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This is how the 2018 Aston Martin Vantage looks like as a race car

Rather than roll out the all-new 2018 Aston Martin Vantage V8 road car, bask in the attention (or controversy — you, the readers, seem to have a lot of mixed opinions about the new design direction) and then rekindle buzz by unveiling the race version, the British automaker decided to let it all rip at once. So, here it is: the Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE, ready to charge screaming into the 2018-19 World Endurance Championship racing season.

The big, Vulcan-inspired aero bits can’t disguise the GTE’s similarity to the road car, which goes far deeper than the bodywork: The same Mercedes-AMG 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 sits under the hood of both road and track Vantage. The transmission has not been announced, but previous-gen AMR cars have used an Xtrac sequential manual. Even the eye-popping color (which looks to us like someone dropped a highlighter into a bottle of whatever the British equivalent of Everclear is, then sprayed it all over the body) carries over as well — though it is complimented by bright orange “lipstick” on the grille.

Aero aside, the Vantage GTE’s exterior looks hew pretty closely to those of the road car

Aero aside, the Vantage GTE’s exterior looks hew pretty closely to those of the road car. Inside, though, it’s all business.

 By lopping off the front four cylinders and the 243 pounds they weighed, Aston Martin has lowered the DB11’s curb weight to 3,880 pounds, shifted the car’s balance rearward to 49/51 …

The new Vantage GTE replaces the car Aston has run with since 2012; it remained a legitimate contender to the end, but, as with the road car, it was time for an update. Aston won’t be going into the new season blind; the automaker says the new GTE’s development car has undergone over 8,000 miles of testing, including two 30-hour runs at Spain’s Navarra circuit.

It’s almost like they’re planning on taking the thing back to Le Mans or something. In fact, during the next WEC season, which stretches from May 2018 to June 2019, teams will compete at the Circuit de la Sarthe — twice.

While the car may be new, the Aston Martin Racing driver lineup is mostly familiar: Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, fresh off a 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class win, return, as do Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. Additionally, Formula E racer Alex Lynn will join the team for the upcoming season.

 

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