On May 5, Aston Martin Racing will be seen at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the second round of the series of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) campaign. Factory regulars Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D) and Adrian Fernandez (MX) will drive the V8-powered Vantage GTE, its first competitive event in Europe.
The team will get to this circuit after having had two favorable finishes in the WEC and American Le Mans Series (ALMS). The Gulf-liveried Vantage GTE, on its racing debut, ranked third in the GTE Pro category on the WEC season opener at the 12 Hours of Sebring, Florida last March. In the middle of April, it then got fifth place on the ALMS qualifier at Long Beach, California.
This is a stunning feat, considering that the team began at the back of the GTE field after heavy rain resulted to the abandonment of the qualifying level. Now with a length of 4.352 miles, the Spa circuit is not new to endurance racing as it has been hosting a 24-hour race since the 1920s and a 1000km race since the 1950s.
Aston Martin was the winner in both 1955 and 1957. In the past few years, the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (previously known as the 1000km of Spa-Francorchamps) has given the final opportunity for teams and drivers to be ready for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the grandest race on the international endurance racing calendar.
Aston Martin’s Vantage family is evolving with a vastly improved V8 Vantage, meant to enhance the active feeling, styling, and affordability of this marque entry-level sports car. The top end of the range has also changed with a new and extremely exclusive V12 Zagato becoming the flagship when it goes into production.
With the most complete set of improvements since 2008, the entry-level, modified 4.7-litre 420bhp (426PS/313kW) V8 Vantage boasts many firsts in improved features for the acclaimed Vantage S. It still comes standard with six-speed manual transmission, but the optional six-speed Sportshift semi-automatic transmission has been upgraded to the seven-speed Sportshift II. The added gear, faster quality shifting, lower final drive, and closer ratios of this new gearbox engineered and produced just for Aston Martin means quicker and more precise shifting, and optimised acceleration create a sporty drive experience.
Further active improvements focus on the V8 Vantage's chassis, improving the Vantage S. Better steering, larger brakes, and broader tires were designed to augment the V8 Vantage's best-in-class position and to make it respond even more for an exciting drive. The new steering column, power-steering pump with modified valves, and a faster 15:1 ratio (vs. the previous 17:1) guarantee that this vehicle has more precise steering, more agile handling, and better feedback for a fully engaged drive.