V8 Vantage GT2 Description
In production: 2008 – date
Chassis numbers: Prototypes V8/X2, Production VANTAGE GT2-001 – 008
Announced in January 2008, the introduction of the V8 Vantage GT2 completed a range of cars covering all four of the GT categories of racing, making Aston Martin the only manufacturer to offer cars in every class. Compared to the GT1 class, GT2 cars were slightly heavier and less powerful, having steel brake discs and narrower wheel rims. The Vantage GT2 underwent extensive test and development by the works team in the hands of Aston Martin Racing driver, Darren Turner. The GT2 was hand-built by Aston Martin Racing, a partnership formed between Aston Martin and world-leading motorsport specialist, Prodrive. The Vantage GT2 was also the first car Aston Martin Racing designed specifically with bio-fuels in mind. Using the experience gained in converting a DBRS9 to run on bio-ethanol for competition in the British GT Championship, the Vantage GT2 was the first GT car designed specifically to a bio-ethanol specification for racing in championships, including the American/European/Japanese Le Mans Series, 24 Hours of Le Mans, FIA GT Championship, International GT Open Series and various national GT Championships.
The car conformed to both the FIA and ACO GT2 regulations and was built to be run by private teams rather than AMR works themselves.
At the heart of the Vantage GT2 is the same unique bonded aluminium VH structure is from the road going V8 Vantage with the addition of an Aston Martin Racing designed steel roll cage built to FIA standards to further enhance the torsional rigidity of the platform. As in the road car, the front mid-mounted V8 engine and rear mid-mounted transmission created optimum front to rear weight distribution, The engine had a unique 4482cc capacity and retained a dry sump lubrication system which contributed to a low centre of gravity, making the V8 Vantage the perfect foundation for a successful GT car.
As in the road car, the transmission remained mid rear mounted, but with a six-speed sequential transmission with a ‘flat shift’ and competition clutch. The transmission also had a dedicated oil cooling system and air ventilation.
With the exception of the roof, the bodywork was made from lightweight carbon fibre and featured an advanced aerodynamic package with carbon fibre splitter, flat floor and diffuser, and a carbon fibre rear wing designed using computational fluid dynamics. These and other weight reductions ensure the car met its minimum weight of 1,150 kg (FIA regulations), 1,175 kg (ACO regulations). The Vantage GT2 retained the road car’s double wishbone suspension layout at the front and rear, but with bespoke wishbones and coil springs over Koni adjustable aluminium bodied dampers. Brembo six-piston racing brakes were fitted front and rear.
The GT2 class is dominated by the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR and Ferrari 430 GTC and sales of the Vantage GT2 so far have been quite slow. During the 2008 and 2009 seasons, a pair of GT2s were campaigned by Drayson Racing, driven by Paul Drayson, (former UK Minister for Science and Innovation) and Jonny Cocker. The team campaigned the No. 87 Aston Martin Vantage GT2 in the Le Mans Series on Michelin Tyres. The two British racers also shared the No. 007 Vantage GT2 in the American Le Mans Series’ 12 Hours of Sebring where they were joined by fellow Briton Rob Bell. In 2009, Marino Franchitti drove as part of the all-UK line-up for the Vantage GT2 premiere in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For Le Mans, the car carried both AMOC and AMHT logos on the body panel behind the front wheels. Also in 2009, Hexis racing entered the prototype GT2 on behalf of AMR in some rounds of the FIA GT Championship and it was also seen in the Asian Le Mans series entered by Team Hong Kong Racing.
In the 2010 season, Drayson Racing moved on to running an LMP1 Lola, but JMW Motorsport began a campaign with their GT2 both at Le Mans and in the European Le Mans Series.