Vantage GT3 race car for the road

In 2005, Aston Martin took on the incredible task of looking the Porsche 911 dead in the eye and not backing down, with the introduction of its Vantage. While it may not have been quite the performer of the 911, the Vantage was a stunning piece of automotive architecture in comparison to the 911. In 2011, the V12 Vantage joined the V8 model in the market, and suddenly the entire 911 lineup had something to worry about.

In 2015, Aston Martin took things up a notch and released a new limited-run model that that draws inspiration from the British carmaker’s GT3 race car. At first called the Vantage GT3, the track-ready coupe was renamed the GT12 after Porsche sued Aston Martin, claiming ownership of the GT3 name for road cars.

With the GT12, Aston Martin takes a new step in its quest to compete with the big boys of the industry. Sure, with its limited funds and resources, it can only do so much, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Does the GT12 Special Edition have what it takes to hang with the masters of the road and track?

Continue reading my full review to find out.

Exterior

2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Special Edition High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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For buyers who want to save a few more pounds, there is an available carbon-fiber roof.

The Vantage GT12 is about as close as you can get to an actual race car as one would expect from a road-going car. Its body is decked in all the gear you’d expect to see on a racer, but it’s all legal for street. The most obvious of additions are the massive rear spoiler and the front splitter that help adhere the coupe to the asphalt.

Weight savings to the tune of 100 kg (about 220 pounds) is also a benefit of the GT12 Special Edition package. To achieve this huge weight loss, Aston installed a carbon-fiber hood, front wings and door casings. Additionally, the rear and side quarter-windows are all made from a weight-saving polycarbonate. For buyers who want to save a few more pounds, there is an available carbon-fiber roof. All in, the Vantage GT3 weighs just 1,535 kg (3,384 pounds).

The stunning example that Aston is showing off here is decked out in a white base coat, with black, gray, and orange highlights, but I am sure there are other color options available.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,530 MM (178.34 Inches)
Width 1,914 MM (75.35 Inches) (excluding mirrors)
Width 2,070 MM (81.49 Inches) (including mirrors)
Height 1,245 MM (49.01 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,600 MM (102.36 Inches)
Front track 1,585 MM (62.40 Inches)
Rear track 1,583 MM (62.32 Inches)
Curb Weight 1,535 KG

Interior

2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Special Edition Interior
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I am sure there are some optional goodies to add to the cabin, but Aston Martin has yet to reveal them.

Inside the cabin, the Vantage GT12 Special Edition is not quite all race car, but it does take a few bits and pieces from the racing community. Items like the carbon-fiber front seats and center stack, and an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel are all weight-saving items typically seen in track-exclusive models.

Beyond the race-ready bits, this Vantage is still an Aston Martin, with its touch-sensitive control array, red highlights, carbon-fiber GT12 sill plaques, and auto climate control. I am sure there are some optional goodies to add to the cabin, but Aston Martin has yet to reveal them.

Drivetrain

2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Special Edition Interior
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Though Aston Martin didn’t reveal performance numbers for this special edition, I can guesstimate.

I have to interrupt you before you get the idea that Aston Martin stopped short of the engine and drivetrain. Oh no, the greasy bits got a nice workout too. The GT12 Special Edition comes with the same 5.9-liter V-12 as the standard V12 Vantage S, but with the power cranked to 600 PS (592 horsepower) – a 27 PS (27-horsepower) gain over the standard model.

On top of the extra oomph, the GT12’s powertrain also has some lightening work, including magnesium inlet manifolds, a magnesium driveshaft, and a titanium exhaust system with center outlets.

Though Aston Martin didn’t reveal performance numbers for this special edition, I can guesstimate. The standard V12 Vantage S hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and tops out at about 205 mph. With the reduced weight and upped power, I could see a 3.5-second sprint time. However, with the added downforce and its associated drag, chances are that the top speed will actually fall to around the 200 mph mark.

Handling these high speeds is quite a task, but the GT12 Special Edition is up to it thanks to wider front and rear tracks that are punctuated by a sticky set of Michelin Pilot Super Sports.

Needless to say, Aston Martin went above and beyond in crafting this piece of GT car awesomeness.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 5935 cc V-12
Max power 600 PS @ TBA )
Max torque TBA
Acceleration 0-60mph TBA
Top speed TBA
Transmission Rear mid-mounted, Sportshift III seven-speed automated manual transmission with electronic shift-by-wire control system

Prices

2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Special Edition High Resolution Exterior
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Given Aston Martin will build only 100 examples of this beauty, I can only guess that it will be super-expensive and super-exclusive. Chances are, if you’re calling a loan company now to get prequalified for the GT12 Special Edition, you likely can’t afford it and Aston likely won’t sell it to you.

