With a lightweight, high powered engine developing an incredible 625 PS (616 bhp), unique RHT folding roof system that may be operated while on the move, and carbon ‘MonoCell’ chassis identical to that of the groundbreaking 12C, the 12C Spider is a luxury convertible sports car that offers prospective owners a unique combination of spectacular performance with remarkable usability.
The new 12C Spider will be priced from AU$543,900 in Australia and is now available to order from bespoke new McLaren retailers across the globe. First deliveries to customers will are planned for November this year.
Antony Sheriff, McLaren Automotive Managing Director said: “I am really excited to announce that the new 12C Spider is now available to order at new McLaren retailers worldwide. The launch of our second model is an exciting milestone in the growth of our company.
“While the 12C is the technological essence of a race car, the 12C Spider incorporates an additional dimension. 12C Spider owners will love the opportunity to lower the roof and hear the unhindered howl of a V8 twin turbo engine at full throttle. It undoubtedly enhances an already euphoric 12C driving experience.“The 12C Spider delivers all the thrills characteristic of a high performance roadster, and yet transforms into a raucous track beast at the flick of a switch. I can’t wait to see it on road and track with customers later this year.”
Best-in-class performanceThe 12C Spider’s impressive 625 PS output from its bespoke 3.8-litre V8 twin turbo engine is transmitted to the car’s rear driven wheels through a 7 Speed SSG dual-clutch transmission, which itself provides lightning-fast gear changes through rocker-mounted shift paddles affixed to the rear of the steering wheel. A clear view of the 12C Spider’s lightweight M838T power plant is available through a glass screen positioned behind the tonneau cover.
Vehicle dynamics technology including Brake Steer, ProActive Chassis Control and the unique McLaren Airbrake combine to offer sublime comfort in all driving conditions; and yet deliver race car performance and handling on track. Technical specification highlightsMcLaren is a carbon pioneer. In 1981 McLaren gave a debut to a carbon fibre monocoque chassis in Formula 1 with the launch of the MP4/1 race car, and in 1992 the legendary McLaren F1 introduced the advanced composite technology to the world of road cars. It was natural then for McLaren Automotive engineers to apply its carbon expertise when developing the groundbreaking one-piece moulded chassis of the 12C. With the 12C designed originally as a convertible, its 75kg ‘MonoCell’ requires no additional strengthening for it to feature in the 12C Spider. The result is a sports car almost identical to its fixed roof equivalent in performance terms, and weighing only 40kg more with the addition of a convertible roof system.
The Retractable Hard Top of the 12C Spider is operated using a switch in the lower section of the centre console inside the cabin, taking less than 17 seconds to raise or lower. Unlike many other convertible models, the roof can be operated whilst the 12C Spider is moving at speeds of up to 30 kph.
Behind driver and passenger sits a rear windscreen which may also be electronically lowered and raised. With the roof lowered this acts as wind deflector to minimise disturbance to the 12C Spider’s occupants. With the roof raised the rear window can be lowered, allowing the exhilarating noise of the 12C Spider’s V8 twin turbo engine to flood the cabin on demand at any time.
With the roof raised the area under the tonneau can be used as an additional luggage area which provides 52 litres of useful storage space. Bespoke luggage has been designed specifically to fit this space and is supplied as standard with every 12C Spider.
The 12C Spider also features a passive Roll Over Protection System to maximise occupant safety. Each buttress contains a steel structure designed to absorb impact energy and protect both driver and passenger.
Creating one in a million: 12C Spider personalisation highlightsLaunched in Volcano Red - one of 17 exterior paint finishes currently available for the 12C and 12C Spider- both 12C derivatives will also be available in optional Volcano Yellow, a striking new high quality paint which features in the ‘Elite’ range of exterior finishes.
Inside, an exclusive new interior trim has been developed for the 2013 model year 12C and new 12C Spider. High quality semi-aniline perforated leather and Alcantara may be selected in a variety of combinations to suit an owner’s personal taste.
A new wheel design, and ‘Diamond Cut’ finishes for existing lightweight and super lightweight forged wheel designs may be selected for the 12C Spider. Standard Silver or Stealth finishes are offered for all wheel designs.
Vehicle Lift will be available as an option on 2013 model year vehicles. The system allows the 12C Spider to be raised front and rear for improved ground clearance. This technology permits the vehicle to be raised by up to 40mm at the front and 25mm at the rear of the 12C Spider, and may remain in position at up to 60kph.
