Aston Martin’s new GT3 and GT4-spec Vantages could make its competition debuts in end-of-year VLN rounds prior to a full customer rollout in 2019, according to AMR President David King.
The British manufacturer confirmed plans to introduce new models for next year, completing its GT lineup of new-generation Vantages following last weekend’s race debut of the Vantage GTE in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
While customer deliveries are not expected to begin until late this year, King acknowledged plans for several race outings to help accelerate development of the new turbocharged Vantages.
“There are some places you can race an un-homologated car,” he told Sportscar365.
“It might be that we do some VLN stuff later this year because it’s an ambition that we do have a proper attempt at N24 with a new car in the future.
“We’ll wait and see. A lot will depend on where all the customer demand comes from.
“We’re just going out for early orders as of the announcement, so if we get 20 orders from Asia-Pacific we might change the focus a bit!
“VLN’s quite close to my heart and we haven’t really broken through there properly with [numerous] customer teams.”
While only formally confirmed last week, King said the new GT3-spec Vantage has already begun its testing program, which will ramp up through the summer months.
The car features many similarities to the new Vantage GTE, although King indicated it will not be intended for teams to switch between GTE and GT3 configurations, as it the case with the Ferrari 488.
“There are some more detailed differences in the engine, but we’ll release more details of that in time,” he said. “But they are a lot more similar than the old ones.”
Customer Delivery Timeline
King said he expects the first race cars to go into build in September or October, ahead of a full rollout to customers by late this year.
Although both cars will not be homologated until March 1, it’s expected they will be eligible to compete in early season events such as the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai and Rolex 24 at Daytona under draft homologations.
“The challenge, initially, will be to fulfill the initial demand for the cars,” King said.
“We want to look after our long-term customers and there will be some new ones as well. We need a quick ramp-up but we don’t want to run too quickly and deliver cars without parts support.
“We’re at max capacity with building the new Vantage road car. Every chassis we release is one less we can build [for the road]. We’ve got some nice problems to solve.”
While not disclosing exact numbers, King said they have a “sensible conservative” production target for the Vantage GT3 and GT4s.
“If we see much bigger demand than expected, we’ve got some levers to pull to raise capacity,” he said. “It comes with a bit more investment.
“We’ll respond in a month or so when we see the true scale of the demand.”
Two-Car Factory GT3 Effort for N24 the “Ambition”
King said they hope to mount a two-car factory attack on next year’s Nürburgring 24 with the new Vantage GT3 and admits it’s the reasoning for the V12 Vantage GT3’s return this weekend.
AMR factory drivers Maxime Martin, Marco Sorosen, Darren Turner and Nicki Thiim will take part in a solo works entry with the current-generation Aston, marking Aston’s first GT3 works effort in the Nordschleife enduro in two years.
“I’ll call  an ambition, not a plan at the moment,” King said.
“The reason we’re going back to the Nürburgring this year with the works GT3 is preparation or what will hopefully be a two-car new GT3 effort next year.”