Aston Martin’s new-generation Vantage is set to be on the grid in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, with Paul Dalla Lana having revealed plans to enter the car in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener.
The Canadian, who currently races the previous-generation Aston Martin Vantage GTE in the FIA World Endurance Championship, confirmed the first order of the new car, which will be offered in GTE and GT3 specifications.
The twin-turbocharged V8-powered Vantage made its competition debut in last month’s WEC season-opener at Spa and is running exclusively in GTE-Pro this year, prior to planned customer sales in 2019.
“For sure, I’ve [ordered] the car,” Dalla Lana told Sportscar365. “I’ll have the first one and we’ll see what happens.”
Dalla Lana said it hasn’t yet been determined whether the car will run in the GT Le Mans class for GTE-spec machinery or GT Daytona for GT3 cars at Daytona, although indicated the new-gen car will be easily interchangeable.
“It’s the same car; they’re all [being sold as GT3-spec] right now,” he said. “We’ll have it in Daytona in one configuration or another next year.”
The commitment of at least one new Vantage for Daytona builds on the manufacturer’s planned expansion of its motorsport activities in North America.
Aston Martin Racing President David King revealed last month plans to offer increased customer support, and potentially launch a full-season semi-factory GTLM effort in the WeatherTech Championship next year.
Dalla Lana, who contested the Rolex 24 this year in a Spirit of Race-entered Ferrari 488 GT3 with his season-long WEC co-drivers Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, said Daytona has been a mainstay on his calendar to help bridge the gap of WEC races during the winter months.
“It’s a long wait for Sebring otherwise, from China,” he said. “For sure I’ll be doing Daytona and maybe Bathurst [12-hour]. We’ll see.”
It’s understood there’s already been a high level of interest in the new Vantage GT3 and GT4 cars, including from existing customers including TF Sport and Beechdean AMR.