Mar 13, 2024, 00:00 AM

New Vantage GT3 aiming for glory on debut in IMSA’s world-famous 12 Hours of Sebring

  • New Vantage GT3 to challenge for class podium on first visit to Sebring
  • Heart of Racing out to build on strong IMSA debut for Vantage at Daytona
  • Sebring 12 Hours class winner Magnus Racing returns to the fray with its new Vantage GT3
  • Rebel Rock Racing to run new Vantage GT4 as seven Aston Martins enter IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge support event

Wednesday, 13 March, 2024, Sebring: The brand-new Aston Martin Vantage GT3 and GT4 return to racing action this weekend as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IMSA) gathers at Sebring International Raceway for one of North America’s most prestigious endurance events; the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, in Florida.

Three examples of the new Vantage GT3 – which made a successful international competition debut at the series-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona in January prior to its official unveiling in February – will contest Sebring. Aston Martin Racing’s partner teams, US-based the Heart of Racing (HoR) and Magnus Racing, seek to build on the car’s encouraging fourth place in the season opener as well as the fantastic LMGT3 class double-podium finish recorded by HoR and D’station Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship curtain-raiser in Qatar earlier this month.

Works AMR driver Ross Gunn makes his fourth start in the Sebring 12 Hours as the Briton joins GTD Pro race-winner Alex Riberas (ESP) and HoR’s new signing Mario Farnbacher (DEU) in the team’s #23 GTD Pro entry; the sole Aston Martin in the class, which led at Daytona and finished fourth on its debut.

The sister #27 GTD class HoR Vantage GT3 also led its class at Daytona and some of its crew head into Sebring aiming to add to their glittering list of Aston Martin accolades. The 2022 IMSA GTD champion Roman De Angelis (CAN), was also the 2021 IMSA Sprint Cup title winner and was victorious in the 2023 Rolex 24 alongside team principal Ian James (GBR), who he shares a car with again this weekend. The duo has finished on the GTD podium twice at the bumpy former airfield venue, placing second in 2019 and third in 2020. Both drivers will be joined by 2021 GTD class winner Zacharie Robichon (CAN).

Magnus Racing is no stranger to victory at Sebring either, having won the GTD class on its race debut in 2014. A decade on and the squad, which specialises in IMSA’s endurance events (Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta) is chasing victory again with team owner John Potter and his American compatriots Andy Lally and Spencer Pumpelly.

The new Vantage GT3 descends from a succession of multiple world championship-winning predecessors and shares the mechanical architecture of the new ultra-luxury Vantage road car. Built around Aston Martin’s proven bonded aluminium chassis and powered by its fearsome twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine, the Vantage GT3 features an all-new nose-to-tail aerodynamic package, comprehensively revised suspension and state-of-the-art electronics, endowing this latest-generation Aston Martin GT with world-beating potential.

Adam Carter, Aston Martin Head of Endurance Motorsport said: “It’s been an encouraging start to the international endurance racing season for the new Vantage GT3. The developments we have brought to the latest iteration of our GT racing thoroughbred seem to be working as intended across the varied spectrum of drivers that have raced it so far. It’s proven well-balanced on all the various tyres and circuits it has competed on and has been competitive in two significant endurance championships. Now comes one of the hardest tests in all motorsport, the unique demands of Sebring! This car is right at the beginning of its lifecycle and still have much to learn about it, but I’m certain through our great array of partners fielding cars with Aston Martin in both GT3 and GT4, we’ll know a great deal more after this particular weekend!”

The new Vantage GT4 also made its competition debut at Daytona, in the opening round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge (IMPC) with new AMR partner team Rebel Rock Racing. But this weekend the car will shed its camouflage livery and run in striking green colours, and driven by Frank DePew (USA) and Robin Liddell (GBR).

The previous generation Vantage GT4, an IMPC champion, is also well represented in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 race at Sebring, with six examples entered by AMR partners Archangel Motorsports, Automatic Racing, Skip Barber Racing, Team TGM and van der Steur Racing.

The Alan Jay Automotive 120 begins at 1515 EDT local time (+4 GMT) on Friday 15 March. Official practice for the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring begins on Thursday, 14 March at 1005 EDT with the race beginning at 0940 EDT on Saturday. Follow details of the event via the official IMSA website and App.