Prospective customers and sports car fans alike are encouraged to visit the new 12C Spider online configurator, and discover a range of exciting options that may be specified in literally millions of unique combinations. The 12C Spider configurator is now live at: www.configure.mclaren.com
The McLaren 12C Spider is now available to order at all of McLaren’s 38 retailers in 22 countries worldwide, with deliveries to first customers planned for November 2012.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button will take to the famous Goodwood Hill in a Production Prototype version of the revised 12C on Saturday 30 June. In addition, McLaren GT will unveil a McLaren 12C GT3 race car adorned with a unique livery, which highlights McLaren Group’s support of the ‘GREAT’ campaign launched this year by the Prime Minister’s Office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The GREAT campaign is designed to re-affirm Britain’s international reputation and deliver long-term economic benefits through additional tourism, trade and education.
In 2010 McLaren Automotive wowed the Goodwood crowds with the launch of the 12C, and last year the 12C GT3 made its public dynamic debut at the event. For the third year in succession, McLaren will debut an exciting new version of its groundbreaking sports car.
Highlights of the enhanced performance and styling package for the 12C include an engine power upgrade to 625PS (from 600PS), in addition to throttle and gearshift modifications designed to enhance the driving experience. A range of styling options are now available to order for the new 12C; including a striking Volcano Yellow paint finish, exclusive new interior trim comprising high quality Semi-Aniline perforated Leather and Alcantara, and a new Diamond Cut finish available for multiple wheel designs.
The Production Prototype 12C prepared for the Michelin Supercar Run at Goodwood is presented in a stunning Volcano Red exterior colour, features the new optional Leather interior and will be complete with Lightweight Forged Alloy Wheels in Diamond Cut finish. The new 12C model from McLaren will be available to view up close throughout the event in the Goodwood Supercar Paddock.
Motorsport fans in the Formula One Paddock at Festival of Speed are invited to visit McLaren GT and see the ‘GREAT’ 12C GT3, which sports a bespoke livery designed by McLaren Racing’s own graphic design team. Wearing a Union Jack which stretches the length of the car, the ‘GREAT’ 12C GT3 highlights McLaren Group’s support of the GREAT campaign, which was launched in 2012 by the Prime Minister’s Office and Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
McLaren Group is recognised by GREAT for McLaren Racing’s global success in motorsport and the increasing profile of McLaren Automotive worldwide as a leading developer and manufacturer of groundbreaking sports cars.
The GREAT 12C GT3 will be running in Batch 3 of the Hill programme on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Goodwood Festival of Speed. Two high profile British guests from the world of entertainment will each experience 12C road car performance as they join McLaren’s professional racing drivers as passengers in the Michelin Supercar Run at 12.35pm on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Regular updates featuring the new 12C sports car and GREAT 12C GT3 at the 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed will be published at: www.facebook.com/mclarenautomotive
2012 is a once in a generation opportunity to promote the UK abroad. The world has already joined the nation in celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and will soon celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games. More information on GREAT may be found here: http://www.culture.gov.uk/what_we_do/2012_olympic_games_and_paralympic_games/8442.aspx
It was exactly a year ago since the first 12C high performance sports car was sold, and McLaren opened its very first retailer in the UK. Twelve months later, sales of the 12C have surpassed 1000 and McLaren has expanded its retail network into 22 countries across the globe.
Managing Director Antony Sheriff said “This is proud moment in time for everyone at McLaren where, in only 12 months, the 12C has established itself as one of the most acclaimed high performance sports cars in the world amongst a very discerning customer. From the day that Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button officially opened our very first showroom in London, McLaren is now present in 38 cities in 22 countries across the globe.
“At the heart of this journey is a single-minded focus on the very highest quality and personal care and support wherever our customers are in the world. That is what our customers expect after they buy the car, and are just as important as a fast lap time.”
Global retail network in 22 countriesThrough four regional offices, each with its own management team, McLaren showrooms are now located in some of the most prestigious locations around the world:Europe: UK, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, MonacoNorth America: USA, CanadaMiddle East / Africa: UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, South AfricaAsia Pacific: Japan, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong
Official opening of the McLaren Production Centre (MPC)Prime Minister David Cameron officially opened the new MPC in Woking and, during the visit Mr Cameron said that he had never seen anything quite like it. Describing the work of McLaren Group as “inspiring”, the Prime Minister said his visit was a great reminder that Britain still had “world class engineering, world class manufacturing and world class production techniques.” He added "it's visits to places like this that make me optimistic about the future.”
