FROM THE ARCHIVES: DRIVING THE ASTON MARTIN V12 VANTAGE RS CONCEPT

The Vantage RS became my preferred Aston Martin when I initially heard it fire up and saw it rotate out of the pit garage at Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France. Well, I thought that it might be my preferred Aston then – much-loved ever before, that is, ever before, going as far back as you like, pre-war, post-war, you name it. Could not be a hundred percent sure, but it really did not appear as if it required to do far more. The audio of that wonderful 6.0-litre V12 engine barking right into life took me the majority of the way there– the shrill metal whap is one of the globe’s excellent engine notes. And it pops and also bangs on the overrun. Ah.

And also just seeing that giant engine resting well in its bay did a lot for me. What’s more, it’s amazingly beautiful this RS. Low-slung on 20-inch hyper-alloys shrouding enormous carbon-ceramic brake discs, RS scrawled across the calipers, bodywork modifications all round, from front splitter to side skirts to rear diffuser, it’s excellent from any type of angle you select.

For the car-to-car images you see below, I needed to drive the RS at 50– 60mph as well as no faster, for security factors. Never ever has a car really felt so constricted during this task– you could almost pick up the Aston wondering what on earth was taking place. Below we are, at Paul Ricard circuit, which is deserted, it’s a clear, warm evening as well as I’m forced to sit at 50? What are you doing, vehicle driver? It just wanted to go, every fibre of it was willing me to go, to toenail the throttle pedal so hard it wrecked through the firewall program as well as clattered onto the track. But not yet.

The Vantage RS is a concept cars and truck, keep in mind. It is far from an ended up roadway vehicle. This Mako Blue example is among only two V12 Vantages in existence– the other is a mule running a customized DBS motor– as well as it has been offered Paul Ricard overnight from the Geneva Electric Motor Show for this exclusive Aston test session. Yearly, Aston Martin Competing does this for its client groups, gives them a track to use for a number of days. So every one of the quickest AM racers were there– factory GT1, GT2 and GT3 Le Mans autos, an outstanding AM- powered Lola LMP1 Le Mans prototype washing 10 secs quicker than anything else, plus a swathe of Vantage N24 client cars. So, we’ll be sharing the track with the similarity Heinz-Harald Frentzen, that might become an Aston Martin functions motorist this year. No roadway driving yet, because the RS isn’t roadway lawful, yet that’s awesome, just let me toenail that throttle pedal.

Half-concept, half-racer is the style inside. It’s cluttered with digital package for measuring stuff, including a simple digital display for revs and also temps bolted to the guiding column. The oil container is exposed in the rear area, which is finished in ordinary alloy. A fuel pump whirrs loudly if the auto is sitting with its ignition on– different added switches are crudely put onto the dash. However none of this matters. It’s the idea that counts.

As the RS pushed along slowly, having its photo taken, a huge warm risen from the engine bay, through the dashboard and also into the cabin. you might feel it practically melting your fingers when you stroked the centre console shroud. This excess temperature will certainly disappear when the road auto’s exhaust obtains correct heat-shielding, but below it said a lot– it was as if a mighty cavern troll was sleeping in advance, producing an amazing body heat. One of those big boys from The Lord of the Rings, pressing open the gates of Mordor. One of those. The kind you don’t intend to distress.

What it actually is a V12 raised directly from a DBRS9 GT racing cars and truck, which is a really similar unit to the one in the Le Mans-winning DBR9– it’s basically unchanged, running through a standard DBS six-speed gearbox. It pushes out the very same power as the GT auto– so that’ll be 600bhp, after that, in a maker evaluating just 1,500 kg, or about midway in between a stripped-out N24 V8 Vantage race vehicle and a supply Vantage roadway vehicle. This modern V12 is only about 30kg heavier than the 4.3-litre V8 in the road automobile, and is placed as far back towards the vehicle driver as feasible. Getting it to fit had not been very easy, and involved a lot of major work with the Vantage’s modular frame. Those louvres on the hood aren’t just cosmetic. This point runs hot.

Fast-forward to the following day, as well as out we go, onto the glass-smooth Paul Ricard tarmac, this moment in anger. It’s a 60kph restriction in the pit lane, then we go across the line, and also the large V12 gets offered what it wants– outright full throttle. I’m in second equipment and also the rear tyres, 305s, semi-slick, instantly light up, the whole car turning a little sideways with the torque effect. And they were quite warm before I got in the automobile. Okay, we expected that. Third now. They light up again, instantaneous wheelspin. Woah.

Christ, this point is quickly– as you might anticipate in a 1,500 kg vehicle with 600bhp. It’ll certainly run a high-six-second time from 0-100mph. The throttle-mapping has actually been taken right from the DBRS9, so it’s pure racing car. It likes to be on, off or dead consistent, rather than constantly modulated as though on the road. Yet that’s all right, we get on a track and also no matter. The 398mm (360mm rear) carbon-ceramic brakes work well, though uniformity of feel in the pedal needs a little bit of attention. All these little points will certainly be sorted in good time.

It really feels light in the edges, since it is light. Active. Understeer isn’t an element on this surface area. If there were something I could state to Aston concerning this car as well as just how to advance it for road usage, it would be this– keep the weight out. Maintain it basic. The guiding calls for minimal initiative, the nose attacks as well as the auto is a doddle to stabilize on the throttle. I think I was anticipating a ruthless, unbalanced and also shabby beast in the edges, but it’s nothing of the kind. It’s rather soft, which it requires to be, and also lets you know precisely what’s taking place at the rear end. Whether it remains in fast-, sluggish- or medium-speed edges, it’s tough to fault the balance of this cars and truck. What I couldn’t evaluate is its reaction to mid-corner bumps, because Paul Ricard does not have any kind of. Allow’s wish it’s as predictable and also very easy to manage when it strikes the random bumps of your normal British B-road.

It’s hard to get your head around the straight-line acceleration of this point beyond 100mph, however possibly this little anecdote will aid: I came onto the mile-and-a-bit-long back right of Ricard as well as allow Frentzen with in the gulf-liveried GT1 DBR9, fronts lights ablaze, on a quick one. After that I embeded and also stayed with him as he accumulated speed up down that l-o-n-g directly. He’s running regarding the exact same engine, see, however is likewise loaded with a shedload a lot more downforce, which relates to more drag. So I was equally as quick, if not faster, in my clean, drag-free, road-going RS. What a moment, on the back straight at Ricard, slipstreaming Frentzen’s Le Mans car conveniently in a roadway cars and truck, listening to his screeching V12 exhaust note piercing my windscreen, enjoying the speedo clock up towards 200mph. At the end of the straight is a really rapid fourth-gear right hander. Frentzen stopped about 100m behind me as well as probably carried 70mph much more via there and also promptly disappeared. Yet the RS had actually had its minute. It had stayed on par with big brother.

Christ, this point is fast. Did I claim that already? The engine is stonking from 1,000 rpm to 7,500 rpm, piling on enormous torque in a huge, level mass– which is why, to be straightforward, you do not need to rev it a lot past 6,000. The thrust is clean as well as direct as the tacho needle whips around its clock at a frenzied price. The engine is mighty, and makes a sound equal to any kind of I have actually listened to. The Ferrari 599 and Lambo Murciélago LP640 have respectable V12 engine notes, yet they’re not far better than this set. Please, Dr Bez, attempt to maintain the road auto’s engine as near to this as feasible.

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