The Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 has already clocked up over 1000 kilometres at Brands Hatch during testing this week.

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Aston Martin builds what are widely regarded as some of the most beautiful road cars in the world and the GT3 is proof that the company's race cars don't lose those aesthetic attributes.

Aston Martin Racing boss Dave King told CarAdvice at a recent track session that its race cars are essentially series production cars with a few mandatory components bolted on to comply with race regulations. No doubt he's being slightly modest, as the race cars are a little more sophisticated than that.

The V12 Vantage GT3 racer is based on the road-going V12 Vantage, and shares its bonded-aluminium construction and 6.0-litre V12 engine, though significant aerodynamic additions such as the large rear wing and front splitter ensure you won't confuse race and road car.

The GT3 has been developed to replace the highly successful and championship-winning DBRS9, which the company has raced since various GT series since 2006.

Factory driver Darren Turner racked up the test kilometres and said the new race car improves on its predecessor.

"The car ran like clockwork throughout and we’ve managed really good mileage already," said Turner. "The feeling of the V12 Vantage GT3 is a massive step forward from the DBRS9. Being based on the smaller Vantage it is more responsive and feels more nimble, giving the driver plenty of confidence to extract all the performance from the V12 engine while also being light on its tyres. It isn’t too physical to drive and I didn’t even break into a sweat during the test.

“With the clean styling and amazing-sounding V12, it’s closer to the core values of Aston Martin’s road cars than any of the racing cars we’ve ever built. I’m certain it’ll become a favourite among motorsport fans in no time at all.”

Apart from the significantly revised V12 engine from the DBRS9, other changes include a lightweight crankshaft and dry sump lubrication for all round better performance and greater reliability.

Aston Martin Racing's managing director, John Gaw, is also upbeat about the car’s future prospects.

"The Vantage GT3 is the ultimate expression of all the experience that Aston Martin has gained in the past six years. The DBRS9 still has a year of FIA Homologation remaining, which effectively makes 2012 a development year for the V12 Vantage GT3.

“We’re very confident that the Vantage GT3 will be a competitive force in all GT3 series, winning racers and eventually titles as well. Given our track record in engineering and building fast and reliable GT cars, we’re very confident that the new Vantage GT3 will build on the DBR9’s success over years to come.”

With 448kW (600bhp) and 700Nm of torque to shift a dry weight of just 1250 kilograms, the V12 Vantage GT3 should be a very quick bit of kit.

Technical Specifications: V12 Vantage GT3

Engine

Lightweight V12

Dry sump oil system

Power 600bhp

Torque 700Nm

Transmission

Xtrac 6 speed sequential transmission with semi-auto gear change

Limited slip ramp/plate differential

Carbon fibre propshaft

Chassis

Lightweight aluminium chassis

Steel roll cage to FIA safety standards

High speed pneumatic jack system

Suspension

Double wishbone with uniball bearings

2-way adjustable dampers front and rear

Optimised geometry for lower race ride height

Steering

Hydraulic power assisted steering

Fuel system

110-litre fuel cell to FIA safety standards

Twin quick release couplings

Brakes

6 pot front & 4 pot rear calipers with ventilated steel discs

Manually adjustable front/rear brake bias

Adjustable motorsport ABS and traction control

Wheels & Tyres

Front 12.5” x 18” 30/68-18

Rear 13” x 18” 31/71-18

Cockpit

Six-point safety harness

Adjustable seat & pedal box position

Lightweight battery

Carbon fibre dash

Fire extinguisher system

Driver display and shift lights

Body & Aero

Removable carbon-fibre body panels & aluminium roof

Front splitter

Adjustable full width carbon fibre rear wing

Aerodynamically optimised bumpers, side sills and rear fenders

Weight

Dry weight 1250kg