Next year will see many changes in the WEC. The introduction of the new GT regulations in 2016 will revamp the WEC’s two GT classes. For the GT manufacturers, the time has come to bid farewell to their existing cars and switch their focus to the future. With Ferrari and Porsche’s plans already known, now it’s Aston Martin’s turn to reveal its new direction.
After Ferrari launched its new 488 GTB road car at the start of the year, it didn’t take long for the Italian auto concern to reveal the news that this model would be the successor to the 458 Italia from 2016. Porsche also unveiled its new 911 GT3 R a few weeks ago, which is set to race in the Tudor United Sportscar Championship next season. In Porsche’s presentation, the German marque stated that its 911 RSR would remain in action in the WEC initially, but that it would adapted to the new regulations. Now, the third manufacturer of the GTE triumvirate – Aston Martin – has lifted the lid on its future plans. The British manufacturer plans to launch a successor to its Vantage V8, but only from the 2018 season.
The 2016 season will initially see the Vantage V8 GTE take the grid. The new regulations in GTE mean that Aston Martin will be looking to evolve the car, with changes to aerodynamics alongside the mandated safety and regulatory adjustments. In an interview with Sportscar365, team boss John Gaw said that the revised V8 Vantage would appear different from the outside, but that the inside of the car would see little change. The team, said Gaw, are happy with results so far and they would prefer to concentrate on optimising the car’s mechanics instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water. One major change will come in terms of speed: thenew V8 Vantage package is set to be significantly quicker than its predecessor.
The 2017 season marks the final year of Aston Martin’s five-year commitment with the V8 Vantage. The official successors to the GTE and GT3 machines are set to be unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. The next five-year programme will then begin from the 2018 season. No further information on the new models and any technical details have yet to be published.
Image source: WEC-Magazin (Walter Schruff)