Aston Martin Celebrates its Roots with The Vantage Heritage Racing Edition
Six different colorways honoring six iconic Aston Martin race carsby Kirby Garlitos, on
Aston Martin is rolling out the goods at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed with a new special edition model called the Vantage Heritage Racing Edition. Limited to just 60 units, the Vantage Heritage Racing Edition is a creation of the automaker’s bespoke Q division, honoring Aston Martin’s rich and storied motorsports history. The Vantage Heritage Racing Edition is available with six different liveries that celebrate six of Aston Martin’s most iconic and important race cars, including the mighty DBR9 that conquered the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2007 and 2008 while sporting the iconic “Gulf” livery. Aston Martin hasn’t released details on pricing and availability, though, to be honest, it’s hard to imagine any of the 60 Vantage Heritage Racing Edition models to go unsold once they become available.
Aston Martin’s relationship with the Goodwood Festival of Speed dates back to 1949 when the British automaker first raced at the Goodwood Motor Classic. That piece of nostalgia is important because the British automaker has built one of the most impressive motor racing resumes of any automaker in the world, including back-to-back class victories at the 2007 and 2008 24 Hours of Le Mans. It just so happens, too, that 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of Aston Martin’s now-famous one-two finish at the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans race. With so many celebrations this year, it’s no surprise that Aston Martin is playing a starring role at this year’s Festival of Speed.
I’m not just talking about the launch of the Vantage Heritage Racing Editions. I’ll get to that later. First, let’s talk about the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s Central Display, and the automaker that was chosen to create this year’s display.
Aston Martin, oddly enough, received this honor for the first time, and, with the help of British artist and designer Gerry Judah — he’s responsible for creating the central features at the Festival of Speed for 22 years and counting — Aston Martin created a 30-meter high (98.4-foot) swooping structure made from steel.
It featured the Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1 spearing towards the sky on what Aston describes as “a never-ending race track.” This is actually the first time Aston Martin has ever been featured in the Central Feature, which is weird in it of itself considering that it shares British ancestry with the Festival of Speed. Be that as it may, Aston Martin didn’t waste the opportunity. The Central Display looks positively sick.
But that’s not all that Aston did at the Festival as the British automaker’s presence has made its presence felt in more ways than one. The Aston Martin Vantage Heritage Racing Edition is a special edition Vantage done in six different flavors. It’s limited to only 60 units, and while the exclusive touches are mostly cosmetic in nature, the result is actually six different versions of the same special edition, each paying tribute to a specific historical Aston Martin race car spanning a ridiculous 91 years of motor racing history.
That’s not to say that these six versions are completely different from one another.
On the contrary, all six share a number of features and add-ons, including a new aerodynamic kit made up of a carbon fiber rear wing, dive planes, and an extended front splinter that helps increase downforce by a whopping 194 kilos (427 pounds) at 190 mph.
Aero kit aside, all six special edition Vantage models also come with an interior that’s dressed to the nines in carbon fiber, a sports plus pack, and a set of lightweight wheels.
Now, on to the good stuff. Each of the six special edition versions of the Vantage Heritage Racing Edition comes with a specific color scheme that pays homage to a specific Aston Martin racer from yesteryear.
1923 Aston Martin Razor Blade - “The Record Breaker”
The first of the six versions of the Vantage Heritage Racing Edition is called “The Record Breaker,” and it pays tribute to the 1923 Aston Martin Razor Blade. It’s the oldest racing car to provide inspiration for the series, and its place as one of Aston’s most historically significant race cars is secure after setting two class records in the 1500CC light car class at Brooklands in 1923.
Q by Aston Martin transformed the all-new Vantage to pay tribute to the Razor Blade, dressing the sports coupé in a silver body finish as a hat tip to the race car’s aluminum streamlined body that was constructed by aircraft builder De Havilland.
A splash of green was added on certain sections of the body as a nod to the iconic race car’s unmistakable green chassis.
