Aston Martin is Planning a Valkyrie Invasion on the Nurburgring
Aston Martin has never held the production car lap record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. That’s an important distinction to remember because that could change soon when the British automaker brings the Valkyrie hypercar to the famous race track. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but Aston Martin appears to be set on making an attempt at the ‘Ring’s production car lap record for “international marketing” purposes, as explained by Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer in a conversation with Motoring. Now, talking a big game about setting the production car lap record at the Nurburgring and actually doing it are two very different things. But if there’s a car out there that’s well-equipped to unseat the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ (the current record holder) it’s the 1,160-horsepower British hypercar. Only time will tell if Aston Martin goes through with it, but, at this point, it’s probably safe to start taking bets now. Any takers?
2019 Aston Martin Vantage GT3
The second-generation Aston Martin Vantage was introduced in 2018 as the company’s latest entry-level model. It replaced the Vantage model that the British firm offered from 2005 through 2017. With a brand-new model on public roads, Aston Martin is now also offering a couple of race-spec versions, one of which is the Vantage GT3.
Developed to replace the Vantage V12 GT3 that Aston Martin has been racing since 2012, the new Vantage GT3 is closely related to its GTE-spec sibling. The British company will use it as a factory race car, but it will also offer it as a customer racer for GT3-spec series around the world, including the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup and the Sprint Cup.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Max Verstappen Road Trips His F1 Ride from the Rockies to Miami: Video
No matter which flavor of automotive awesomeness you prefer, you absolutely must do a cross-country road trip at least once in your life. Seeing this great country unfold around the double-yellow line is an unforgettable experience, pretty much guaranteeing you’ll find some adventure along the way. Unsurprisingly, adventure is exactly what Max Verstappen finds in this five-minute video chronicling his trip from the Rocky Mountains to Miami.
The video begins on the winding switchbacks of the West, with the Torro Rosso slithering its way through paved (and unpaved) two-lanes as he heads East.
Up next, Verstappen shreds some sand on the beaches of Miami before heading down Ocean Drive for a little peacocking. Then it’s to the docks, where the F1 machine gets into a little race with a speedboat.
So yeah, the video can be a little cheesy at times, but seeing this finely tuned F1 car completely out of its element is reason enough to press play.
1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype
Originally designed to compete at Le Mans and considered to be “the most significant one-off Works Aston Martin” in existence, the 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype is also one of the most valuable collectible cars in the world. Exuding an almost mythical presence, the history of DP215 is one of heartbreak and accomplishment that marks the end of an era for the British automaker. Lovingly restored over a 40-year period with extensive consultation from the car’s original designer, DP215 now heads to the block later this month at the RM Sotheby’s event in Monterey, where it may very well become the most valuable British car ever sold at public auction.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype.
2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE
After no fewer than 12 years on the market, the first-generation Vantage was finally replaced by a brand-new car. Revealed in November 2017, the second-gen Vantage joins the DB11 in Aston Martin’s new lineup of cars that use completely new underpinnings and a fresh design language. Alongside the road-going coupe, Aston Martin also unveiled the Vantage GTE race car, which will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Built by the same team that developed the outgoing V8 Vantage GTE, the new race car replaces the company’s most successful competition car of all-time, credited with 37 of the team’s 51 international race victories, including two Le Mans 24 Hour class wins. With extensive optimization of the powertrain, chassis, and aerodynamics, Aston Martin hopes that the new Vantage GTE will be at least as successful as its predecessor.
Although it was just revealed, the race car is under development for many months and has already completed more than 8,000 miles of testing, a 30-hour run at the Navarra track in Spain, as well as a rigorous durability program at Sebring in Florida. Aston Martin says it will keep most of the 2017 driver lineup for the new Vantage GTE. This includes Le Mans GTE Pro class winners Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, as well as the Danish duo and 2016 FIA WEC GTE Pro world champions, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. In addition, AMR has recruited ex-GP2 race winner and now Formula E racer Alex Lynn.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
2018 Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro
After years of struggle and maintaining a lineup consisting mainly of old designs, Aston Martin unveiled the Vulcan in 2015. Although it wasn’t the first limited-edition model to have a unique styling, the Vulcan was the first supercar to wear the British badge. It was powerful, fast, radically different from any other Aston Martin, and built in limited numbers. It was also a track-only vehicle, which made it even more exotic. Two years later and the Vulcan returns, this time with an AMR Pro upgrade that makes it even more aerodynamic.
Launched in early 2017, AMR is the company’s new performance brand that basically brings the technology seen in Aston Martin Racing competition cars to customer vehicles. Essentially a body kit upgrade to the already potent Vulcan, the AMR Pro package makes the supercar more aerodynamic and quicker at the race track. At the same time, it moves Aston Martin closer to the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren, companies that have solid customer racing programs and highly customizable products thanks to bespoke high-performance divisions.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro.
