Photos: Aston Martin

New Aston Martin Vantage launched; Alex Lynn joins factory lineup

Leave a comment

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.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
3 Comments

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.