The core range itself is also undergoing a massive new product rollout, starting with the upcoming DB11, which is said to have a much more compliant ride quality, as befits a GT car, than the outgoing DB9. The range will also be supplemented by the DBX crossover before the end of the decade. “The DB11 is the start of our second-century plan, a six-year plan,” said Reichman. “There’s a cadence, and every nine months there’s a new product coming.”
Q&A, David King, Aston Martin director of special projects and motorsport
How does a project as extreme as this start?
Within my role, [Aston Martin boss] Andy Palmer gives my team and me license to go out, be creative and do cool stuff. We did it with the GT12, and sold out all 100 cars.
With the GT12, we learned how to develop lightweight parts and how to further improve the Vantage and take it more into the road-going track day space. This is a space I’ve been itching for us to get into. We’re doing this again, but this time playing to the strengths of the V8 Vantage.
The GT12 Vantage is a big bruiser, whereas the GT8 is lighter, more dynamic. We looked at the strengths of the V8 Vantage and then built in elements of the GT4 race car as well. We had the nod to make it as extreme as we can.
Is it still a car you can drive comfortable on the road?
It’s still a road car, but it’s important for the credibility of the car that it can go on track and hold its own. This arena has been dominated by Porsche for years. But it’s an increasingly important market as it’s becoming harder and harder to use a high-performance car on the road. Track days are becoming more important to ensure these cars are relevant.
This is still usable on the road, though. It’s stripped out and a lot of the NVH stuff has been removed, but it’s usable.
How closely do you look at Porsche’s success with its GT cars?
We have to look very closely at Porsche. It’s amazing what they have done with the GT cars, and the market demand is there for special versions. We drive them, keep an eye on them. We’re not competitors, and only want a small slice of that segment.
Porsche actually did us a favour with the 911R at the Geneva show. They made a car that’s stripped out, back to basics, and at a premium price. It shows there’s interest in the market.
Who’s been buying the Aston GT cars, Porsche owners?
These GT models are something I’ve been keen to do, because we’ve been missing out on people looking for extreme products. The GT12 really hit the spot. There was a high level of conquest sales and new people coming to the brand. The hardest thing is to get people into the brand and then keep them.
What’s it like to drive?
I’ve driving one of the final prototypes this weekend. So far, it’s been sensational. The way it turns in, the precision, balance; it’s like the V8 Vantage but with so much more. The chassis has been retuned and there is more power and torque. It’s really crisp and with great responses. It’s as close as you can get on the road to the GT4 race car.
How much more to come is there from this Vantage?