Competition

Porsche 911 GT3

2014 Porsche 911 GT3 High Resolution Exterior
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To compare the 911 GT3 to the Aston Martin GT12 Special Edition may be a little unfair, but they’re in similar positions within their respective lineups. Sure, the 911 GT3 is far wilder than the base 911 relative to the Vantage GT12 Special Edition/V12 Vantage S, but they are still track-ready but road-legal versions of their respective base models. Catch my drift? Powering the 911 GT3 is a 475-horsepower, 3.8-liter boxer-six that tears up the concrete with 325 pound-feet of torque. This is enough oomph to get the 911 GT3 to 60 mph in just 3.3 seconds and up to a top speed of 195 mph. Pricing for the 911 GT3 starts at $130,400.

Find out more about the Porsche 911 GT3 here.

Nissan GT-R Nismo

2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo High Resolution Exterior
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If you’re really frigging insane, you can opt for the Nissan GT-R Nismo, which will get you a piping-hot 3.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 that blasts out 600 ponies and 481 pound-feet of twist. On top of being just as powerful as the Aston Martin Vantage GT12, the GT-R also tosses all-wheel drive into the deal and sends both the Aston and the 911 GT3 home to cry to mommy about its 2.9-second 0-to-60 sprint time. The GT-R also matches the Aston Martin pound-for-pound in terms of aero bits, as the Nismo package adds a trunk-lid spoiler, a front splitter, and a rear bumper spoiler all in carbon fiber. What hurts the Nissan GT-R Nismo is its price. Do you really want to pay $149,900 and tell folks you’re driving a Nissan? That’s something many people simply couldn’t stomach – I wouldn’t have an issue with it though.

Read more about the Nissan GT-R Nismo in our full review here.

Conclusion

2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Special Edition High Resolution Exterior
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To call the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Special Edition anything other than an awesome and refreshing addition to the British automaker’s lineup would be unfair. With all of the struggles it has had lately, it is nice to see the brand really deliver something special. It stinks that this will be limited to only 100 units, so I will likely never get to see one, but the effort is duly noted Aston. Hats off to you.

  • Leave it
    • * Not much racing success in recent years
    • * No USB ports for the driver’s MP3 player on those long races

Press Release

Aston Martin is today revealing the first details of its most potent and uncompromising Vantage to date: the track-inspired Vantage GT3 special edition.

2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Special Edition High Resolution Exterior
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With production strictly limited to just 100 examples, the new model combines all of Aston Martin’s learning from its years of sports car competition around the globe to produce its most performance focused road-going Vantage.

Equipped with a new iteration of the brand’s 6.0-litre V12 engine which is capable of generating up to 600 PS1, the car weighs in at 100kg less than a standard V12 Vantage S.

Comprehensively re-engineered, as well as significantly restyled, the GT3-inspired special edition is lower and wider than any of its siblings in the Vantage family. A broader track – front and rear – brings even more composed cornering thanks to a reduction in lateral load transfer, while the use of Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres provides even more assured handling.

Thoroughly equipped with cutting edge motorsport-inspired features, from the extensive use of carbon fibre inside and out to the track-focused aerodynamics pack – which includes a prominent rear wing and pronounced front splitter – the race-derived new Vantage brings more focused and uncompromising capability and styling to a road-going Aston Martin.

The aerodynamics package in particular has a profound effect, producing significant downforce to provide even greater levels of grip and stability at higher speeds.

Inspired by Aston Martin Racing’s successful campaigns, this new GT3-derived Vantage has been designed and engineered exclusively at Aston Martin’s Gaydon Headquarters in Warwickshire, England, to be the most overt expression of everything that defines Vantage: an inspirational sports model offering supreme driveability on the road, and uncompromising dynamic performance on track.

New flared carbon fibre front wings, carbon fibre bonnet, a lithium ion race-derived battery, carbon-fibre door casings, optional carbon fibre roof, optional weight-saving polycarbonate rear window and rear quarter windows are just a few of the measures which illustrate the engineers’ determination to eliminate mass wherever possible. That determination has paid off, too, as the new car weighs in at only 1,565 kg2.

Under the skin lie a number of bespoke engineering upgrades, aside from the new 600 PS1 V12 engine. Magnesium inlet manifolds with revised geometry, a lightweight magnesium torque tube and a full titanium exhaust system with centre outlets are just a few of the features that underline the rigorous re-engineering of this exclusive new Vantage.

The car’s interior is comprehensively reworked, too, with a full carbon fibre centre stack and touch-sensitive control array; race-derived carbon fibre sports seats; Alcantara trim and the option of numerous bespoke features courtesy of the brand’s popular personalisation service: Q by Aston Martin.

Announcing the arrival of the Vantage GT3 special edition, Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer said: “Motorsport is in our blood at Aston Martin. The Vantage is the car we campaign in top level sports car racing around the world and so it seems only fitting that we offer an exclusive, limited edition Vantage that expertly fuses our motorsport know-how with our road car prowess.”

He added: “The Vantage GT3 special edition is an uncompromising example of our design and engineering expertise and I’m sure the 100 owners who secure one of these cars will savour every second behind the wheel; whether on the road or on the track.”

The Vantage GT3 special edition will make its public debut on 3 March at the 85th Geneva International Motor Show (Hall 5, Stand 5253), with first customer deliveries beginning in the third quarter of 2015.

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