Well-known as a premium sports car brand, Aston Martin has been one of the many premium automobile companies launching products deviating from their established expertise. The four-door Rapide and the compact city car Cygnet are two vehicles wearing the Aston Martin’s winged logo. As far as the British car builder is exploring vehicles in a different light, fans of the Aston Martin brand can rest assured the dedication to sports car motoring is at their core. Auto racing has been a continuing assertion that Aston Martin is a high-performance luxury marque eager to contend on the track as hard as on the showroom floor. Set to replace the long-serving Aston Martin DBRS9 competition car (a vehicle competing on sports car circuits since 2005), the Vantage GT3 race car will become the British sports car brand’s newest mechanical athlete.
Constructed on a lightweight yet solid aluminum structure, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 car is specially trimmed for drivers and teams to aggressively attack the world’s greatest race circuits including Spa-Francorchamps and the Nurburgring. Modeled after the $170,000 US stock Aston Martin V12 Vantage, the Vantage GT3 race car preserves a cunning likeness to the street-going sports car. The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 receives a properly fitted aerodynamic package designed to channel airflow for perfected downforce and reduced turbulence. Part of this Vantage GT3 car’s aerodynamic adjustment includes the adjustable carbon fiber rear wing. This large rear wing is perhaps the most striking characteristic serving to define the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 race car from the road car.
Despite the added body components, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 goes on a considerable diet shedding 948 pounds from the production street car. Overall weighing just under 2,756 pounds, the competition-based sports car travels on a performance-tested suspension and braking system. Anti-lock braking is still present on this race vehicle adjusted specially for motorsports.
Following GT2 and GT4 category race cars prepared over the years for various competitions, the Aston Martin Vantage in GT3 trim will be the first time the sports car’s mighty V-12 engine will serve as the basis for optimized race performance. Using the 6-liter, 12-cylinder powerplant similar to that found in the V12 Vantage, the engine’s conversion to racing is quite natural. Lightweight construction and a dry-sump oil system are attributes in common between vehicle genres. Aston Martin racing engineers found 90 extra horsepower from the V-12 engine allowing the Vantage GT3 to compete with 600 horsepower. Under the hood of the Aston Martin Vantage GT3, some subtle adjustments reposition the engine in a more suitable location conducive of better handling.
Well-known motorsport gearbox outfitter Xtrac is supplying the transmission connected to the 6-liter V12 engine. Positioned towards the rear limited-slip axle, the Xtrac 6-speed manual is controlled by a driver through steering wheel paddles.
Built around an FIA-spec steel roll cage, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 cockpit is obviously void of the creature comforts connected to the street car. A carbon fiber dash panel, adjustable pedals and a racing seat featuring a 6-point racing harness is set in place for the utilitarian interior. The full array of vehicle controls, driver display and data logging equipment is found inside the Vantage GT3 in efforts to best foster the search for the auto racing competitive edge. A fire suppression system is fitted in the case when auto racing meets a worst-case scenario.
With a strong racing pedigree and modern construction, the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 has the ingredients to soon become a threat to the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG as well as BMW Z4 race cars in the rich, European motorsport environment. The Aston Martin Vantage GT3 racing car is will undergo track testing in October in preparations of the 2012 sports car competition season. Race teams wishing to run the Aston Martin Vantage GT3 will be paying £298,000 (about $488,000) for the privilege of running this latest member of the British sports car competition family. In the 2012 racing season, motorsport fans can expect the Vantage GT3 car to be lapping tracks within a variety of top caliber racing series’ including the FIA GT3 Championship and the Blancpain Endurance Series.