Walpole award for Best British Luxury BrandMcLaren Automotive emerged as the winner from a shortlist of some of Britain’s most revered luxury firms, all of whom exemplify excellence in the luxury sector. On collecting the award McLaren Group & Automotive Executive Chairman Ron Dennis said “We set out to build a world leading automotive business, manufacturing and marketing category leading, high-performance vehicles. To be recognised by such esteemed peers as having also built Britain’s Best Luxury Brand is both an honour and reaffirmation for our team that we are moving in the right direction.”
Launch of McLaren Special OperationsMcLaren Special Operations is the new division of McLaren Automotive, responsible for the delivery of bespoke projects for McLaren sports cars – and is headed by Programme Director Paul Mackenzie. “McLaren Automotive already offers 12C customers extensive options to personalise their car. However we recognise some owners have specific tastes and we have the knowledge and capability to design, engineer and produce almost anything a customer may desire for their 12C.” said Mackenzie.
Debut of new 12C GT3As McLaren GT prepared to enter two cars in the Blancpain Endurance Series race at Magny Cours, the new GT race car manufacturer announced that the first 25 12C GT3 race cars available to purchase for racing in 2012 were sold. Like the 12C road car on which the 12C GT3 race car is based, demand has outstripped supply. The limited production run of race cars has been distributed to customer teams for racing in various championships across Europe.
Recalling Sixties spy-fi show The Avengers, the first thing men of a certain age remember is Mrs Peel’s black leather cat suit. But the character’s object of desire was her cute-as-a-button Lotus Elan.
The Elan was launched in October 1962 at the British Motorshow, just as the Sixties started swinging. Jaguar had launched the E-Type the previous year, and AC had the Cobra and Ferrari the GTO. Big, expensive, powerful muscles cars. The Elan was very different, and typically Lotus - ultra modern, lightweight, rapid and huge fun.
It summed up the Sixties: a playful topless two-seat ticket to freedom, it was technically innovative with the first backbone tube chassis of any road car, a fiberglass body, four-wheel independent suspension, 670kg with a peachy power-to-weight ratio, bang up-to-date styling beloved by Kings Road cruisers, and a liberating, rock n’ roll attitude.
It came with luxuries that were a rarity at the time, like electric windows, carpets, a heater, and in vogue wooden fascia, but it was still light enough on the scales to outrun other automotive competition – not to mention groupies.
The Elan Sprint, a more powerful 1973 alternative, could hit 60mph in 6.6 seconds, which even now would be considered respectably fast. Back then it was Neil Armstrong territory.
Its pop-up headlights could wink at admirers. It turned heads on Carnaby Street, where the Swinging Sixties embraced cool new design. As well as its turn on TV, defeating baddies and complimenting Diana Rigg’s risqué wardrobe, it found its way onto a magazine cover with Jimi Hendrix posing on the bonnet, and even inspired the lyrics to The Beatles’ A Day In The Life.
The Elan was Lotus’ biggest commercial success to that point, reviving a company stretched thin by the more exotic but in turn more costly to produce Elite. Four different series were produced up until 1973, including a coupe version. Seventeen thousand original examples, including the Elan +2, were produced.
The car was designed by Ron Hickman, who went on to make millions when he patented the Black & Decker WorkMate. He died last year, having earned an OBE for services to industrial innovation.
The Elan was the design inspiration for the Mazda MX-5, which was one of the biggest selling sports cars of the 1990s, and it’s clearly the mother of the Lotus Elise, which has been a staple of the Lotus line-up since 1996 and is on its third evolution.
The late motoring journalist LKJ Setright summed up the Elan when, in the early 1960s, he wrote poetically, “The package that results may not appeal to those conditioned to judge a car by the shut of the door, the depth of the upholstery or the weight of the paint; but to those whose sensual and cerebral appreciations of motoring offer more relevant criteria, the Lotus is as much a machine for driving as a house by Le Corbusier is a machine for living.”
Fifty years on, the Elan has never gone out of style.
A little more Elan history
First introduced in 1962 as a roadster (Drop Head), an optional hardtop was offered in 1963 and a coupé (Fixed Head) version in 1965. It was the first Lotus road car to use the a steel backbone chassis, a technology that continued until 1995 on all Lotus road cars including the Europa, Excel and the Esprit supercar, when it was replaced by the Elise’s amazing extruded and bonded Aluminium chassis sub frame with a glass reinforced composite body.
It was also available as a kit to be assembled by the customer. Although a kit was not really the best description of these cars – they could easily be assembled in a weekend, as only a few key components had to be mated together.
The Elan was technologically advanced with a twin-cam 1558cc engine (early Elans in 1962 came with a 1.5 litre engine), 4-wheel disc brakes, and 4-wheel independent suspension.
