The Story Of ’The Muncher’, Aston Martin Victor’s Grandad
The Porsche 935 is the poster child of the late ’70s and early ’80s in GT racing. Developed by Stuttgart’s wizards and then modified by countless others the world over, Porsche’s Group 5 weapon crushed its opposition with such force that you needed one if you wanted to win on either side of the Atlantic. Robin Hamilton tried to buck the trend by bringing to the table a car of his own from the brand he grew to love, Aston Martin.
Named ’The Muncher’, this 1970 DBS V8 became a twin-turbocharged pseudo-grand-tourer able to go almost 200 mph down Mulsanne and battle prototypes along the way. A success story? Maybe not in the broader sense but it was the foundation stone to Aston Martin’s much-awaited return to sports car endurance racing.
The Sound Of This Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Will Make You Miss The V-12 Engine
Aston Martin is known for making some of the most sonorous V-12s in the world and, while the Britons are yet to desert the 12-cylinder engine, the current DB11 and DBS Superleggera models are both powered by a 5.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-12.
With natural aspiration now completely out of the picture, the last Aston to feature an N/A V-12 was the V12 Vantage that bowed out two years ago. Luckily, racing versions of that car can still be seen on the race tracks of the world and, once in a while, the owners are even allowed to run their 600-horsepower beasts without mufflers. Enjoy the straight-piped goodness of a race-prepped N/A V-12!
The Time Aston Martin Threw A Tracksuit On The DB9
While on the list of Aston Martins eternally forsaken by Britain’s best-loved and most famous spy, Agent 007, the DB9 marked the company’s proper entry in the new millennium with a V-12-engined grand tourer boasting a more resonant public appeal. Three short years after the car’s formal introduction to the world, Aston Martin’s newly-formed racing department was already churning out not one but two racing versions of the DB9 and the DBRS9 was the more popular of the lot.
With a front-mounted, naturally aspirated, 12-cylinder engine, the DB9 is the modern interpretation of an all-British GT car: elegant, fast, comfortable, and luxurious. In production for a staggering 12 years, the car made a lasting impression on the automotive world as the epitome of four-wheeled cool and, apparently, over 16,000 people agreed with that view since they went in and bought a DB9 during its production cycle that ended in 2016 when the DB11 was introduced. By comparison, the race-going DBRS9 was made in under 30 copies including the development prototypes.
Can You Guess Where Aston Martin Is Getting Input From for the Valkyrie Hypercar?
Aston Martin will build eight Valkyrie pre-production prototypes that will help its engineers fine-tune the upcoming V-12 hypercar to perfection.
The first three prototypes, named VP1, VP2, and VP3, have already been given a run for their money at Silverstone, by none other than Aston Martin Red Bull Racing F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.
1953 Aston Martin DB3S Works
The Aston Martin DB3S is a special car although it may have been overshadowed as years came and went by a certain finned Jaguar and the DBR1/300 that won at La Sarthe for David Brown’s marque. However, its status as a bit of a giant killer and the fact that the boys in Feltham kept using it for four seasons in international competitions puts the DB3S in a unique spot in Jaguar’s racing history. This car, chassis #2, is one of only 11 works cars ever built and it won the Goodwood Nine Hours ahead of the D-Type and Ferrari’s 750 Monza. It is, then, no wonder that RM/Sotheby’s hoped it would sell for anywhere between $8.75 and $10 million when it crossed the block last Thursday during the Monterey Car Week. Well, it didn’t but you can’t deny this is one rare, gorgeous, and expensive product of the ’50s. Need further proof? A copy of the definitive book on this car sold 14 years ago for some $1,500.
When you talk ’50s sports cars, your mind slaloms between William Haynes’ C-Type and D-Type, together amassing five overall 24 Hours of Le Mans wins, the classic 250 Testa Rossa, the dominant but also infamous 300 SLR, and also the Lister Knobbly and Maserati’s 300S. Aston Martin isn’t among the names on the tip of your tongue despite it racking up quite an impressive number of wins between 1953 and 1959 with the DB3S and the DBR1 respectively. That’s because the Aston Martins were always seen as underdogs, always seen as members of the pack, those that’ll play second fiddle to the big fish when, in fact, it wasn’t like that at all. David Brown employed some of the best engineers and drivers at the time and his cars were some of the best. Yes, most often down on power, yes, most often with an Achilles’ heel (cough, the DBR1’s gearbox and ergonomics) but they were good cars. And now we’ll talk about the first one of those, the DB3S, offspring of the DB3 and a car that’s getting a bad rep for being actually friendly on the road.
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.
2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro
Earlier this year, Aston Martin unveiled the Valkyrie, an insane hybrid hypercar rocking four-digit output figures and the combined go-faster know-how of Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing, among several others. Designed to take on the best of the best in the world of superlative road-going performance, the Valkyrie hasn’t even hit production yet and Aston is already gearing up for a newer, faster version. Dubbed the Valkyrie AMR Pro, it’s a track-only variant of the Valkyrie that eliminates any remaining conciliations for street duty, pumping up the speed potential to ever-greater heights. Created as a collaborative effort between Aston and Red Bull, the Valkyrie AMR Pro once again takes direction from English Formula 1 mastermind Adrian Newey, offering more extreme aero, an all-business interior, more power, and less weight. The result is one serious speed machine, with Aston bragging it’ll have what it takes to challenge modern F1 and LMP1 racers in terms of lap times.
That’s a mighty impressive boast, especially for a platform that traces its roots to something you can drive on the road. Indeed, this is Aston’s idea of “ultimate,” the top of the mountain in the land of fast. This is what you get when you give Aston Martin and Red Bull an extreme performance car plus a blank check for track use. We know you wanna know more about it, so read on for the details.
Updated 03/14/2018: We updated our review with the official details and images released at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show.
Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro.
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.
Aston Martin’s Gravity-Powered Vantage GTE Soapbox Is A Winner In Our Books
The Aston Martin Vantage GTE made a spectacular showing at the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning its LMGTE Pro class on its way to finishing 17th overall. The success has spurred Aston Martin Racing and the Vantage GTE to even greater heights as it once again took to the grid to compete in yet another racing competition. This time though, the scene of the Vantage GTE’s latest motor racing triumph isn’t Le Mans. It’s not even Bathurst or the Nürburgring. It’s Alexandra Palace in London, England, the site of Red Bull’s Soapbox Race where the Vantage GTE Soapbox finished second in the “24 Seconds of Le Ally Pally.”
Snicker all you want, but you can’t deny that the miniaturized, gravity-powered Vantage GTE looks just as awesome as its life-sized counterpart. It is a lot smaller than the actual Vantage GTE and it doesn’t have the car’s powerful V-8 engine, but where it lacks in producing an actual soundtrack, the soapbox Vantage GTE more than makes up for it in having a presence about itself. Even better, it actually had a successful go at the 24 Seconds of Le Ally Pally, finishing second overall, behind only the Brooklands Special team. That kind of success is what Aston Martin was going for when it decided to enter the soapbox in the fun-filled race, and you can be sure that the motorsports division of Aston Martin will try to build on this year’s impressive result and turn it into a better showing next year. Who knows, next year’s entry might even be the Valkyrie hypercar, or at least a soapbox version of it.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
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.