New Aston Martin Vantage launched; Alex Lynn joins factory lineup

Photos: Aston Martin
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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.

Miguel Oliveira wins MotoGP Thai Grand Prix, Bagnaia closes to two points in championship

MotoGP Thai Grand Prix
Mirco Lazzari / Getty Images
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Miguel Oliveira mastered mixed conditions on the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand to win the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix. Oliveira showed the adaptability as he navigated a race that began in wet conditions and turned dry over the course of the race. Oliveira won the Indonesian GP in similar conditions.

“It was a long race, but I can’t complain,” Oliveira said on CNBC. “Every time we get to ride in the wet, I’m always super-fast. When it started raining, I had flashbacks of Indonesia. I tried to keep my feet on the ground, make a good start and not make mistakes and carry the bike to the end.”

All eyes were on the championship, however. Francesco Bagnaia got a great start to slot into second in Turn 1.

Meanwhile Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous first lap. He lost five positions in the first couple of turns and then rode over the rumble strips and fell back to 17th. At the end of the first lap, Bagnaia had the points’ lead by two. A win would have added to the gain and for a moment, it appeared Bagnaia might assume the lead.

Early leader Marco Bezzecchi was penalized for exceeding track limits, but before that happened, Jack Miller got around Bagnaia and pushed him back to third. Oliveira was not far behind.

After throwing away ninth-place and seven points on the last lap of the Japanese GP last week, Bagnaia did not allow the competition to press him into a mistake. He fell back as far as fourth before retaking the final position on the podium.

“It’s like a win for me, this podium,” Bagnaia. “My first podium in the wet and then there was a mix of conditions, so I’m very happy. I want to thank Jack Miller. Before the race, he gave me a motivational chat.”

Miller led the first half of the Thai Grand Prix before giving up the top spot to Oliveira and then held on to finish second. Coupled with his Japanese GP win, Miller is now fully in the MotoGP championship battle with a 40-point deficit, but he will need a string of results like Bagnaia has put together in recent weeks – and he needs Bagnaia to lose momentum.

Miller’s home Grand Prix in Australia is next up on the calendar in two weeks.

Bagnaia entered the race 18 points behind Quartararo after he failed to score any in Japan. The balance of power has rapidly shifted, however, with Quartararo now failing to earn points in two of the last three rounds. Bagnaia won four consecutive races and finished second in the five races leading up to Japan. His third-place finish in Thailand is now his sixth MotoGP podium in the last seven rounds.

Aleix Espargaro entered the race third in the standings with a 25-point deficit to Quartararo, but was able to close the gap by only five after getting hit with a long-lap penalty for aggressive riding when he pushed Darryn Binder off course during a pass for position. Espargaro finished 11th.

Rain mixed up the Moto2 running order in the MotoGP Thai Grand Prix as well. Starting on a wet track, Somkiat Chantra led the opening lap in his home Grand Prix. He could not hold onto it and crashed one circuit later, but still gave his countrymen a moment of pride by winning the pole.

Half points were awarded as the race went only eight laps before Tony Arbolino crossed under the checkers first with Filip Salac and Aron Canet rounding out the podium.

American Joe Roberts earned another top-10 in eighth with Sean Dylan Kelly finishing just outside the top 10 in 11th.