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  3. New Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to fight for glory on Nürburgring 24 Hours debut

New Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to fight for glory on Nürburgring 24 Hours debut

30 May 2024
  • How has Aston Martin's presence and performance evolved in endurance racing since its return to the sportscar scene in the mid-2000s?
  • What factors contribute to the confidence of Aston Martin's #34 SP9 PRO Vantage GT3 team for the Nürburgring 24 Hours?

Aston Martin will rekindle its long and glorious relationship with the fearsome Nürburgring Nordschleife this weekend as the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 makes its debut in the ADAC Ravenol 24H Nürburgring.

The British ultra-luxury sportscar manufacturer has enjoyed a winning tradition at the Nürburgring for more than 60 years. Indeed, iconic Grand Prix legends Tony Brooks (GBR), Sir Stirling Moss (GBR) and Sir Jack Brabham (AUS) all contributed to a hat-trick of 1000km victories for Aston Martin in the late 1950s, including the 1959 edition that helped to secure the World Sports Car championship crown for the brand. That triumph took place in the same year Aston Martin’s DBR1 claimed its famous overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 92nd running of which will be held next month, on 15-16 June, in France.

Since returning to sportscar racing in the mid-2000s, Aston Martin has been ever-present at the Nürburgring 24 Hours, whether through works-entered GT cars or with its most trusted partner teams. And from 2006 onwards and each previous iteration of Vantage, Aston Martin has claimed no less than 10 class victories and more than 25 podium finishes.

Now the British ultra-luxury sportscar brand takes on both those famous events again, as well as the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa at the end of the month, when three of the most significant and prestigious endurance races come thick and fast through the month of June. And all of them will feature the new Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Just as it did in 2022, when Vantage led the Nürburgring 24 Hours for several hours into the night, Aston Martin has partnered with an ultra-successful team – this time Walkenhorst Motorsport – as it strives to become the first British manufacturer to win the race outright. The German outfit, which won the 2018 24 Hours of Spa and the 2023 Asian Le Mans Series, will run three Vantage GT3s in the SP9 PRO, PRO-AM and AM classes.

Aston Martin’s All-Star Lineup

Aston Martin’s All-Star Lineup

The #34 SP9 PRO Vantage GT3 will feature works driver and reigning Nürburgring 24 Hours winner David Pittard (GBR), a renowned Nordschleife specialist, alongside Aston Martin stalwart and two-time FIA World Endurance GT champion Nicki Thiim (DEN). These two will be joined by Christian Krognes (NOR) and Kuba Giermaziak (POL).

“You never know what the Nürburgring will bring you,” said Pittard, “it’s such a challenging event. With so many cars on track, the varied weather conditions and the tough nature of the circuit, it’s the ultimate track for a driver. New Vantage has shown great pace everywhere we’ve been with it so far this year, and it gives you lots of confidence as a driver, which is what you want around the Nordschleife. But this is such a difficult race to predict, if fortune falls our way and we stay out of trouble, I’d like to think we can be in the mix at the front. It would be amazing to stand on the podium as an Aston Martin driver.”

PROsport Racing has also entered a previous generation Vantage GT3 in the SP9 PRO-AM class featuring Nico Bastian (DEU), Marek Böckmann (DEU), Hugo Sasse (DEU) and Ben Green (GBR), as well as two Vantage GT4s in the SP10 class and another in the SP8T category. Dörr Motorsport, who won the SP8T class in 2022, will run a single Vantage GT4 in the class again, and another in SP10.

Adam Carter, Aston Martin Head of Endurance Motorsport, said: “The Nürburgring 24 Hours has always held a special place in the hearts of Aston Martin fans. The enormous racing, technical and human challenge it presents sums up everything that is special about endurance racing. It’s also the reason why it is so difficult to win, and why every victory across every class is such a special achievement. The new Vantage GT3 has proven competitive everywhere it has raced so far in 2024, and we don’t expect anything to change this weekend, but as we all know with the ’Ring, you need a huge number of factors to be correctly aligned to achieve success. In Walkenhorst Motorsport, Dörr Motorsport and PROsport Racing we have three partner teams who know exactly how to put all those factors into play. We wish them all the best of luck and we will see what happens in the race.”

Aston Martin made its Nürburgring 24 Hours debut in 2006, with an almost standard V8 Vantage that provided the springboard for the ultra-successful GT4 version. Since then, the marque has enjoyed many notable class successes including victory in the SP9T class in 2018, when Maxime Martin (BEL), Thiim, Darren Turner (GBR) and Marco Sørensen (DEN) finished fourth overall, having led overall into the final hours amid heavy rain in the last competitive outing for the V12 Vantage GT3. This result still stands as the marque’s best finish in the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

In recent years the Vantage GT4 has flourished. The previous generation (seven of which are entered in the 2024 race) won the SP8T class in 2019 with Jamie Chadwick (GBR), Alex Brundle (GBR) and Peter Cate (GBR). In 2020, Garage 59 finished third in the same class with an upgraded GT8R driven by works driver Jonny Adam (GBR), Alexander West (SWE), Chris Goodwin (GBR) and Turner.

The most recent class win for the brand came in 2022, when Dörr Motorsport clinched a one-two victory in SP8T on its Aston Martin debut with the Vantage GT4. The team also finished third in SP10 behind the second-placed PROsport Vantage GT4, the best result yet for the Nürburgring-based team.

There are now 25 examples of Aston Martin’s spectacular new Vantage GT3 challenger contesting more than 10 significant GT series, including the FIA World Endurance Championship, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Fanatec GT World Challenge series in Europe, Asia and US, as well as the Japanese Super GT Championship. That figure is expected to grow to at least 35 by the end of its first season of competition.

The new Aston Martin Vantage GT3, which descends from a succession of multiple world championship-winning predecessors shares the mechanical architecture of the new ultra-luxury Vantage road car, was unveiled in February this year. Built around Aston Martin’s proven bonded aluminium chassis and powered by its fearsome twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, the Vantage GT3 features all-new nose-to-tail aerodynamics, comprehensively revised suspension and state-of-the-art electronics, endowing this latest-generation Aston Martin GT racer with world-beating potential.

Motor 283

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