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Mon Dec 05 18:35:23 SAST 2016

Aston Martin goes to the extreme

AFP Relaxnews | 2016-04-18 13:27:36.0
The Aston Martin Vantage GT8 (right) and the car that inspired it, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE race car.
Image by: ©Aston Martin Lagonda Ltd

British luxury sportscar maker Aston Martin has taken the wraps off the Vantage GT8, a limited-edition £165,000 ($234,000) version of its standard Vantage that the company claims is as close to a road-going racing car as the law allows.

Just 150 examples are being built, and the first deliveries won't start until the end of the year. But those with the money and the patience will get a GT car infused with a host of features and systems developed through Aston Martin's endurance racing programme.

The Vantage GT8 is 100kg lighter and its 4.7-liter naturally aspirated V8 has been tuned to deliver 440bhp and that power can be sent to the rear wheels via a proper manual gearbox, if the owner so desires. Otherwise, there's a paddle-shift automatic transmission in the options list.

Director of Special Projects and Motorsport, David King said: "We long held the desire to create a road car that truly reflects our racing activity at Le Mans. With the Vantage GT8, we've finally been able to achieve that."

Though based on the standard two-seat GT car, no one will be in any doubt that the GT8 is something special. Festooned with carbon fiber aerodynamic aids it has an extended front splitter, fixed rear wing and protruding sills finished in a choice of luminous contrasting colors. 

But that's just the start, depending on how often a potential owner intends to take the car to the track. Glass interior switches can be swapped for plastic, the roof can be specified in carbon fiber and the side and rear windows swapped for polycarbonate to save even more weight and therefore unleash even more performance.

"Road cars are our business, but racing is the beating heart of Aston Martin," said company CEO Dr Andy Palmer. "Beautifully engineered and set-up to be equally at home on a fabulous road or a demanding race track, the Vantage GT8 is a driver's car in the truest sense of the word."

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