Photos: Aston Martin

New Aston Martin Vantage launched; Alex Lynn joins factory lineup

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Today was a busy day in Gaydon, Aston Martin’s London headquarters, as the company launched both its road-going and GTE specification race version of the Vantage.

The race version replaces the outgoing but legendary Aston Martin Vantage V8, which ran from 2012 through 2017 both internationally and occasionally, domestically.

Although the oldest car in the FIA World Endurance Championship field, it was still a regular pole, race, Le Mans and championship winner through 2017 (the car is credited with 37 of the team’s 51 international race victories, including two Le Mans 24 Hour class wins).

A famous GTE-Pro win occurred at this year’s Le Mans, with Aston’s Jonny Adam denying Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor right at the end of the race, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda claimed an overdue first championship in GTE-Am.

Photo: Aston Martin

As for the new car, here’s some of the highlights:

  • Designed and engineered in-house at Aston Martin Racing’s headquarters in Banbury, with project is led by Technical Director Dan Sayers, who also guided the design and development of the current V8 Vantage GTE
  • Development of the new Vantage GTE race car is well advanced, with more than 13,000km of testing completed, including a successful 30-hour run at the Spanish circuit of Navarra. The car has also been through a rigorous durability program at the notoriously rough Sebring circuit in Florida.
  • Reliability has been exceptional straight out of the box, while the drivers have reported the car is easier to control on the limit than its predecessor. This car has Mercedes-AMG 4.0L turbocharged V8 engine, that has been developed for use in the Vantage GTE application by Aston Martin Racing.
  • Aston Martin Racing is working with new technical partners: Alcon for the braking system, Öhlins for the suspension and Michelin for a bespoke tyre program. Also, the in-house Aston Martin Design team, led by Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman have taken their intimate knowledge of the road Vantage styling and amplified it for the WEC version. The result is an extreme and exciting evolution of an already aggressive road car design – a lesson in Aston Martin’s ethos of pure form and function.
  • Official partners and associations include both retained and new elements: Hackett London (Clothing), Immun’Age (who produce immune system boosting natural papaya food supplements), Total (Lubricant), Waldorf Astoria (Hotel), and Beats by Dr. Dre (Audio)
Photo: Aston Martin

“Designing and developing this new car has been an extremely satisfying process,” said Sayers. “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 optimizing 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.”

John Gaw, Managing Director, Aston Martin Racing added, “It’s terrific to be involved in this exciting new chapter for Aston Martin Racing. The increasingly tough competition in the GTE class and the prospect of two visits to Le Mans and a return to Sebring within the 2018/19 super-season is thoroughly tantalising. To conduct the development process of this car so closely with Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams was essential for both road and race car to retain the same underlying DNA. We believe the Vantage GTE will bring further success worldwide to Aston Martin Racing in the coming years.”

LYNN JOINS FACTORY LINEUP

MONTMELO, SPAIN – MAY 17: Alex Lynn of Great Britain and Williams Martini Racing speaks with members of the media after day one of Formula One testing at Circuit de Catalunya on May 17, 2016 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Englishman Alex Lynn has been confirmed as a member of Aston Martin Racing’s factory lineup, joining the quartet of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.

Lynn raced occasionally in the FIA WEC this year in the TDS Racing-run G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, and won the LMP2 class pole position at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He also won in his only IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship start with the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R outfit at Sebring, on debut in the car, the track and the series, co-driving with Jordan and Ricky Taylor.

Elsewhere he races in the FIA Formula E Championship. He’ll be teammate to Sam Bird at the DS Virgin Racing outfit, which starts in a couple weeks in Hong Kong. This comes after Lynn won pole on his series debut at New York City’s Red Hook round, filling in for Jose Maria Lopez.

NHRA: Schumacher, C. Force, Kramer No. 1 qualifiers at Phoenix

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NHRA press release

The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continued Saturday as Courtney Force set both ends of the Funny Car track record at the 34th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) and Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the second of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Force took over the top spot in the category with a record run of 3.826 seconds at 335.98 mph in her Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro during her second pass of the day. After recording seven No. 1 qualifiers in 2017, she is aiming for her first event victory since Houston 2016.

