Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Aston Martin is set to keep the ‘Vantage’ moniker for the new GTE car it plans to introduce for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Aston Martin conquered last month's endurance classic with the #97 trio of Jonathan Adam, Darren Turner and Daniel Serra, who came out on top of a thrilling battle with the #63 Corvette that went down to the closing laps.
For 2018, the Prodrive-run AMR team is working on a brand-new model, in line with the new Vantage road car set to be introduced next year.
“The new Vantage road car comes out next year and we’ve committed to GT racing for the foreseeable future, therefore you can infer from that that there’ll be a new Vantage race car,” Aston Martin vice president David King told Motorsport.com at the Nurburgring.
"The guys are working very hard on it. You’ll find out soon what our plans are.”
King did not disclose any details about the Vantage’s powertrain amid rumours of a higher level of Mercedes-AMG involvement in the GTE programme.
“We have a very important strategic relationship with Daimler on the OEM side and that becomes more significant with the new Vantage,” King added.
“That’s giving us access to technology that we need for the future of our road cars. It’s a good partnership but it doesn’t directly affect what we’re doing in racing.”
“We’ve proven we can also do it independently. The win in Le Mans was done independently through the expertise of Prodrive and ourselves. In some ways on the GT3 level AMG is a direct competitor."
Le Mans win 'last hurrah' for outgoing car
Aston Martin's Le Mans win couldn’t have come at a better time for the British marque, which had been chasing a first win for its Vantage model since refocusing its efforts on GT racing in 2012.
"It was a fantastic vindication of everything we’ve been working towards over the past few years with the Prodrive guys and Aston Martin Racing,” King acknowledges.
“After dabbling unsuccessfully with LMP from 2009 to 2011 we made a very conscious decision to concentrate back on GT racing.
"We got close a couple of times but it was really important to win a Le Mans class before the end of the current Vantage. It’s like the last hurrah.”
With the FIA awarding the GTE Pro category a world championship status in 2018, Aston Martin is keen to repeat last year’s WEC championship win.
"It would be a real dream to get that title,” King added. "It would be the icing on the cake on top of the Le Mans win. Despite the double points in Le Mans we’re certainly not the favourites. We need to go and win some races."
The Le Mans-winning #97 car currently trails the leading #67 Ford GT by 16 points in the GTE Pro championship after finishing seventh in class at the Nurburgring.
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