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“In less than twenty-four hours I’m going to find out if this is the best car Aston Martin has ever built”


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When Aston Martin Australia confirmed to me that Car Advice was the only Australian media attending the worldwide launch of their highly anticipated V12 Vantage, I was humbled.

But when he told me that they were looking forward to the usual gallery of great photos, which Car Advice has won a hard earned reputation for, a cold chill ran up my spine.

With less than twelve hours remaining before I needed to board the plane, I didn’t have a camera. It was in a bag somewhere between Valencia and Sydney and TNT (use anyone but these guys) couldn’t tell me where in the world they were.  No camera, big problem.

I was now faced with the prospect of having to hire a Canon SLR (with lens) and after a quick Google; this wasn’t going to be cheap. A thousand bucks for the week was the general quote, until I stumbled on a small outfit called Camera Hire www.camerahire.com.au  These guys quoted me less than half anyone else, and that’s with a superior lens to my own.

They also gave me a few handy tips when it comes to shooting cars, and if you read this as a plug, then so be it, happy to oblige.

I only got back into Sydney several days ago as part of our Full Throttle test team, but despite being a little weary, there’s nothing like a V12 engine shoehorned into Aston Martin’s smallest car to pump up the adrenalin. Add to that an iconic location in that Mecca of speed Germany, and I’m wide-awake.

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This is Nurburgring, and this is going to be a great launch.  It’s the most feared and infamous racetrack in the world, with no less than 176 corners (many of them blind) over twenty-four kilometres and the weather can change depending on where you are on the track.

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Lap times around Nurburgring have become the benchmark for performance car manufacturers and with this particular weekend, we hit the jackpot. It’s time for the 37th running of “24 hour Nurburgring”

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Aston Martin will run a brand new V12 Vantage alongside the now familiar yellow V8 Vantage, nicknamed “Rose”.

This leads me to introduce Aston Martin’s German born CEO. He’s different, in fact, I’m not sure he even owns a suit, maybe a racing suit but nothing from Savile Row.

His name is Dr Ulrich Bez and you’re far more likely to see him sitting in the driver’s seat of one of his race cars, than in an in any Alcantara upholstered office chair.

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In fact, he and some of Aston’s engineering team will be piloting this V12 mean machine in this weekend’s race, and they expect nothing less than success – for both cars.

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And why wouldn’t they brilliant engine, brilliant chassis, Pirelli P Zero Corsa race tyres, and you’re in with a shot.

The really good news is that the V12 Vantage Nurburgring entry is closely related to the road going version and that’s from the P Zero Corsa rubber – up.  This is a proper race bred car, the real deal, if you will.

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There’s lightweight carbon fibre everywhere, from the cooling ducts in the bonnet, the front splitter to the rear diffuser. Even the door pulls have been hand crafted in the stuff.

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And none of this is for show; it’s all there to improve the performance and driveability of the car.

The front splitter channels cool air to the brakes and radiator, while at the same time, increasing down force.

The bonnet louvres remove heat from the engine bay and also provide down force by reducing the build up of air under the bonnet, while the side sills, which have been designed from experience with the N24 race car, channel air away from its under body and reduce rear end lift.

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When you drop a 6.0 litre V12 hand built engine (a al DBS) into Aston’s lightest car, you are bound to produce some serious get up and go.

That’ll be 380kW (510 bhp) and 570kW (420 lb ft) or 0-100km/h in 4.2 seconds and a top speed of 306km/h, thank you very much!

Standard stoppers are Carbon Ceramic Matrix (CCM) with massive 398mm front rotors with six pots up the front. Take my word for it; fade free braking won’t be a problem.

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I’ll let you if this is the best car Aston Martin has ever built tomorrow night.