Following on from the Vantage GT12, Aston Martin has now presented the most track-focused version of its V8-powered Vantage, the Vantage GT8.
Drawing on experience from its competition department in GTE, GT3 and GT4 series racing, the GT8 is the work of the firm’s Special Projects and Motorsport division and takes direct inspiration from those GTE class cars.
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At its heart is a 4.7-litre, naturally-aspirated V8 developing 440bhp at 7300rpm, with 361lb ft at a rousing 5000rpm. Power is sent through either a Sportshift II seven-speed automated manual or – joyfully – a six-speed manual transmission.
A limited-slip differential acts as mediator to the 9.5-inch wide rear tyres – the GT8 wears Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s all-round – enabling a 4.4-second 0-60mph sprint and eventually, a 190mph top speed.
Such performance is also enabled by lower weight than a regular Vantage. A host of carbonfibre parts, including sports seats, door panels and roof, join a titanium centre-mounted exhaust and polycarbonate rear side windows and windscreen. The net result is a 100kg saving and 1510kg kerb weight, making it the lightest Vantage model ever.
Geometry is retuned for a greater track focus, with new springs and dampers, while 19-inch forged alloy wheels reduce unsprung weight. Behind them are large ventilated, grooved discs (380mm up front, 330mm astern).
Like the GT12, the GT8 plays host to a number of visual tweaks, which bring it closer in spirit to its racing cousins. The main paint shade is offset by gloss black lower valances and sills and black borders to the rear lamps, and these details are offset further by brightly-coloured accents like those on the racer – optionally available under the ‘Vantage GT8 halo paint scheme’.
An optional aero pack can add further aggression to the squat shape, with a rear wing and extended front corner splitters. Inside there’s a splash of Alcantara on the steering wheel, magnesium paddle shifters, GT8-branded headrests and sill plates and a special GT8 colour palette.
‘By focusing on weight savings and aerodynamics, we’ve taken the V8 Vantage to an entirely different level of agility and aggression. It’s a hugely exciting car honed to the keenest possible edge,’ explains David King, director of special projects and motorsport at Aston Martin.
Just 150 units will be produced, each for a starting price of £165,000. Deliveries begin in the fourth quarter of 2016.
'How will it drive? I’m fascinated that the dampers are passive, so it’s likely that it will have a more hardcore ride/handling setup than the GT12. Also, the inherent advantages of the V8 should mean a more even weight distribution – it should have a better balance than the GT12. I’m expecting more front-end response and better traction. I’m told it has cast-iron brakes, not carbon-ceramic (which aren’t even an option). Interesting. I hope they stand up to track abuse. Overall, it can and should be the best Vantage yet.' – Richard Meaden