Mirroring the changing lifestyle of Lotus founder, Colin Chapman, an Elan +2 was introduced in 1967 with two rear seats. These rear seats were compact but by no means occasional and it’s not coincidence that it perfectly accommodated Colin’s growing family – a car boss has to be able to use his own cars after all!
Elan production finished in 1972 and the +2 ended two years later. With a production run of 17,392 cars, the Elan family was one of the most successful in Lotus’ history, surpassed only by the Elise. In the 1970s with Lotus’ unprecedented success on the racetrack, especially in F1, Colin Chapman introduced the now legendary Lotus Esprit, Elite and Eclat ranges, taking Lotus into the higher value market and introducing the brand to the glamour and sophistication of supercar territory.
The new 205 mph (329 km/h) GT Speed will appeal to driving enthusiasts who place a high value on utright performance, agile handling, distinctive design and sporting luxury. Orders for the new GT Speed are being taken now, with deliveries to commence in October 2012.
At the heart of the new Continental GT Speed is an up-rated version of the unique Bentley 6-litre, 48-valve, four-cam, twin turbocharged W12 engine. For the new model, the legendary Bentley W12 develops 625 PS (616 bhp/460 kW) at 6000 rev/min and 800 Nm of torque to deliver thunderous, supercar performance with effortless overtaking capability. The 0-60 mph sprint is dispatched in a mere 4.0 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.2s) and the GT Speed has a top speed of 205 mph (329 km/h).
The new Speed’s immense power is transmitted via a close-ratio, ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. This state-of-the-art transmission delivers quick yet imperceptible gear changes through intelligent adaptive control software to ensure the perfect combination of speed and refinement. The new gearbox also makes a significant contribution to an overall twelve per cent improvement in fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
Channelling the extreme performance of the GT Speed is a unique chassis tune that includes uprated steering and suspension systems and a lowered ride height. The enhanced chassis is complemented by unique 21-inch Speed wheels, available in two lustrous finishes, and fitted with 275 35 R21 Pirelli PZero ultra-high performance tyres. The result is a sportier and more engaging Bentley driving experience with tauter handling and improved agility.
Commenting on the new GT Speed, Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive says:
“For nearly a decade, the Bentley Continental GT has defined high luxury, high performance grand touring and the unique W12 engine has been so successful that Bentley is now the world’s largest producer of 12-cylinder engines. The new GT Speed with its harder-edged, sportier character reaffirms this pinnacle positioning and continues to broaden the worldwide appeal of the Continental coupe.”
The muscular, elegant sculpted coachwork of the Continental coupe is subtly enhanced with design touches which reinforce the sporting character of the new model. Most notable are the dark-tinted matrix front grille and lower air intakes and the ‘rifled’ finish to the exhaust tailpipes.
The new GT Speed delivers supreme levels of performance with no compromise in comfort, refinement, craftsmanship and quality. Using only the finest natural materials, the hand-crafted cabin of the GT Speed features the Mulliner Driving Specification as standard as well as a number of signature Speed design cues that combine contemporary luxury with a distinctly sporting character.
Standard fitment on all Continental models, the permanent all-wheel drive system, employing a central Torsen differential, harnesses the prodigious power and torque of the new GT Speed and ensures huge levels of grip and stability whatever the road or weather conditions.
Ahead of deliveries this autumn, the GT Speed makes its international debut at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed from 28th June until 1st July. Modern-day Bentley Boys Juha Kankunnen, Guy Smith and Derek Bell will pilot a pre-production GT Speed up the Goodwood Hill twice a day.
Headlining the changes is a 25PS (25hp) power increase. It takes the maximum output of the mid mounted, twin turbocharged V8 engine to 625PS (616hp) to give yet more vivid acceleration at track speeds with no loss in efficiency. Modifications have been made by McLaren’s engineers to the 12C’s engine and SSG transmission increasing responsiveness. Ease of use, a phrase not often associated with cars of this type, is further improved through a host of detail changes while a wider variety of paint, leather and wheel options give customers yet more scope for personalisation. The 12C’s unique Intake Sound Generator (ISG) system, which controls the amount of engine intake sound heard in the cabin, is now programmable across three levels in all three Powertrain modes allowing the driver to select the amount of aural drama he or she wants to enjoy, whatever the road. But one aspect that hasn’t changed is the 12C’s purposeful styling … apart from a subtle revision to the McLaren Speed Marque badge, that is.
This latest iteration of the 12C, which at launch set a new benchmark among its competitors for power, efficiency and pioneering technology, is available to order now. Customers who have already taken delivery of a 12C are not being neglected, though. Every 12C owner is being offered a package of upgrades, including the extra 25PS (25hp), at no cost, underlining McLaren’s commitment to its customers ensuring they enjoy owning their 12C as much as they do driving it.
