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
Dry sump oil system
Xtrac 6 speed sequential transmission with semi-auto gear change
Limited slip ramp/plate differential
Carbon fibre propshaft
Lightweight aluminium chassis
Steel roll cage to FIA safety standards
High speed pneumatic jack system
Double wishbone with uniball bearings
2-way adjustable dampers front and rear
Optimised geometry for lower race ride height
Hydraulic power assisted steering
110-litre fuel cell to FIA safety standards
Twin quick release couplings
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
Six-point safety harness
Adjustable seat & pedal box position
Carbon fibre dash
Fire extinguisher system
Driver display and shift lights
Body & Aero
Removable carbon-fibre body panels & aluminium roof
Adjustable full width carbon fibre rear wing
Aerodynamically optimised bumpers, side sills and rear fenders
Dry weight 1250kg