2010 Aston Martin V8 Vantage
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2010 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2 Competition Coupé
Chassis no. GT2-007
Having attained the ultimate accolade for a sports car manufacturer by winning the Le Mans 2-Hour race, a feat achieved in 1959 with the DBR1, Aston Martin has returned to international endurance racing with a series of cars for the production-based 'GT' categories, commencing with the DBR9 GT1 in 2005.
Intended for customer use in both FIA and ACO races, the GT2 version of the V8 Vantage coupé was introduced in 2007. The GT2 retained the road-going Vantage's aluminium chassis/body structure with the addition of a FIA-specification tubular steel roll cage, while the body panels were made of carbon fibre with the exception of the roof, which remained aluminium. Much attention was paid to refining the GT2's aerodynamics for racing, including equipping the car with a carbon front splitter, rear wing and rear diffuser. Capable of running run on 'E85' bio-ethanol fuel, the engine was a 4.5-litre dry-sump competition version of the road car's 4.3-litre V8 running Pectel SQ6 engine management. Its maximum output of around 475bhp was transmitted to the track via a competition clutch and a six-speed sequential gearbox equipped with a 'flat-shift' mechanism enabling full-throttle changes.
Suspension was by double wishbones and Koni dampers all round, adjustable for corner weights, ride heights, toe and camber settings. The braking system consisted of Brembo six-piston callipers and the front and four-piston at the rear, gripping two-piece discs all round. Wheels were 18"-diameter aluminium-alloy centre-lock type: 12.5" wide at the front, 13" at the rear. Aston Martin Racing provided the full military-specification wiring loom, while the fuel reservoir was an FIA-approved bag tank. The V8 Vantage GT2 made its competition debut at the Grand Prix of Long Beach in 2008 and since then the car has competed at major venues around the world, including Le Mans.
The prototype, chassis number 'X2', was followed by nine production cars. Of these ten GT2s only three remain intact, the rest having been crashed, fire damaged or broken for parts. This now rare example, carrying the evocative chassis number 'GT2-007', began its competition career in 2010, racing in the 'GT Open' category. It was owned and entered by Villois Racing, an Italian team run by brother and sister Chicco and Giuliana Villois, which had been competing with a pair of Aston Martin DBSR9 GT3s since its foundation in 2007.
In 2010 'GT2-007' competed at Valencia, the Nürburgring, Imola, Spa Francorchamps, Magny-Cours, Brands Hatch, Monza and Barcelona. The Vantage was driven throughout the season by Max Wiser and Lucas Guerrero, with Gabriele Lancieri taking Guerrero's place for the final round in Barcelona. Its best results - a win in the first race and 3rd place in the second - came at the Brand Hatch round in September. 'GT2-007' appears to have sat out the 2011 season but was back in action at the start of 2012, competing in the first round of the International GT Series at the Algarve, driven by Alvaro Barba and Matteo Malucelli, finishing 7th in the first race and 5th in the second. Villois Racing then took delivery of a V12 Vantage GT3 and ran that car for the rest of the season.
However, that was not the end of the story for 'GT2-007', which was entered for the Aston Martin Racing Festival event at Le Mans that year, held as part of the marque's centenary celebrations. Driven by Luca Filippi and Brian Lavio, '007' started from 2nd on the grid in wet conditions and was leading the 31-strong field when Filippi handed over to Lavio, who completed the race without incident to score a commanding victory, finishing more than a minute ahead of the next car.
All the kit needed to run the GT2 comes with it, comprising a laptop with full diagnostic software; data cable; air jack connector; and a water heater to warm the engine for starting from cold. The car was checked over by a senior engineer at Prodrive Aston Martin Racing in March 2015. All systems were found to be in working order and the car fired up beautifully. It should be noted that this car's engine produces around 530bhp compared to the stock 475-or-so horsepower (see engineer's letter on file).
One of only three left in the world, this Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2 is the ultimate track weapon or would be a significant addition to any important private or museum collection. It could also be hired out for public relations purposes or to drivers or racing teams for track days or race weekends. As a past winner it would doubtless be very welcome at this year's Le Mans Aston Martin support race and offers the exciting prospect of repeating its past success.