin Vantage is arguably the most aggressive, hardcore and focused the car has ever been in base model form. If it’s still not quite aggressive, hardcore and focused enough for you, however, then please welcome its motorsport sibling, the new Vantage GT3.
The new GT3 was given an official reveal alongside the road car (let’s ignore the fact that three of them were already racing at the 24 Hours of Daytona two weeks ago - at the time, those cars carried a slight disguise on the front end in an attempt to mask the new styling). It serves to replace two cars - the old Vantage GT3, and the defunct Vantage GTE.
It’s the first collaboration between Aston’s Prodrive-run factory motorsport outfit, Aston Martin Racing (AMR) and its Silverstone-based Aston Martin Performance Technologies (AMPT) wing, which also oversees its Formula 1 team.
Rather respectably, Aston says the old Vantage GT3 had some “challenging handling characteristics” which the new version aims to iron out, making it as approachable for novice drivers as it is brutally quick in the hands of a seasoned pro.
It needs to be, too: the GT3 class is probably the most popular sports car racing class in the world, and features everywhere from national-level series with amateur drivers to the FIA World Endurance Championship and its flagship 24 Hours of Le Mans, so the cars need to have a massive breadth of ability. Gustavo Betelli, AMR’s head of performance, said the goal was to “make something that would work at any circuit, on any tyre and with any driver.”
All of those wild wings, splitters and strakes result from computational fluid dynamics in the car’s development, to eke out the maximum aerodynamic advantages within the tolerances allowed by racing regulations. One advantage of the road car’s gaping new front grille is that it allows the GT3 racer to gulp up more air, which is then ducted to the front brakes for cooling.
The series of slashes above the front wheels reduce lift, while the louvres aft of the rear wheels have drag-reducing capabilities. The entire front end is a giant one-piece carbon fibre clamshell with a quick-release function, allowing it to be quickly swapped out if the front takes a knock during a race.
We don’t have power figures, but they’ll likely be a good chunk lower than the road car’s 656bhp - but it’ll weigh a lot less too. Power and weight will ultimately be subject to the balance of performance rules of whatever series an individual car is racing in.
It has big boots to fill - between the GT3 and GTE versions of the old car, the Vantage has racked up 52 class wins and 11 world championships in various series since 2018. With a proven track record like that, expect big things from this new version.