Antony Sheriff, McLaren Automotive Managing Director said: “Given our racing heritage, it is in our nature to continuously seek out improvements. The team at McLaren Automotive recognizes that our existing and future customers deserve the very best product and service we can offer, and the launch of the enhanced 12C reaffirms its position as the most powerful luxury sports car among its competitor set.
“We designed and engineered the 12C from a clean sheet of paper, and I am delighted with the innovative technology package created for our first sports car. Our customers love driving a car with technologies and systems that have proved successful in Formula 1 and which create an incredible driving experience in a unique new high performance sports car. New and existing customers will now enjoy an even better experience thanks to the upgrades.”
Approaching this luxurious Rolls-Royce and opening its coach doors immediately ignites the senses for sight, taste, touch, sound and aroma. And the sense of surprise and delight continues as guests encounter the lavish use of soft, sumptuous leathers, finest veneer detailing and special bespoke enhancements.
“The Ghost Six Senses concept is a luxurious environment designed for the most discerning of individuals,” commented Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Rolls-Royce CEO. “It delights the senses and draws you into somewhere that transcends the interior of a car. Relax for a few moments and you will experience something that is hard to define, but which our customers understand so well.
“It can be likened to an aura, a sense that the stunning hand-made interior embodies something of the heart and soul of each proud craftsperson involved in its creation. That’s a uniquely Rolls-Royce sixth sense that this car presents so elegantly.”
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is the world’s leading luxury goods manufacturer. And while the world of luxury presents many objects of desire that captivate one or more senses, it takes one of these hand-built cars to awaken all five.
Beautiful and elegant, a Rolls-Royce Ghost is a sign of impeccable taste, a luxury car that is instantly pleasing to the eye. Ghost Six Senses’ pearlescent Carrara White finish complements new forged alloy wheels while eyes are immediately drawn to rich interior detailing upon entry through its coach doors. The deep lustre of the Walnut Burr veneer complete with diagonally-oriented, brown oak cross-banding, are designed to hint at the extraordinary power at the driver’s disposal.
For more than 100 years the sound of silence has driven the Rolls-Royce brand. But 21st century Ghost and Phantom models also present an auditorium in which the most advanced systems can deliver music in the most impressive fashion. The concept audio system in Ghost Six Senses richly fills the spacious rear cabin thanks to its upgraded amplifier and the inclusion of ‘exciter’ speakers housed in the leather headlining that help raise the centre of sound closer to a passenger’s ear.
The finest interior materials create scents that are unique to Rolls-Royce. The rich aroma greeting Ghost Six Senses’ occupants comes from the most supple natural soft grain leather in enveloping, hand-crafted seats, as well as in the car’s leather headlining, with added hints of the woody spice in the walnut veneer.
Bathed in light from a panoramic sunroof, the rear cabin urges occupants to relax in style. For the ultimate taste experience the most refreshing chilled drinks or vintage champagne can be served from Ghost Six Senses’ coolbox, in flutes featuring a delightful sound-wave etching.
From cool chrome and sumptuous leather to the finest veneers, a Rolls-Royce is the most tactile way to travel in ultra-luxury. Ghost Six Senses takes this concept further with the inclusion of natural grain leather for the first time. Deep pile lambswool rugs encourage occupants to submerge feet, while opening the boot effortlessly with remote opener, reveals a further lambswool lining to cosset luxury bespoke luggage.
“Ghost Six Senses redefines a simple truth,” added Torsten Müller-Ötvös. “A Rolls-Royce is always so much more than the sum of its beautiful parts.”
The V12 Zagato is the pinnacle of the Vantage range. It is also the latest expression of a successful creative collaboration that has given rise to a series of striking GT cars over the last half-century, the original and most iconic of which being the DB4GT Zagato. Not only does this masterpiece rank amongst the most desirable, collectable and valuable cars in history, its 50th anniversary provided the inspiration for the V12 Zagato.
Though commemorating a great Aston Martin of the past the V12 Zagato could be no mere pastiche of the original. Instead the project was seen as the perfect opportunity to take Aston Martin’s ethos of technology and tradition to a new and exciting level. To this end the V12 Zagato combines the modern ideas, materials, processes and technology pioneered on One-77, while remaining true to the purity and craftsmanship of its illustrious forebear.
