The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most important, and perhaps most recognizable, endurance racing events worldwide, and automakers regularly save some debuts for this action-packed weekend. Enter Aston Martin and not one, but two different race cars.
Aston Martin pulled back the veil on the Vantage GT3 and GT4 racers ahead of the 24-hour race in France this coming weekend. While the car it's based on, the Aston Martin Vantage GTE, will be racing at Le Mans this weekend, fans of the GT3 and GT4 will have to wait until March of next year to see it hustling through corners.
The two new Vantage racers are split into two distinct classes. The Vantage GT3 will enter a class that includes both amateurs and professionals. Its dry weight is a svelte 2,744 pounds, and its 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 produces 535 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. It has a six-speed sequential transmission, Öhlins adjustable dampers and a steel roll cage. It'll replace the V12 Vantage GT3 when it starts racing early next year.
The GT4, on the other hand, will be a car for amateur racers only. It, too, is still in development and won't see the light of day until 2019. While the two are based on the same road car, the GT4 class is a fair bit slower, as it gives amateurs the base skills necessary to start moving up into faster, more capable race cars.
Keep your eyes glued to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend to catch the Vantage GTE in action in the GTE Pro class. You can catch a fair bit of it on cable in the US, but if you want unfettered coverage of the whole shebang, download the official Le Mans app and consider paying for the streaming service.