Seeing Seven Aston Martin Vulcans All Together Is Too Much For Our Sensibilities: Video
There are only 24 Aston Martin Vulcans in existence, so the thought of seeing a group of them all together is as improbable as seeing a unicorn galloping in the sky. Well, shake off that pixie dust because the improbable just happened at the Circuit of the Americas. The Aston Martin Vulcan was in attendance at the race track recently and there wasn’t just one Vulcan there. There weren’t even two or three. There were seven of them, each dressed in different colors and looking the part of a bonafide $2 million supercar.
The carbon fiber-bodied track machine made the trip to Austin, Texas to participate in an event put together by Aston Martin. The specifics of the event is unclear, but the presence of these seven Vulcan track cars made all of it irrelevant. These cars are what the people at the Circuit of the Americas came to see and by the looks of it, nobody came home disappointed. It’s not often that an 820-horsepower supercar carrying a naturally aspirated V-12 engine is seen in the flesh and in its natural track habitat, dressed to impress and roaring like the beat that it is. But to see seven of them together showcasing their capabilities for people to go crazy over? That doesn’t happen very often, if ever. Aston Martin made it happen though, and we all win because of it.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Aston Martin Vantage GTE Racers Get Bespoke Badging
Aston Martin has been a stalwart of endurance racing since the automaker’s racing team, Aston Martin Racing, made a return to competition in 2005. The team has been actively involve in various racing series around the world, including the World Endurance Championship, which made its debut in 2012. Now that the WEC is nearing the start of its fifth season, Aston Martin Racing is commemorating the occasion by unveiling a series of bespoke wing badges that will be worn by all Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE race cars for the entire season.
All these badges are unique in that each come with a personalized design from the British automaker’s resident personalization service, ‘Q by Aston Martin.’ Each design commemorates the flag of the country that will host each of the nine rounds of the series. Since the season opening race will be the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 17, 2016, the three V8 Vantage GTE racers that will be competing in the race will wear badges inspired by the Union Jack, the flag of Great Britain. That will be followed by the Belgian flag-inspired badges that will be used in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 7, 2016 and continuing until the season-ending 6 Hours of Bahrain on November 19, 2016.
The process by which these wing badges were created combines old-school jewellery making machinery with modern CAD technology. According to Aston Martin, the process starts with pressing and annealing to ensure that the badges are strong and durable. Once the badges are created, designing and coloring them takes center stage. This particular process involves applying the colors by hand and finished using fine grindstone to make them as smooth as possible. Once the colors are in place, the badges are then fired to glaze, polished to make them shiny, and plated on the cars.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
How To Build The Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE In 60 Seconds: Video
Just a month ago, Aston Martin announced the 2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE along with a new partnership with TOTAL and Dunlop. When we reviewed the new Vantage GTE, we talked a lot about what makes it such a special machine, but we didn’t go into much about how it was actually built. When you look at the car as a finished project, it’s hard to imagine just what actually went into getting the end result. Now, you’ll have a little more insight into that process by watching this minute-long video of the V8 Vantage GTE being hand built.
The video is, of course, played at high speed so that the entire process takes just 60 seconds, but its long enough for you to get the gist of just how many people and how much work goes into hand building one of these track-bound monsters. If you’ve ever been a fan of taking tours of manufacturing plants or watching the documentaries on TV, then you’ll love this video. In fact, you’ll probably watch it a couple of times and notice something new each time.
With that said, go ahead and click play and watch for yourself. I wonder how hard it is for the all of these people to work together on one car at the same time. Sometimes I have issues with just one person getting in my way when wrenching, let alone five or six others. It takes a special breed of mechanic to work in a manufacturing facility like this. Enjoy the video!
2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE
In what seems like a repeat of history, Aston Martin Racing has announced a new Aston Martin GTE race car, as well as its intentions to win this year’s World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year, AMR is going for two GTE Pro entries and one GTE Am entry. The announcement of the new GTE race car also comes with news of a partnership with TOTAL and Dunlop, the latter of which will provide Sport Maxx GT racing tires for all GTE cars throughout the WEC.
This year, the #95 GTE race car will be driven by Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Darren Turner. The other Pro entry – the #97 GTE race car – will be driven by Richie Stanaway, Jonny Adam and Fernando Rees. The #98 car will return to race this year with Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, and Mathias Lauda. Needless to say, this is going to be a very exciting season for Aston Martin Racing.
