The £1.8 million Aston Martin Vulcan has received its global dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
The exclusive track-only car, of which just 24 examples will be made, was driven up the famous hill climb route by Aston Martin driver Darren Turner.
First unveiled at the Geneva motor show back in March, the Vulcan is powered by a 7.0-litre V12 engine producing over 800bhp - making it the most powerful normally aspirated car in production.
The Vulcan will be built by an elite skunkworks division of Aston Martin, located near to the firm's Gaydon headquarters. Engineers will be assemble the car from parts bought in by specialists, mostly race-engineering suppliers, and from Aston itself.
A small, hand-picked team of engineers will start making the cars later in the summer, with the first deliveries due at the end of the year. "We will focus all the set-up of the Vulcan on the track," said project chief David King.
The Vulcan is named after the aircraft that once used Aston’s Gaydon headquarters when it was an RAF base. It is built around a carbonfibre tub and is made almost exclusively of exotic, lightweight materials.
Design chief Marek Reichman revealed that the Vulcan also previews the “visual language of our future sports cars”, as Aston prepares to give greater visual differentiation to its sports cars and GTs in its next generation of models, due from 2016. The firm's exterior design boss Miles Nürnberger has also said the Vulcan previews "the next generation" of its models, telling Autocar: "The shark nose on the front, some of the deeper contours and sinuous lines, you will see those in the future. You can see similarities in the front end between this and the DB10 [Aston Martin’s latest Bond car].”
At the Vulcan’s core is a two-seat carbonfibre tub derived from that used by the One-77. About 50% of the tub is new, with the chassis made stiffer and lighter and adapted to fit a full FIA-spec roll cage. Aston has worked with engineering firm Multimatic on the chassis and body development, as it did with the One-77.
The engine is mounted front-midship, with about 50% of it extending back into the cockpit. It is an AMR-developed normally aspirated 800bhp-plus 7.0-litre V12 that drives the rear wheels through an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox derived from the Vantage GTE race car’s. The titanium exhaust has two side exits, and Reichman promises flames on downshifts and a sound “to make you stand up and notice”. A 200mph-plus top speed is expected.
The Vulcan could prove to be the swansong for the normally aspirated V12 engine in an Aston Martin. The V12 is sure to live on in the next generation of Astons but is likely to adopt turbocharging in the future.
The suspension is a pushrod set-up derived from racing. The dampers are adjustable, as are the anti-roll bars. The braking system features Brembo calipers and carbon-ceramic discs, measuring 380mm in diameter at the front and 360mm at the rear, and an adjustable anti-lock braking system sourced from Bosch.
The tech spec also includes a variable traction control system, an integral limited-slip differential, a magnesium torque tube with a carbonfibre propeller shaft, lightweight magnesium centre-locking 19in alloy wheels and 345/30 bespoke Michelin tyres.
Reichman promises a “visceral driving experience” for the Vulcan: “It’s a very connected car but one you always feel in control of. Drive it and you will feel everything it is doing.”
The Vulcan has the same 2.8-metre wheelbase as the One-77 and is 2.2m wide, some 200mm wider than the One-77. It is also about 100mm lower than the 1.2m-tall One-77 and is 150kg lighter, at 1350kg.