With a new road car comes a new race car. This stunner of a race machine is Aston Martin Racing‘s Vantage GTE, which will compete in the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). It will replace the multiple Le Mans class-winning V8 Vantage GTE, the team’s most successful competition car of all time.

Built to comply with the FIA’s strict GTE class regulations, the new Vantage GTE takes the road car’s core design and dynamic capabilities to a whole new level through extensive optimisation of the powertrain, chassis and aerodynamics. The car was designed and engineered at AMR’s headquarters in Banbury, led by technical director Dan Sayers, who also guided the development of the V8 Vantage GTE.

Though the road car has only just been launched, development of the Vantage GTE is well advanced, with more than 13,000 km of testing completed, including a successful 30-hour run at the Spanish circuit of Navarra. The car has also been through a durability programme at the famously rough Sebring circuit in USA. All of AMR’s current drivers have contributed to the test programme.

Aston’s race arm claims that reliability has been exceptional straight out of the box, while team drivers have reported the car is easier to control on the limit than its predecessor – the latter will make the Vantage GTE attractive to competitors in the GTE Am class, where top-level amateurs race alongside pro teammates.

The Vantage GTE is powered by a Mercedes-AMG 4.0 litre turbocharged V8, which has been developed for use in the Vantage GTE application by AMR. The team is working with new technical partners: Alcon for the brakes, Ohlins for the suspension and Michelin for a bespoke tyre programme.

The car is new, but the driver line-up remains. This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro class winners Darren Turner and Jonny Adam have been retained, as have the Danish duo and 2016 FIA WEC GTE Pro world champions, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. In addition, AMR has recruited ex-GP2 race winner and now Formula E racer Alex Lynn. Further driver announcements will be forthcoming.

“Designing and developing this new car has been an extremely satisfying process. We’ve collaborated closely with Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters to develop the road and race cars in parallel. Attention to detail has been a priority at every step of this process and we’ve made big improvements in each area of the car. We’ve spent every second optimising the design right until the build of our test car, which has paid dividends during our current testing schedule. This project has been one of the most intensive but also rewarding of my career so far,” Sayers said.

“Motorsport is fundamental to the DNA of Aston Martin and our commitment to the WEC is stronger than ever. This is a golden era for GT racing and today’s launch of the new Vantage GTE wil ensure that AMR remains at the forefront of the world’s greatest endurance series. The team has enjoyed incredible success over recent years with the outgoing V8 Vantage GTE and while this will hold fond memories for me, I can’t wait to see the new car race in anger at Spa next year and continue to write motorsport history,” said AMR president David King.

On a different motorsport note, Formula 1 fans will see more of Aston Martin next season. The maker of James Bond’s cars is the new title partner of Red Bull Racing, and CEO Andy Palmer has gone on record to say that Aston wants to be more involved in the top tier racing series.