Now that we’ve talked a little bit about the drivers and the new partnerships between AMR, TOTAL, and Dunlop, let’s take a look at this new GTE racer. Regulations changed this year, and teams now have greater freedom in the aerodynamics department, so we’re sure to see some new features.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE.
About five months ago, there were rumors that Aston Martin was looking to return to Formula One as a brand partner with one of the teams using Mercedes-AMG power units. Red Bull Racing, Williams and Force India were among the candidates according to reports. Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, however, said such a scenario was "improbable".
Now, Autosport reports that the Force India "is closing on a deal to be rebranded as Aston Martin Racing next season." The news comes straight from Force India team principal Vijay Mallya, who confirmed talks with the British car maker.
"If tomorrow someone comes and offers me a good sum of money for title sponsorship, I’ll seek the team name. If the marque comes along and I have to change the team name, I have to look at what it does for the team in terms of profile," Mallya said. "It’s premature to talk about it now, but we’re talking. Nothing is done until it’s done. I don’t like to count my chickens until they are hatched."
The outlet also said that Mercedes-AMG, which owns five percent of Aston Martin, has given its blessing for the tie-up. Moreover, the arrangement would also include a sponsorship link-up with Johnnie Walker, which would change the team’s livery to blue and gold. Should an agreement be signed, Aston Martin will return to Formula One in 2016 after a 55-year hiatus.
Continue reading for the full story.
Like many British carmakers, Aston Martin came to life as a race car builder. The Brits built their first vehicles in 1922, which went on to set world speed and endurance records at the Brooklands track, and later focused on road-going sports cars and grand tourers. Struck by financial problems in the 1930s, Aston Martin shifted production to aircraft components during World War II. In 1947, tractor manufacturer David Brown Limited bought both Aston Martin and Lagonda bringing them under the same roof.
The David Brown era, which lasted until early 1972, was one of the most successful in Aston Martin history — leading to the creation of the legendary DB series, which still exists through the DB9 and its upcoming successor. However, the road-going DBs weren’t Sir David Brown’s only achievements as managing director of Aston Martin. The entrepreneur also brought the British brand back to the race track by launching the DBR series in the early 1950s. More importantly, Brown approved the development of Aston Martin’s only outright Le Mans winner to date.
The car in question is the DBR1, which went on to win the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, against stiff competition from V-12 powered Ferraris and with none other than Carroll Shelby behind the wheel.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin DBR1.
One of the big reasons why it’s exciting when manufacturers unveil racing versions of existing supercars is that it makes us excited for the road-going versions of the cars all over again. The internet tends not to light up in quite the same way when a racing team reveals a new track machine that isn’t based on a road car. And this is what made the 2016 Aston Martin Vulcan interesting — it’s a track car that isn’t based on a road car but looks as though it should be. And now word from Aston Martin is that the car looks so much like something that should be used on the road that Aston’s customers are putting serious pressure on the automaker to build one.
This makes sense; the market niche Vulcan occupies is otherwise populated solely by cars that are made in both racing and road versions. A 2015 Ferrari FXX K or 2016 McLaren P1 GTR owner could drive his track machine all day and then head home in his LaFerrari or P1, respectively — road version of the racers — and it seems that Vulcan buyers wish to do the same, so Aston is looking into it.
Continue reading for the full story.
Having made its public track debut at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the 2016 Aston Martin Vulcan will make yet another appearance at the 24 Hours of Spa on July 25th. The limited-edition race car will complete two flying laps ahead of the fourth race of this year’s Blancpain Endurance Series season. The Vulcan will be driven by Aston Martin works driver Darren Turner, who has been involved in the design and development of the track-only car.
"It was very early days for the car when we first ran it at Goodwood Festival of Speed, but we certainly made a good impression and now we get to show the car in its most natural environment. I’m looking forward to our laps prior to the race and then being able to watch one of the best 24-hour events on the calendar," said Turner.
As a brief reminder, the Vulcan is powered by a 800-horsepower, 7.0-liter V-12 engine, which makes it the fastest and most-powerful Aston Martin ever built. It has a full carbon-fiber body and features a new design language that will likely trickle down to future road models. Aston Martin is setting up a skunkworks facility near Gaydon to build 24 examples of the Vulcan racer, each to be sold for at least £1.8 million (about $2.8 million).
In related news, this weekend’s 24 Hours of Spa will see two Aston Martin Racing customer teams contest the Pro-Am class in V-12-powered 2012 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 race cars.
Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Vulcan.
Next year’s Formula 1 grid could include a pair of cars wearing Aston Martin logos. According to a recent report, the British carmaker, which last competed in F1 in 1960, is reportedly planning to return to the sport in a tie-up with one of the existing teams. Aston Martin, which has had discussions with two teams, would not become an engine supplier, but just a brand partner with one of the squads currently using Mercedes-AMG engines.
