I was quite lucky to be able to attend the AMR (Aston Martin Racing) Launch this Tuesday. It was great having a first look at their new car Vantage GTE for Le Mans and WEC. However the biggest surprise was meeting Bruno Senna as their new season driver there! This really was a last minute deal – I heard that AMR signed him just the day before launching. To be honest I was never a big follower of GT racing, but after having a close look at this beautiful GT car with some nice aero bits on it, I actually developed some interest! Here I want to share with you some pictures I took from the event.
Aston Martin Vantage GTE
Personally, I really like the look of this new car. The colour scheme is quite similar to Force India though Very distinctive features from a competitional car to a road car are front air splitter, airdam, side skirt, rear wing, rear diffuser and some corresponding air inlets/outlets/conditioning pipes. For comparison, here is a picture of their normal Vantage V12:
V8 Vantage Roadster
A competition car is normally modified from a road car. Without those aero devices, it generates lift force instead of downforce due to the shape of the car. Here is a lift and drag coefficient figure provided by Racecar Engineering for Subaru Impreza:
Typical Cl and Cd values for Subaru Impreza
It can be noted that there is significant downforce difference compared to drag difference with/without aerodynamics devices. At around 60mph, these aero parts become significant. Also from Racecar Engineering figures: at 70mph, the equivalent downforce is 51.8 kg (3.6% of car weight including driver), this value reaches 105.7 (7.4%) and 178.6 (12.5%) for 100mph and 130mph respectively as downforce is proportional to velocity squared.
Vantage GTE front air splitter
Look at the horizontal extension at the bottom of the car. This would create a high pressure region as air accumulated above the plate, therefore increasing front downforce. The air splitter would induce some drag, although the downforce benefit is dominating.
Vantage GTE Side Skirt
The side skirt prevents the mixing of high pressure air from the side of the body with the low pressure one underneath the chassis. It therefore smooth the flow down to the rear of the car and facilitate rear downforce generation.
Vantage GTE side view from rear
Here you can notice an exhaust pipe at the side skirt of the car - instead of mounting it at the rear. They seem to do this for better cooling at cockpit as this was their problem last year. However, I doubt whether the exhaust air at that position has any aero dificiency for the car. In addition, at the right top corner, you can see a big air intake which feeds the air into the rear diffuser.
Vantage GTE rear diffuser
Here is the rear diffuser of Vantage GTE. It has the wire mesh structure to smooth the air out of the diffuser. As mentioned above, the exhaust now is at the side of the car, so that the hole you can see above is not the exhaust outlet. Instead, this is an air condition outlet for cooling purpose.
Vantage GTE rear wing
Very similar to F1 cars, rear wing is one of the most important downforce generation device. It looks massive from a close view of the car – the span of it is actually wider than the car width. The position of rear wing can significantly influence the downforce generated. Generally speaking, as the wing goes rearwards and higher, more downforce can be generated due to the explosion of the wing to cleaner air. However, most regulation would limit the height of the wing so that designers need to take careful consideration of its location.
It was overall an amazing event from AMR on Tuesday night. And with the signing of Bruno Senna, the launch has caused massive attention. I’d wish him best luck in Le Mans and WEC – he’s a very nice driver in my impression.