Aston's V12 Zagato has won the Villa d’Este Concours in Italy, beating Ferrari’s Superamerica 45
23 May 2011

Aston Martin is preparing a race debut for its new V12 Zagato - and has already admitted that it has given the green light to a roadgoing version of the dramatic two-seater.

The British manufacturer’s return to collaboration with the iconic design house and coachbuilder was the number one star at this weekend’s Villa d’Este Concours in Italy, after vying with Ferrari’s Superamerica 45 for attention.

Based on a V12 Vantage, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato is designed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Aston’s first collaboration with the Italian company - and like that car, the DB4GT Zagato, the new model focuses on improving an existing package for motorsport.

The car’s V12 motor is in standard tune, therefore, producing 510bhp and 420lb ft - but underneath the new bodywork - a joint effort between Aston chief designer Marek Reichman and Zagato - lies a stripped-out bodyshell complete with roll cage and bare competition dashboard. It results in a considerable weight saving that’s likely to nudge the 0-62mph time down to less than four seconds.

The chassis - engineered by a Chris Porritt-led team including veterans of Astons’ One-77 project - features a retuned version of the regular V12 Vantage’s double-wishbone suspension.

The V12 Zagato will make its racing debut at the VLN four-hour race at the Nürburgring, where it will feature a more extreme aerodynamic package. And two examples, including one driven by Aston CEO Dr Ulrich Bez, will tackle the Nürburgring 24 Hours at the end of June.

It’s understood that the car will be made eligible for national-level race series - “gentleman’s racing”, according to one Aston source - but that there are no plans for the Zagato to go up to FIA GT level.

Bez has confirmed that the car will make production. “The task for us has been to create a concept that is a natural successor to those iconic cars that have gone before,” he said. “Matching the technology of the age with the traditional skills vital to deliver such a bespoke and exclusive sports car will lead to a strictly limited run of roadgoing V12 Zagatos.” Autocar understands the first deliveries will occur next year.

The roadgoing model will do away with the huge rear wing and roll cage, and introduce more creature comforts in the cabin - although it could retain some of the racer’s motorsport-influenced materials, including the anti-glare dashboard top made from Alcantara.

However, Aston could feasibly offer the car in two states - a race spec and a plusher version without the rear wing. And it could conceivably charge north of £200,000 for the car. But expect the production numbers to be much closer to the DB4GT Zagato’s (19 units) than those of the last collaboration, the DB7 Zagato and DB AR1 (100 each).

John McIlroy

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Aston Martin V8 Vantage

The Aston Martin Vantage has an abundance of soul, and decent ability with it

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