Aston Martin Vantage GT8Aston Martin has launched a special edition Vantage GT8 at Silverstone to mark a new season in the World Endurance Championship in striking race-bred style.

The new Vantage GT8 is not only inspired by Aston’s race-winning GTE racers, it can also look not unlike a WEC car: all you need to add are the stickers…

Aston Martin Vantage GT8

It’s no token visual makeover either. Aston Martin has given the Vantage GT8 some significant engineering changes to make it the most extreme V8 Vantage ever – it’s quite the late-life boost for Aston’s most compact Porsche 911 challenger.

The wide-body aerodynamics kit brings carbon fibre front splitter, front and rear bumpers, front wings, side sills and rear diffuser – and Aston’s proud of the cutaway front wheelarch, which mimics the GTE racer (and also reminds us of a certain Porsche 911 GT3 RS…).

Aston Martin Vantage GT8

You don’t have to stop there either: an optional Aero Pack adds corner elements to the front splitter plus this outlandish, brilliant extra-large rear wing. Seriously, how will any buyer be able to resist?

Aston Martin Vantage GT8

There are new five-spoke alloys as standard: the car in the release shots features optional ultra-lightweight seven-spoke centre-lock alloys. Both wheels get Michelin’s track-ready Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

Inside, there are standard carbon fibre seats, which themselves are lightweight but also eschew electric adjustment to save further weight. Carbon fibre door panels cut more grammes, as does a lithium ion battery.

Aston Martin Vantage GT8

Buyers can go yet further on the weight saving too – Aston offers optional carbon fibre roof, polycarbonate rear screen and side windows and a titanium exhaust (that reportedly sounds just like a full-bore racer). In full lightweight guise, Aston says the Vantage GT8 is 100kg lighter than standard, tipping the scales at just over 1,500kg.

Colours? Three special ‘Halo’ options are offered: China Grey and Blue, Stratus White and Green or this wonderful new Stirling Green and Lime. More subtle hues are also available but why would you?

Aston Martin Vantage GT8

Besides the Stirling Green paint is inspired by the Aston Martin DBR1, still the only Aston to win the Le Mans 24 Hours outright, back in 1959.

Aston Martin DBR1

As the name suggests, the Vantage GT8 uses Aston’s familiar 4.7-litre V8, perhaps one of its last new-model applications as the firm prepares to use Mercedes-AMG V8s in the future. It’s been given a decent boost in power here, to 446hp, which should be good for 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and a 190mph top speed.

Aston Martin director of special projects and motorsport David King confirms the chassis has also been developed “to an entirely different level of agility and aggression” with uprated, retuned springs and dampers plus track-focused suspension geometry.

“It’s a hugely exciting car honed to the keenest possible edge.”

Aston Martin Vantage GT8

Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer agreed. “Road cars are our business, but racing is the beating heart of Aston Martin. The Vantage GT8 expresses that combination perfectly: an authentic and unashamedly extreme road car that draws directly from our Le Mans racing programme.”

It is “a driver’s car in the truest sense of the word”.

On sale now with prices starting from £165,000, the Aston Martin Vantage GT8 will be limited to 150 models worldwide: deliveries begin in Q4 2016.

UPDATE

Sorry, Aston Martin fans – Dr Andy Palmer has just announced here at Silverstone that the Vantage GT8 is already sold out! Deposits for all 150 have been placed: if you want one, fingers crossed somebody drops out.

Come back soon for more news from Aston Martin at Silverstone – including a chat with the Vantage GT8 designer Miles Nurnberger

Video: Aston Martin Vantage GT8