Aston Martin’s Secret Nurburgring 24 Weapon; The V12 Vantage GT


Aston Martin unveil a modified V12 Vantage for their attack on the Nurburgring 24.

Drive Cult friend and Evo magazine contributor Richard Meaden was kind enough to give us an inside look at what will be Aston Martin's flagship car at the 2010 Nurburgring 24 hour race. It's call the V12 Vantage GT and it should make quite an impression at this year's race when it runs along side Aston's V12 Vantage and Rapide on May 15th and 16th.

The car was built in-house at Aston Martin headquarters in Gaydon, England, by the same team that builds Aston's prototype cars. Interestingly, it's mostly the same car that "Iron" Meaden helped take to an SP8 class (essentially a class for road cars with a moderate amount of race modifications) victory at last year's race. That car was nicknamed "Elwood", but it was based on "Kermit," a V8 Vantage which was also driven by Meaden in the 2008 N24.

This particular chassis has seen its fair share of modifications, then. This year's tweaks are mostly aerodynamic in nature. Out front, the car has grown a new splitter, which reduces under body air pressure. Vents over the front wheels reduce lift on the front axle and side vents aft of the front wheels channel airflow around the sides. The rear deck has had a huge rear wing bolted to it to balance the whole package.

Under the skin you'll find a mostly road spec V12 Vantage. It's powered by the same 6.0 liter V12 found in the road car and features the same six speed manual transmission. The brakes discs have actually been downgraded to steel units, since the carbon rotors found on the road car are band by class rules.

The V12 Vantage GT had the finishing touches put on it early Wednesday morning and then ran a few shakedown laps at Silverstone. After this it was packed up and shipped of to the Nurburgring, where it will compete in this weekend's VLN (Germany's Nurburgring exclusive race series) race. Richard will share the car with Chris Porrit, Oliver Mathai and Peter Cate. Be sure to follow him on twitter (@DickieMeaden) for race updates.

Richard won't be the only evo staffer competing at the N24 this year either. Chris Harris has scored a dream drive with legendary Porsche test driver Walter Rohrl in a 911 GT3 RS and has already successfully campaigned two VLN races this season. Roger Green will also be giving it a go in a Lotus Exige.

If you're a regular evo reader (if you're not you should be) then you probably recognize that this inter-office rivalry should be pretty fun to watch unfold. You'll be able to follow all the drama at Evo's website. I just hope they're all on speaking terms when it's over. Also, be sure to check back here at Drive Cult in the coming weeks to learn more about the N24.