Also at Geneva is the Aston Martin Vulcan – a track-only supercar and the British luxury brand’s most intense and exhilarating creation to date. One kids one not, even after experiencing the McLaren. This beast makes it difficult not to call up every motoring cliche you can think of.
Born out of extensive motorsport experience – and using the brand’s acknowledged flair for design and engineering ingenuity – the 800-plus bhp, all-carbon fibre Aston Martin Vulcan promises truly extreme performance.
Sadly, one hasn’t been able to test this out.
However, uniquely for Aston Martin, the new supercar – limited to just 24 examples worldwide – will allow owners the opportunity to precisely tailor their track day experience through a graduating scale of detailed power and dynamic performance adjustments.
Says CEO, Dr Andy Palmer:
“Aston Martin Vulcan is, by its very nature, a rare and thrilling supercar. Designed and engineered to deliver a genuinely bespoke driving experience that draws on our rich heritage, this car tailors its power and handling to both the capabilities of the driver and the characteristics of the track.
“A sports car for true sports car lovers, I believe the Aston Martin Vulcan – and the unique ownership programme that sits behind it – sets a whole new standard in the ultra-high luxury supercar class.”
Styled entirely in-house by the Aston Martin design team led by chief creative officer (great title) Marek Reichman, and with a design language hinting at the next generation of Aston Martin sports cars, this supercar is powered by the most potent iteration yet of the company’s naturally-aspirated, 7.0-litre V12 petrol engine.
With its 800-plus bhp powerplant developed in conjunction with Aston Martin Racing, this front mid-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car draws extensively on the brand’s rich GT motorsport experience.
However, the supercar sees its power-to-weight ratio exceed those of the GTE cars which compete in the FIA’s annual World Endurance Championship.
Comprising engineering which includes that sourced from the brand’s successful GT racing campaign, the car features a carbon fibre monocoque and body constructed by Aston Martin’s long-term specialist body engineering and manufacturing partner, Multimatic – an integral limited-slip differential, magnesium torque tube with carbon fibre propeller shaft and Brembo racing calipers act on carbon ceramic racing disc brakes which measure 380mm in diameter at the front and 360mm at the rear.
Drive is channelled to the 345/30 x19 rear wheels – and Michelin race-specification tyres – through a race-bred, rear mid-mounted Xtrac six-speed sequential shift gearbox.
Track-derived pushrod suspension with anti-dive geometry is complemented by Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) adjustable dampers and anti-roll bars front and rear, driver-adjustable anti-lock braking, and variable traction control.
The new track car will comply with all relevant FIA race safety requirements – of course.
Aston Martin’s director of special projects and motorsport, David King, takes up the tale:
“Taking the extensive learning from our various successful racing programmes and applying it to this exceptional track car for customers has been an exciting and sometimes challenging task for the team here at Gaydon.
“Our deep and broad motorsport experience, allied to our road car expertise has allowed us to make the Aston Martin Vulcan the absolutely compelling proposition it is today.”
No fear of understatement there, then.
Prior to taking delivery of their cars, owners will be offered the opportunity to take part in an extensive and detailed programme of intensive track driver training. Compulsory I’d have thought. When I took delivery of one of the first Golf 16v GTis in 1990 I was offered a £350 training day and realised then this should be a vital element for anyone driving a vehicle of this power. In the biking world, Kent’s roads are strewn with the torsos of middle-aged men who thought they could handle the incredible acceleration of today’s road-legal power bikes.
I’m told experienced racers, including Aston Martin Racing’s Le Mans-winning Darren Turner, will support owners on their ‘learning journey’, offering them the chance to refine their track driving technique and increase their ability through a carefully-constructed series of practical and theoretical driver training events.
Using a number of high performance Aston Martins including the V12 Vantage S and One-77 road cars and the Vantage GT4 race car, customers will gradually build experience and develop their track technique, before beginning their personal journeys into the immense performance potential of their Aston Martin Vulcan.
Adds David King: “We will be running a series of exclusive track day events commencing in 2016 that will offer the opportunity for these customers to explore their driving capabilities, and the car’s performance potential, on some of the world’s most famous and glamorous race circuits.”
There will also be the option of time in the virtual race car world of Darren Turner’s Base Performance Simulators, where buyers will have ample opportunity to further refine their driving style in the safety of the digital race track.
No longer the exclusive preserve of Formula 1, it is widely acknowledged that using a simulator can help prepare a driver for any race; improving technique and consistency as well as, ultimately, lap times.
Well, yes, that’s the theory.