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.
2016 Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Special Edition
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.