Aston Martin Vantage GTE #97 – Spark (pw)

GTE
2013 Aston Martin Vantage GTE #97
Pilots: D. Turner, J. Adam, D. Serra 
Team: Aston Martin Racing
Race: 17th overall (1st in LMGTE-Pro) at Le Mans in 2017
Spark (pw) - HACHLM10 (diecast) 

Published 07/23/21

Aston Martin first introduced the V8 Vantage in 2005. The two-seat, two-door coupé was a GT thoroughbred, aimed at Porsche’s 911 (997). Soon after, Aston released race versions of the car, starting with the Vantage N24 in 2006. Then followed the GT4 and GT2, in 2008. However, in 2012 FIA created the World Endurance Championship and a new class, the GTE class. This new GTE class (or LMGTE, for Le Mans) replaced the former GT2 class, specifically tailored for grand tourer racing cars. Since the Vantage GT2 was not doing great in the GT2 class, Aston replaced it in 2012 with the Vantage GTE. The new GTE was very similar to the GT2, though with a huge improvement in serviceability. With a new modular construction, a race team could swap the engine in less than an hour. The complicated serviceability was a major problem with the GT2.

GTE
At Le Mans in 2017, by the end of the race GTE #97 was in second place when the LMGTE-Pro leader suffered a puncture.

The GTE also received minor upgrades to safety and a decrease in overall weight. In the engine compartment changes were minor, and the GTE inherited the GT2’s power plant. It was a 90º V8 displacing 4475 cm³, with 32 valves and DOHC, rated at 450 hp. In 2013 the car was further developed, to the point that 30% of all parts were new. The upgraded car was more stable, had a lower center of gravity and was more torsionally rigid. It also received a retuned engine, gaining more power – up to 600 hp (less on race day for reliability). Nonetheless, it used the same Xtrac 6-speed sequential manual gearbox. As for the previous version, Prodrive was responsible for aerodynamics and the carbon fiber body. Though the 2013 model looks almost identical to the original 2012, it is a faster and more refined car overall. 

Compared to my other GTE (from Spark), this GTE #97 is just passable.

This is chassis #GTE-005, built by Aston in 2013. It’s race-debut was at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May of 2013, finishing in 16th. It first raced at La Sarthe the following June, however it DNF (accident). And from then on it was present at Le Mans every year up to 2017, its last race. That year it finished in 17th place overall, and first place in the LMGTE-Pro class. In scale, this GTE #97 is one of Spark’s pw models. However, after my latest one (GT40 #9) I was worried…😬 And, unfortunately, this is just so-so at best. The paint job is off and the mold is a bit crude (blurred body details). I think it is passable just because this is not a grail car and I got it on the cheap. Nonetheless, if you’re into Astons, steer clear and go for the resin version.

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