Hardcore V8 Vantage: catch it if you can
TRACK-INSPIRED LIMITED - EDITION GT8 SELLING FAST / WORDS RICHARD MEADEN PHOTOGRAPHY / / #Aston-Martin
It might be getting long in the tooth, but the V8 Vantage is showing no signs of losing its bite if the GT8 is anything to go by. Following in the slipstream of its big brother the GT3-inspired GT12, the GT8 is Aston’s road-going interpretation of its #Aston-Martin-Vantage-GTE-World-Endurance-Championship
Developed by Aston’s Special Projects team, the £165,000 GT8 is a strictly limited-edition model with a production run of 150 cars. Powered by a slightly more powerful iteration of the familiar 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8, the GT8 has 440bhp and 361lb ft of torque and is available with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed Sportshift II paddleshift gearbox. Performance? Well, it’ll hit 60mph from a standstill in 4.4sec and storm on to a top speed of 190mph. Presumably on the Mulsanne Straight. So far as suspension and brakes are concerned the GT8 keeps things simple, with fixed-rate dampers (with a suitably track-focused set-up) and cast iron discs, 380mm at the front, 330mm rear. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s and a mechanical limited-slip diff complete the package.
In keeping with its road-racer vibe, the GT8 focuses on reducing weight to increase performance. Savings come from extensive use of carbonfibre, though to achieve the claimed 100kg saving and 1510kg kerbweight you’ll need many of the cost options. These include a carbonfibre roof, centre-lock forged magnesium wheels, polycarbonate rear screen and side windows, a titanium centre-exit exhaust and carbonfibre sports seats.
If you go for that little lot you may as well go for the optional aero package and ‘halo’ paint scheme. The former adds a large wing to the rear decklid and an additional lower element to each corner of the front splitter, while the latter gets you brightly coloured accents mimicking those on the GTE race-car. As you can see, it looks the part. Sounds the part, too, according to those who’ve heard it. But then it should do for what amounts to a near-£200k car when optioned to the hilt.
How will it drive? It won’t have the borderline lunatic performance of the GT12, but experience of that car’s noseheavy weight distribution and limited traction suggest the lighter, less powerful but better-balanced GT8 will be a more biddable machine. We also like the fact you can have it with a manual gearbox, and the old sweet-shifting six-speed unit at that, even though the paddleshift transmission is perhaps more in keeping with a 21st century quasi-racer.
By the time you read this the chances are all will be sold. If you’re one of the lucky 150, bravo! If you’re not, console yourself with the fact we’ll bring you a full test of the GT8 in the next issue.
Above and below. Optional aero package adds the large rear wing and the lower elements to the front splitter; ‘halo’ paint scheme adds race-car-style accents.