Automotive

Aston Martin strips back Vantage V8 to create GT8 road racer

Aston Martin strips back Vanta...
Aston Martin has applied its racing nous to the GT8, with a big bodykit and more powerful engine
Aston Martin has applied its racing nous to the GT8, with a big bodykit and more powerful engine
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The yellow highlights are at odds with Aston Martin's usually restrained styling
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The yellow highlights are at odds with Aston Martin's usually restrained styling
There are fabric door pulls to highlight the lightweight focus of the GT8
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There are fabric door pulls to highlight the lightweight focus of the GT8
The GT8 is the latest in a line of impressive debuts for Aston Martin
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The GT8 is the latest in a line of impressive debuts for Aston Martin
The rear wing is optional, but we'd be surprised if any of the buyers would not tick the box
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The rear wing is optional, but we'd be surprised if any of the buyers would not tick the box
The bucket seats are manually adjustable and have carbon backs
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The bucket seats are manually adjustable and have carbon backs
Aston Martin hasn't skimped on creature comforts inside
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Aston Martin hasn't skimped on creature comforts inside
A carbon fiber roof is optional, as are polycarbonate windows
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A carbon fiber roof is optional, as are polycarbonate windows
Only 150 GT8s will be built, and none of them will make it to the USA
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Only 150 GT8s will be built, and none of them will make it to the USA
Speccing the Aero pack gives you a more complex front splitter and big rear wing
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Speccing the Aero pack gives you a more complex front splitter and big rear wing
Aston Martin is keen to point out how much carbon has been used on the GT8
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Aston Martin is keen to point out how much carbon has been used on the GT8
Carbon fiber has been used for the front splitter
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Carbon fiber has been used for the front splitter
The lairy yellow and blue paintjob pictured here is one of three available
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The lairy yellow and blue paintjob pictured here is one of three available
The GT8 alongside its GTE racing cousin
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The GT8 alongside its GTE racing cousin
Aston Martin has applied its racing nous to the GT8, with a big bodykit and more powerful engine
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Aston Martin has applied its racing nous to the GT8, with a big bodykit and more powerful engine
View gallery - 14 images

Aston Martin has turned to its racing heritage for another stripped-back, Vantage road racer. Based on the V8 Vantage, the more powerful GT8 promises a hard edged driving experience to back up its lairy carbon makeover.

Having launched the gorgeous DB11 in Geneva, promised a hypercar collaboration with Red Bull racing and pleased the purists with a dogleg-manual gearbox on the V12 Vantage, Aston Martin is on a bit of a roll at the moment. Gaydon's engineers look to be onto another winner with the new GT8 – after all, adding power and cutting weight is a surefire way to crank up the fun on any car, let alone a 4.7-liter V8 British sportscar.

Forgetting about the engine for a moment, the most striking change to the Vantage formula is the GT8's loud new bodykit. Carbon fiber has been used to create a new bumper, splitter and fenders up front, while the rear diffuser and side sills jutting out from the launch car's blue and green bodywork are also fashioned from the lightweight weave.

Aston Martin has also catered to the boy-racer clientele with the Aero Pack, which adds a huge wing and more complex front splitter.

The GT8 is the latest in a line of impressive debuts for Aston Martin
The GT8 is the latest in a line of impressive debuts for Aston Martin

If the extra bodywork isn't enough for you, there's a long list of lightweight options available. For the full road-racer experience you'll need to spec the GT8 with a carbon fiber roof, polycarbonate windows and windscreen and a titanium exhaust. Considering the BMW M4 has a carbon roof as standard and some hot hatches have standard titanium exhaust systems, it seems a bit rich for Aston to ask extra for them on a lightweight special worth £165,000 (US$233,760).

Although the exterior screams racecar, Aston Martin has been careful to make the interior workable for day-to-day drives. Alongside the carbon fiber door panels and manually-adjustable carbon backed buckets GT8 owners are treated to air-conditioning, a 160-watt audio system and Aston Martin's latest infotainment system.

We wouldn't worry too much about the stereo though, you'd be better served turning it off and tuning in to the car's V8. With 440 hp (328 kW), it's only 10 hp (7 kW) more powerful than the Vantage S, but that's already one of the best sounding cars around. The thought of that raspy V8 running through a titanium exhaust should be enough to give any petrolhead goosebumps.

Just 150 examples of the GT8 will be built, but in a cruel blow for US-based Anglophiles none of them will be sent across the Atlantic.

Source: Aston Martin

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