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by Adam Lynton
Aston Martin is targeting victory at Le Mans and the WEC title with four heavily-revised Vantage GTEs.
Aston Martin has big plans to celebrate turning one-hundred. Its centenary year began with airlifting a Vanquish
to the top of the 1000-foot-tall Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai to show-off its newest model. Aston then revealed a Centenary Edition Vanquish
while announcing plans for limited series editions of the V8 Vantage, DB9 and Rapide. And To top it all off, the British carmaker plans to win both the 24 of Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The marque's ambitious motorsport plans includes the entry of four V8-powered Vantage GTEs at Le Mans.
This represents Aston Martin's largest ever factory team entry at the event. Two Vantage GTEs will enter the Am class, while the GTE Pro entries will be the heavily upgraded 2013 Vantage GTE. Without going into specific details, Aston Martin revealed that focus was "on increasing the drivability of the car and optimizing the performance." 30 percent of all components on the 2013-spec Pro cars are new, with redistributed weight, a revised suspension and new fly-by wire throttle that combine for improved handling. The Gulf-liveried #97 machine will be piloted by Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke, while #99, the second Pro car, will be driven by F1 star Bruno Senna and Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki.
Both cars will contest every round of the 2013 WEC, which kicks off on April 14 at the team's home round, the Six Hours of Silverstone. Aston Martin Racing's season begins at the first round of the American Le Mans Series, 12 Hours of Sebring, Flordia on March 16, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which Aston is desperate to win, will take place over the weekend of June 22 and 23.