Aston Martin confirmed its plans for 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The core of the program is the new Aston Martin Vantage GTE race car. The factory team will enter a V8-powered Vantage in the GTE Pro category of the eight round series, and then for the third round of the championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin Racing will field a second works Vantage GTE.
The GTE racer is based on the road-going Aston Martin V8 Vantage, and has the same basic engine,but with competition components including cylinder heads, connecting rods, valves, camshafts and a racing exhaust system.
The transmission is replaced with a six-speed semi-automatic sequential transmission and competition clutch, which has a dedicated oil/air cooling system.
Aside from a two-car campaign at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin will also host the inaugural Aston Martin Racing Festival, which gives all owners of its GT competition cars the opportunity to participate in an exclusive 45-minute race on the 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe on the morning of the 24-hour epic.
Aston Martin Lagonda Chairman David Richards shared his enthusiasm for the new project: “It’s great to be returning to our core motorsport activity; production-based GT racing. It formed the basis for Aston Martin’s return to competition when the DBR9 GT1-racer was launched in 2004, and it was in GT racing that we achieved our famous victories at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008.
“The GT category is also now the most competitive class in world sports car racing and with the new FIA World Endurance Championship the GTE class will, I believe, offer the closest fought and most exciting spectacle. We will see many premium sports car brands competing with great sounding racing cars based on their production models, which all the fans can relate to.”