“That last pass today was pretty incredible, we have run well here in the past and I’m excited to be back in that top spot,” Force said. “We are hoping to turn this consistency into a win, we just have to keep being consistent on race day.”

Force is set to face off against Del Worsham in round one of eliminations on Sunday. Ron Capps sits second after a 3.844 at 330.80 in his Napa Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T during the final pass of qualifying on Saturday. The defending Funny Car champion Robert Hight qualified 11th after a 3.927 at 329.26.

Schumacher led the category with a run of 3.649 at 334.65 in his U.S. Army dragster posted during the first qualifying session on Friday. Schumacher also set the Top Fuel national speed record at 336.57 with a time of 3.667 seconds during his second pass on Friday. After securing four No. 1 qualifiers in the 2017 season, Schumacher locked in his first of the year in day two of qualifying.

“We earned our three points and kept the top spot so it’s been a great weekend for us so far,” Schumacher said. “The car continues to be great and [crew chief] Mike Neff is comfortable and knows what the car is doing, so I think tomorrow is going to be great day.”

He will go head-to-head against Greg Carrillo in round one of eliminations on Sunday. Steve Torrence qualified second after a 3.665 at 331.45 in his Capco Contractors dragster, while the defending world champion Brittany Force qualified in the 14th spot.

In Pro Stock, Kramer took over the top spot after driving to a 6.522 at 210.80 run in his American Ethanol Dodge Dart during the fourth qualifying session of the weekend. He secured the first No. 1 qualifying position of his career as Kramer also chases his first-ever victory in the class.

“It feels great to get that first No. 1 qualifier, and we had a great package put together this weekend and that was able to move us to the top,” Kramer said. “There were definitely some tuning adjustments from Pomona, but we went back to our old game plan with that KB power and it was a great combination.”

Kramer matches up against Alan Prusiensky in the first round of eliminations. Erica Enders is second in the qualifying order after a 6.527 at 209.98, while Alex Laughlin sits in the third spot.

Eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations.

TOP FUEL: 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.649 seconds, 336.57 mph vs. 16. Greg Carrillo, 4.227, 220.91; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.655, 331.85 vs. 15. Steven Chrisman, 4.089, 281.30; 3. Clay Millican, 3.664, 335.23 vs. 14. Brittany Force, 3.828, 253.52; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.679, 334.15 vs. 13. Troy Buff, 3.809, 318.77; 5. Richie Crampton, 3.683, 325.30 vs. 12. Scott Palmer, 3.788, 326.63; 6. Billy Torrence, 3.697, 331.45  vs. 11. Doug Kalitta, 3.742, 328.78; 7. Blake Alexander, 3.705, 332.59 vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.740, 325.85; 8. Antron Brown, 3.712, 333.66 vs. 9. Mike Salinas, 3.737, 326.32.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Kebin Kinsley, 5.118, 136.79; 18. Terry Totten, 8.158, 69.73; 19. Terry Haddock, 10.095, 91.23.

FUNNY CAR: 1. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.826, 335.98 vs. 16. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 5.089, 173.99; 2. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.844, 330.80 vs. 15. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.551, 182.82; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.845, 332.43 vs. 14. Richard Townsend, Camry, 4.244, 235.27; 4. John Force, Camaro, 3.864, 332.51 vs. 13. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 4.120, 307.79; 5. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.866, 317.27 vs. 12. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.971, 316.75; 6. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.879, 329.91 vs. 11. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.927, 329.26; 7. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.888, 333.25 vs. 10. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.927, 329.42; 8. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.919, 324.20 vs. 9. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.926, 330.88.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Jim Campbell, 7.402, 91.58.

PRO STOCK: 1. Deric Kramer, Chevy Camaro, 6.522, 211.00 vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.663, 207.94; 2. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.527, 209.98 vs. 15. Steve Graham, Camaro, 6.659, 208.55; 3. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.529, 209.59 vs. 14. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.640, 209.69; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.530, 211.66 vs. 13. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.581, 209.82; 5. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.531, 211.03 vs. 12. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.567, 210.08; 6. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.532, 210.60 vs. 11. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.553, 210.14; 7. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.534, 211.63 vs. 10. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.550, 210.41; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.542, 210.05 vs. 9. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.550, 211.39.

Did Not Qualify: 17. Joey Grose, 6.720, 206.64.