Aston Martin Racing has unveiled the car that it is expected to use in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship next year.
The updated Vantage GTE features several major aerodynamic enhancements including the extension of the rear diffuser, splitter and wing.
Next year’s rules stipulate that GTE machinery will gain an upgrade in order to increase the gap to the GT3 class. This involves increasing the length of both the splitter and the rear wing by up to 100 mm in order to create more downforce.
“The focus on aero, rather than engine or mechanical changes, means we avoid the need for extensive and costly endurance testing,” said AMR technical director Dan Sayers. “The FIA wants to increase the performance gap between GTE and GT3 and by focussing primarily on the underfloor aero, it means the cars still retain the identity of the road car.”
Other significant changes include the addition of new wing mirrors, which will both improve driver vision and airflow.
Body panels have also been altered to complement the new aerodynamic profile of the car, and are manufactured by Aston Martin in association with Total SIM.
Aston Martin Racing will join Ford, Ferrari, Corvette, Porsche and BMW at Ladoux in central France this weekend for a preparatory 2016-GTE test session.
In addition to the GTE enhancements, Aston Martin Racing has also announced a series of changes to its existing GT3 and GT4 cars that will remain eligible next year.
“As both the Vantage GT3 and GT4 are already very competitive and compete in performance balanced championships, we have focussed on improving the performance and reliability in the most cost-effective areas,” said Sayers. “We already have nearly 100 GT3 and GT4 cars regularly competing so it was also important that these customers could easily add these upgrades to their existing cars.”
The GT3, which is currently campaigned across the world from British GT to the Nurburgring 24 Hours, has been given an updated drivetrain with an increased pre-load differential; an upgraded drop gear to go with the latest wave of BoP configurations, and a new layshaft installation – all in the name of increasing durability and traction.
These performance adjustments are part of a wider series of changes to the power system: most notably a revised 6.0 litre V12 engine that offers a new camshaft and cylinder heads, as well as an improved cooling system.
The GT4 model, meanwhile, will benefit from a new Vantage V12 bonnet that is commonplace on the brand’s road cars. This will benefit engine cooling and offer improved aerodynamic performance.