For Aston Martin’s CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez, the V12 Zagato is “a celebration of both Aston Martin’s heritage and its future”. He continues: “Our relationship with Zagato stretches back more than 50 years. Together in that time we have created a series of very special cars. The first – the DB4GT Zagato – is a true icon: fast, beautiful and incredibly desirable. In the V12 Zagato I believe we have captured the spirit of that car and combined it with a confident twist of modernity to give it a character all of its own.”
Initial design concepts for the V12 Zagato were explored in early 2010. Inspired by Zagato’s bold and individual styling signatures Aston Martin’s Director of Design, Marek Reichman, and his Gaydon-based design team relished the challenge of shaping the V12 Zagato, creating a car that pushes the boundaries of Aston Martin’s design language, yet pays tribute to the DB4GT Zagato. Demonstrating Aston Martin’s ability to rapidly bring ideas to fruition the Zagato programme quickly gained momentum, the design team working hand-in-hand with engineers and artisans to complete the build of a pair of concept cars in the spring of 2011.
May 2011 saw the V12 Zagato make its world debut at the prestigious Villa d’Este concours. Entered in the Concept Cars and Prototypes class, the V12 Zagato wowed the judges and the crowd, taking first place against impressive opposition. In June the Villa d’Este winner - along with the second prototype car – made the V12 Zagato’s world racing debut at the gruelling 24 hour endurance race held at the Nürburgring. Both cars completed the ultimate durability test, continuing Aston Martin’s 100 per cent finishing record in this notoriously tough race.
After an overwhelmingly positive response from customers, the decision was made in July 2011 to build a strictly limited run of V12 Zagatos. Since then, Aston Martin’s design team have worked to refine the sports car’s detailing and aerodynamic performance while staying faithful to the original design concept. At the same time engineers based at Gaydon have been putting prototypes through the company’s rigorous development programme to ensure the V12 Zagato performs as well as it looks.
Every Aston Martin is a unique combination of advanced materials, technology and time-honoured craftsmanship. The V12 Zagato takes this philosophy to a level previously seen in the company’s exquisite One-77 supercar, which completes its build run this year. Built at Aston Martin’s global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, production of the V12 Zagato will be strictly limited to no more than 150 cars.
Creating each V12 Zagato is a painstaking process that takes approximately 2,000 man-hours to complete. Just like the One-77, the V12 Zagato is constructed from a combination of hand crafted aluminium and carbon fibre. The bonnet, signature ‘double-bubble’ roof and doors are hand-crafted aluminium, while the front and rear fenders, door sills and boot lid surround are made from carbon fibre.
The finished body is then painted in the same dedicated area as the One-77. Four unique colours have been created for the V12 Zagato: Scintilla Silver, Alloro Green, Alba Blue and Diavolo Red. The painting process alone takes some 100 hours to complete and is followed by the marriage of the body and the drivetrain within the sports car production area. From there the V12 Zagato is transferred to the standalone facility originally built to house One-77 production, where the build is completed.
This serene, laboratory-like space is perfectly suited to the task of creating special cars such as the V12 Zagato. It is here that time is lavished upon the fitment and installation of an array of bespoke components, including the side glass and the distinctive rear window, which features a curved surface that continues the sculptural lines of the ‘double-bubble’ roof. All the exterior brightwork around the windows has a contemporary black finish to compliment the exposed carbon fibre components. Fitment of the hand-crafted interior and upholstery is also completed in this dedicated build area.
Like all Aston Martins when viewed as a whole the V12 Zagato is an artful composition of powerful lines and compelling proportions, but when viewed up close it reveals sophisticated, sculptural surfaces and jewel-like details. The exposed elements of carbon fibre on the front splitter, A-pillars, rear lamp pods, diffuser, door mirror cases and rear wing all display the same perfectly symmetrical weave and smooth resin finish. Likewise the bold new grille is formed in a unique three-dimensional composite material mesh that echoes Zagato’s famous ‘Z’ moniker.
More delights are found inside. Seven Bridge of Weir hides – in semi-aniline finish to offer durability while preserving the natural texture of the leather - are used to trim the V12 Zagato’s interior. Hand-stitched quilting of a unique design creates a flowing pattern that evokes a dynamic sense of movement across the seats and headlining, while ‘Z’ embroidery in the headrests and rear parcel shelf add a further flourish. Satin-finish carbon fibre on the dashboard and centre stack is perfectly complimented by piano black accents and satin black rotary switchgear. Carbon fibre sill plaques with ’V12 Zagato’ inlaid metal script provide a distinctive finishing touch.
Co-designed by Aston Martin’s Director of Design Marek Reichman and John Lobb’s Creative Director Andrés Hernández, this sleek aerodynamic shoe, with its finely-tuned detailing, speaks to the world of the automobile yet sits comfortably within the John Lobb collection.
