Automotive

New Aston Martin Vantage GT3 targets victory in WEC and IMSA

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Tuesday, 16 April, 2024, Imola: Aston Martin’s new Vantage GT3 continues its hunt for glory in the world’s two most prestigious endurance racing series, as the FIA World Endurance Championship [WEC] and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship [IMSA] resume this weekend.

The WEC begins its European leg on Sunday with the 6 Hours of Imola (ITA), and an inaugural visit to one of the continent’s best-known circuits, before heading to Spa-Francorchamps (BEL) on 11 May, and then the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 15-16 June. Meanwhile IMSA heads to the world famous Long Beach street track for its first sprint race (100 minutes) of the season.

A second-place finish in the brand-new LMGT3 class for the Heart of Racing (HoR), and third for D’station Racing, made Aston Martin the only one of the nine GT manufacturers present to score a WEC double podium finish at the season-opening 1812km of Qatar in March. It means both teams arrive in Italy in strong form.

Those results provided an excellent WEC debut for the new Vantage GT3, which descends from a succession of multiple world championship-winning predecessors and shares the mechanical architecture of the new ultra-luxury Vantage road car, unveiled earlier this year. Built around Aston Martin’s proven bonded aluminium chassis and powered by its fearsome twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, the Vantage GT3 features all-new nose-to-tail aerodynamics, comprehensively revised suspension and state-of-the-art electronics, endowing this latest-generation Aston Martin GT racer with world-beating potential.

Aston Martin’s WEC partner teams are amid a hot streak, with HoR and D’station Racing having enjoyed a successful spell in the Middle East. The US-based HoR took its maiden podium finish with third in the last ever LMGTE Am race in Bahrain in 2023, and then went one better to begin the LMGT3 era with second in Qatar.

HoR team principal and driver Ian James (GBR) is partnered by Daniel Mancinelli (ITA), who is competing on home soil, and IMSA race winner Alex Riberas (ESP) as the trio goes in hunt of its first victory at WEC level, and also a maiden win for the new Vantage GT3; having participated in the car’s global debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Success is also the target for D’station Racing, which finished second in Bahrain to close the 2023 campaign and began the new season with third in Qatar. Aston Martin works driver Marco Sørensen (DEN), a three-time FIA WEC champion in the GT classes, is joined by Erwan Bastard (FRA) a French and European GT4 title-winner and by Clément Mateu (FRA), a 24 Hours of Spa class winner.

HoR has shuffled its driver line-up for the IMSA race at Long Beach, where it will run a single new Vantage GT3 in the GTD class (GTD Pro does not contest the Californian street circuit round). Joining 2022 IMSA GTD champion Roman De Angelis (CDN) will be Magnus Racing regular Spencer Pumpelly (USA). He replaces Zacharie Robichon (CDN) who is also participating in the WEC event at Imola.

Another partner team, Flying Lizard Motorsports, will make a one-off return to IMSA at Long Beach – one of its local circuits. Elias Sabo (USA) will be joined in the multiple IMSA-title winning team by Andy Lee (USA), as the team enters its brand new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the GTD class.

D’station Racing is also on multiple duties this weekend, with team owner Satoshi Hoshino (JPN) and team principal Tomonobu Fujii (JPN) contesting the opening round of the SRO -run Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia at Sepang, in Malaysia.

Adam Carter, Aston Martin Head of Endurance Motorsport, said: “The new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 enjoyed an encouraging start to its WEC career and there is no reason to expect it to be any less competitive in Imola than it was in Qatar. Equally, we have seen promising signs from the car in the opening races at IMSA, so we’re looking forward to seeing what Vantage can achieve on both sides of the Atlantic this weekend. I’d also like to wish Flying Lizard Motorsports good luck on its return to IMSA, and similarly D’station Racing as it embarks on its Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia campaign.”

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