Dickie's Aston racer appears

Our Dickie Meaden is racing a striking Aston Martin V12 Vantage at the Ring 24 hours. Here it is

Aston Martin sprang a surprise this morning when it ran the one-off V12 Vantage GT for the first time at Silverstone, as a shakedown for this weekend's VLN race at the Nürburgring.

Aston's Chris Porritt conducted the test, but our own Dickie Meaden was there to see the car run. Better still he'll be racing it at the 'Ring, both in this weekend's VLN round and at the Nürburgring 24-hours on May 15 and 16.

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As you can see, although the V12 Vantage GT retains the standard road car mechanicals - 6-litre V12 and six-speed H-pattern gearbox - it has extensive aerodynamic tweaks. The most striking element of the aero package is the new front-end, which features a huge splitter, dive planes and wider, vented front wheelarches. The downforce this generates is then balanced by the huge rear wing.

It certainly looks spectacular, and is the marque's most serious road-based racer yet.

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Dickie will be tweeting from the race this weekend, and will be blogging soon after as part of our unique N24 coverage.

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