Winner Sport embodies the style, craftsmanship and quality for which both brands are celebrated the world over.
Crafted around John Lobb’s 8695 last, Winner Sport is made from full-grain calfskin and lined with supple sheepskin. Soft padding has been added at the ankle for comfort, and metallic eyelets, punched with a wheel of fine holes, reflect the automotive design cues of Aston Martin. Unlike the more formal, welted John Lobb shoes, Winner Sport is created with a specially-engineered bonded rubber sole that wraps beneath the shoe, giving a sleek line and a sporting feel.
Winner Sport is available in an exciting range of colour combinations: Graphite Grey, Winter Wheat, Frost White and Saddle Tan are all made with the Sporty Stratos White rubber sole. Storm Black, Bitter Chocolate, Westminster Green and Aurora Blue are made with Racy Fire Red rubber soles. Coordinating red and white laces complete the Winner Sport look.
Winner Sport will be previewed at the opening of the new Aston Martin W-One Store in London’s Park Lane and at John Lobb Jermyn Street this March. As of May 2012 Winner Sport will be available at selected John Lobb and Aston Martin stores worldwide.
The #97 V8-powered racer finished third in the fiercely competitive GTE Pro category having covered 332 laps – almost 3000 miles – of the celebrated 8.5-mile Circuit de la Sarthe without any technical problems.
David Richards, Chairman of Aston Martin, commented: “Le Mans is always one of the most special events of the year and probably the world’s greatest motor race. To come here with a new GTE car and finish on the podium is a great accolade not just for the team, but also for the Aston Martin product and everybody that has supported us.
“Two of our drivers, Stefan Mücke and Adrian Fernandez, had never before competed in a GTE car here, although Darren Turner’s a Le Mans stalwart and has been with us since the beginning of the Aston Martin Racing programme. The team worked brilliantly together to help get Stefan and Adrian onto the pace. Adrian, in particular, acquitted himself very well given that this is his first season in a production-based racing car, so it was fitting that he should have the honour of driving the Vantage GTE over the finishing line.
“We only had one car competing in GTE Pro this weekend and that’s always an unnerving feeling because we know how easily the slightest mistake can trip you up – that makes for a very long 24-hour race! The Aston Martin Vantage GTE set the fastest GTE lap of the race and didn’t have any technical issues at all. We didn’t have quite the fuel economy of the winning car, but we know what we have to do to correct that for next year. Everyone in the team should be very proud of themselves.”
The Gulf-liveried Vantage GTE started the 24-hour race from second on the GTE Pro grid after a competitive showing throughout the three qualifying sessions held earlier in the week. Although rain had fallen persistently right up until the afternoon of the rolling start, the track itself was dry come 1500hrs on Saturday, 16 June. Factory driver Mücke (D) was able to pass the pole sitting GTE Pro car on the very first lap to give the Vantage GTE the class lead of endurance racing’s crowning event on just its fifth competitive outing.
When fellow factory driver Turner (GB) took control of the Vantage GTE after the 25th lap, the Briton – who had already won back-to-back Le Mans titles with Aston Martin Racing in 2007 and 2008 – found himself embroiled in a most enthralling duel for the GTE Pro class lead with the #74 Corvette. What ensued over the following stint was a remarkable display of wheel-to-wheel racing, more reminiscent of a sprint race than a 24-hour marathon. Turner and his adversary had staged what will certainly be remembered as a highlight of the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The breath-taking scrap harked back to the Aston Martin-Versus-Corvette battles of 2007 and 2008 that are now the stuff of Le Mans folklore. Turner called off the fight on lap 64 as he handed over the Vantage GTE to works driver Fernandez (MX), who continued in third position.
When a GTE Am class car collided with an LMP1 racer on lap 73, the safety car was deployed as barriers were repaired. The field circulated around the track for an hour and ten minutes behind the safety car, so Aston Martin Racing used the opportunity to execute a scheduled brake change without losing too much ground to its rivals. Nonetheless, when the #97 Vantage GTE rejoined the action after the technicians had swiftly carried out their work, it had slipped to sixth in the GTE Pro class.
As the sun set over Le Mans, Turner and Mücke took turns aboard the Vantage GTE with each digging deep to summon up every ounce of performance from both themselves and the car. With ambitions of getting back in contention for the class victory, the pair each lit up the timing screens, proving the Vantage GTE’s class-leading pace potential.