1935 Aston Martin Ulster - “The Italian Progettista”
The next version of the Aston Martin Vantage Heritage Racing Edition is inspired by Aston’s most iconic pre-war racing model, the Ulster.
Most people probably don’t remember this, but the Ulster kick-started Aston Martin’s long run of success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans when it bagged a third-overall finish in the 1935 staging of the race.
It also won its class and finished fourth int he RAC Tourist Trophy Race, adding more accolades to its personal trophy mantle. In keeping with the Ulster’s look, Q by Aston Martin dressed up the Vantage in a red body finish that matches the original team color scheme. It’s hard to see from the available press photos, but the Italian Progettista also comes with “Aston Martin” lettering on the side gill. That detail isn’t there by accident; it’s a nod to the distinctive script that Aston Martin hand-painted on the hood of the team cars.
1953 Aston Martin DBS - “The David Brown Era”
Third up is “The David Brown Era” Aston Martin Vantage. This special edition draws its color scheme from the iconic 1953 Aston Martin DB3S, which used multiple color schemes on individual race cars as a way for Aston Martin to properly identify their race cars while they’re out on the race track.
One particular color scheme, though, has become associated with the 1953 Aston Martin DBS more than any other color scheme.
In some ways, the yellow-and-green two-tone color setup has become so synonymous with Aston Martin that the automaker has used it on a number of vehicles in the past. Now you can include the new Aston Martin Vantage, which wears the green as the predominant color with the yellow acting as an accent throughout the coupe’s body.
1989 Aston Martin AMR1 - “The Group C Monster”
The best-looking of the six Aston Martin Vantage Heritage Racing Edition, in my mind, at least, is “The Group C Monster.” Named after the 1989 Aston Martin AMR1, the “Group C Monster” takes its cues from a race car that competed in the Group C racing series. It’s not as accomplished as some of the other classic Aston Martin race cars on this list, but the AMR1 earned acclaim on other ways, not the least of which included its kevlar and carbon fiber monocoque chassis, a technology that nobody had applied, let alone thought of, in the motor racing scene.
The Aston Martin AMR1 competed in only seven races with no poles and no podium finishes, but, to this day, it’s recognized as one of the most revolutionary Aston Martin racers of all time.
It doesn’t hurt, too, that the AMR1’s red, white, and blue livery translates incredibly well on the new Vantage. The predominantly white body makes it look clean while the red and blue racing stripes and trim give it that sporty vibe.
2007 Aston Martin DBR9 - “The Le Mans Winner”
The Group C Monster is my favorite of the bunch, but I suspect most people will gravitate towards The Le Mans Winner. For good reason, too.
Not only does this version of the Vantage Heritage Racing Edition pay tribute to the dominant Aston Martin DBR9 — it won the GT class in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2007 and 2008 — but it pays tribute to it in the most hyped way imaginable.
Really, other than the British Racing Green finish, what color scheme best exudes British motor racing to its core? If you answered the iconic “Gulf” livery, you wouldn’t be wrong. Well, the “Le Mans Winner” proudly wears unmistakable two-tone paint finish, and it wears it like a glove. Of the 60 Aston Martin Vantage Heritage Racing Edition units that Aston Martin plans to build, my money’s on the “The Le Mans Winner” to be the most common choice among all those who end up buying the special edition Vantage.
2018 Aston Martin Vantage - “The Next Generation”
Last but definitely not least is “The Next Generation,” a model that pays tribute to the 2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE that has so far competed in eight World Endurance Championship (WEC) races, notching two wins and one pole position.
The special edition Vantage Heritage Racing Edition wears the same Lime Essence and Stirling Green color as the current race car. It’s the most bombastic-looking of the six different color schemes that Q by Aston Martin prepared for the special edition Vantage.
Whether that translates to a lot of customer choices remains unclear, but you have to deny that it’s hard to take your eyes off of it once you see it in the photos or, better yet, on the road.
Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vantage.
Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vantage AMR.