In a report published late last week, Autosport said the company was looking to enter a partnership with Red Bull Racing, which would receive Mercedes engines as part of the deal between the Germans and Aston Martin. As you may recall, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer owns five percent of Aston Martin and will supply its future road cars with AMG engines. The scenario was quickly denied by Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, in an interview with Motorsport.
However, Autosport returned today to claim that Aston Martin has had discussions with Williams and Force India, two of the four teams using Mercedes power units this season. If such a deal were to happen, Aston Martin would get its logo on the car’s airbox, the report adds.
When contacted, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer provided a vague response, saying that "...if something drops into our lap and if suddenly those stars align, would I consider it? Yes."
Continue reading for the full story.
Forget the Monaco Grand Prix, 24 Hours of Le Mans and Indy 500. The Nürburgring 24 is absolutely the greatest racing spectacle in the world. The Nordschleife and GP circuits combine to form a 15.5-mile course that was built to break cars. It attracts a field of nearly 200 teams that run everything from purposed-built GT3 cars to hatchbacks to a vintage Opel Manta with a raccoon tail dangling from its aerial.
Then there are the fans, who are as passionate about racing as they are about swilling the local brew, Bitburger. A friend of mine once described the N24 campgrounds as Jurassic Park. The partying is non-stop for the entire week leading up to the race, with techno and metal blaring against a backbeat of race engines. If going to this race isn’t on your bucket list, it really needs to be.
But, if you can’t make it, then this video might be the next best thing. Chris Harris was invited by Aston Martin to drive a new Vantage GT12 in the 2015 N24, and other than its slick tires, required safety equipment and 50-horsepower drop to meet class requirements, it was a street-legal road car with a racing livery. Chris proves it by taking it for a spin on the roads around the Nürburgring before the race. Check out the video to see how he and the GT12 fare during the race.
Without restrictors, the 2016 Aston Martin GT12’s 6.0-liter V-12 produces 592 horsepower at 7,000 rpm and 460 pound-feet of torque at 5,500 rpm. In the sports car tradition of paying more for less, it features a stripped out interior that helps save 220 pounds. It does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, but outright top speed is sacrificed in the name of downforce-generating aero add-ons that make it look like a GT3 racer for the road.
This is a wonderful video.
When talking about art cars, the BMW Art Car Project is definetely the most iconic example that comes to mind. From the race cars painted by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol in the 1970s to the most recent M3 GT2 of Jeff Koons, the BMW Art Car Project is proof that cars and art can mix together in a brilliant way. It’s been exactly 40 years since the first art car, Calder’s 3.0 CSL, raced at Le Mans, and the world’s greatest endurance event will see yet another one battle for glory. This time around though, an Aston Martin Vantage GTE is the proud bearer of the art and Tobias Rehberger, the artist that created it.
The car Aston Martin Racing unveiled at the official race instection in the town of Le Mans on June 8th is actually the No. 97 Vantage GTE racing enthusiasts might know for its Gulf livery. However, instead of the usual blue-and-orange suit, the coupe will wear a special livery based on a geometric optical effect pattern during the race. The new paint job was commissioned by the owner of the car, a long-time admirer of German sculptor Tobias Rehberger, who is renowned for his abstract art and optical effects. Much like the rest of Rehberger’s work, the Vantage GTE is about "distorted perception and related phenomena like auto moving patterns, optical effects, camouflage and visual confusion."
The car will be driven by Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Robert Bell in next weekend’s race at Circuit de la Sarthe in the LM GTE Pro class.
Continue reading for the full story.
Although many Aston Martin enthusiasts would rather have a DB9 or a Vanquish in their garage, sports car racing aficionados are more likely to go for the Vantage GT4.
Built to FIA GT regulations, which makes it eligible for the GTS class of the Pirelli World Challenge, the Vantage GT4 just got a racing series of its own in North America.
Open to just about anyone who can afford to purchase the sports car and pay the entry fees, the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America will run its inaugural season over seven weekends. The gentleman racers will get a chance to prove their driving skills on famous U.S. track such as Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca, Road America and Sebring, but will also travel to Canada to hoon the GT4 on Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
2014 entrants will include IndyCar and prototype sports car driver Eliseo Salazar, who had driven for TRG-Aston Martin Racing in the past, as well as drivers that have less or no racing experience at all, such as Montreal Aston Martin dealer Joel Segal.
The inaugural Aston Martin GT Challenge of North America will commence on May 16th through 18th at Watkins Glen and will end on November 21st through 23rd at Sebring International Raceway.
Click past the jump to read more about the Aston Martin Vantage GT4.