The night brought with it new challenges, for the cooler air altered the track conditions considerably and necessitated the use of softer compound tyres. As Turner and Mücke set the class pace, the #97 Vantage GTE clambered its way back up the leaderboard to hold fourth position at the mid-way point of the race. The car continued to perform as reliably as its drivers, so that come the early morning it held second position in GTE Pro with the class leader within sight.
Soon before the 16th hour, however, Mücke lost control of the Vantage GTE at Indianapolis corner, pitching him into the gravel trap and towards a safety barrier. The German driver was able to keep the car running and soon had it back at Aston Martin Racing’s pit box. Despite the high-speed nature of the incident, the damage sustained was cosmetic – a testament to the inherent strength of the Vantage platform. The team rapidly replaced a door and the bonnet before sending Fernandez back out within ten minutes of the original impact, still in third position in class.
Determined not to give up, Mücke set about chasing down the second-placed GTE Pro car upon his return to the driver’s seat for a final stint. At the 20-hour mark, Mücke set the fastest GTE time of the entire race, stopping the clock at 3m 54.928s to further prove the Vantage GTE’s class-leading speed. Unfortunately, the gap couldn’t be closed with pace alone, and the team focused on maintaining the podium position. Mücke made way for Fernandez on lap 306, who crossed the line at 1500hrs to the delight of the entire Aston Martin Racing team, scoring 30 points for the FIA World Endurance Championship – for which the 24 Hours of Le Mans served as the third round – in the process.
Fresh from the podium celebrations, Turner said: “I’m really proud of the whole team. To get a new car to the end of a 24-hour race is a big achievement, but to get it on the podium is fantastic. Hopefully we can build on this and come back next year and show how strong the car is.
“There are many similarities between this new programme and the DBR9 GT1 programme [which netted back-to-back Le Mans wins in 2007 and 2008]. That programme was all about the competition with one manufacturer, but the Vantage GTE programme is about competition with many manufacturers. To have Aston Martin right up there straight away is really encouraging.
“We had a small brake issue early on, but apart from that there were no problems with the Vantage GTE at all and it has proven to be on the pace of the fastest GTE cars, which bodes very well for the future.”
Team-mate Mücke added: “This is the first time I’ve been on the podium at Le Mans and it feels amazing. It’s also the first time I’ve competed here in a GTE car, so I’m very proud to have finished where we did. I must thank the team for repairing the car so quickly after my mistake early in the morning – to fix it within ten minutes was really impressive. I was able to set the fastest GTE lap time which shows that everything is going in the right direction with the car.”
Fernandez concluded: “Finishing a 24-hour race is never easy so to come third with a new car is quite remarkable. The pace of the Vantage GTE was always strong and we fought hard for the whole race. I’m very pleased with my pace in the car; all of my experience is in single-seaters and prototypes, so to be able to perform as well as I did without making any mistakes was, for me, very special.”
Aston Martin Racing’s second entry – run in partnership with Young Driver AMR in the GTE Am category – showed similar signs of class-leading pace throughout the week. It qualified in third position and fought its way into the class lead in the early phase of the race in the hands of all-Danish driver line-up Allan Simonsen, Kristian Poulsen and Christoffer Nygaard. Accident damage sustained after the three-hour mark would eventually herald its retirement, however.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez congratulated the team on its strong result: “I’m delighted that the team has shown the speed and reliability of the Vantage GTE on its first outing at Le Mans. I would like to extend my congratulations to the team for its encouraging performance and I’m sure we will see the new competition car challenging for race wins soon.”
As well as the 24-hour race itself, Aston Martin also hosted an exclusive single marque support race in the hours leading up to the main event. The Aston Martin Festival of Le Mans witnessed 31 Aston Martin-built racing cars competing in a 45-minute race on the Circuit de la Sarthe; the Vantage GT2 of Villois Racing triumphed in the unique event.
A highlight of the Festival was the return of the legendary 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1 to the scene of its greatest victory. The DBR1 participated in the pre-race parade lap, with Dr Bez at the wheel, in a moving tribute to the men who drove it to victory – Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori – and its designer Ted Cutting, all of whom passed away in recent weeks.
Aston Martin Racing competed in the GTE category at Le Mans in line with its return to production-based motorsport for the 2012 season. The marque is competing in the inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship and achieved a strong third-placed finish at the opening round of the series, the 12 Hours of Sebring, Florida. The V8-powered Vantage GTE is based upon Aston Martin’s sportiest road-going model, the Vantage coupé. It shares that car’s bonded aluminium structure and fundamental engine and suspension designs, emphasising the base car’s inherent sporting nature.
Aston Martin Racing will next be in competitive action at Silverstone, Great Britain, for the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship on Sunday, 26 August.
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