Independent (and deep-pocketed) rally racing teams have a new machine available to them thanks to the people at Aston Martin and Prodrive. The Aston Martin Rally GT is being touted as the world's most exclusive rally car, and why not? It's not as if rally-prepped Vantages are a common sight.
Developed by Aston Martin Racing, the partnership between the famed British marque and the motorsports gurus at Prodrive, the Rally GT is derived from the production V8 Vantage. It uses the road car's chassis and transmission as well as a retuned version of the Vantage's 4.3-liter V8. Prodrive adds a rollcage of its own design to the structure and replaces the shocks and springs with equipment more suited to the demands of rallying. Teams can also elect to have the stock gearbox replaced by one designed specifically for the Rally GT.
The Rally GT's development process included real racing, as you'd expect. It placed second in its class (17th overall) at the 2006 Lyon-Charbonnières Rally, with Subaru World Rally Team co-drivers Stéphane Sarrazin and Stéphane Prévot behind the wheel ( the pair are SWRT's asphalt specialists). Sarrazin is also one of the co-drivers of the #009 Aston Martin DBR9 familiar to anyone who follows Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series.
(Photos, press release, tech specs after the jump)
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At the 2006 Lyon-Charbonnières Rally :
Aston Martin Racing goes rallying
Independent rally teams will soon be able to compete in the world's most exclusive rally car, the Aston Martin Rally GT. The new car has been developed by Aston Martin Racing, a partnership between Prodrive and Aston Martin.
The Rally GT is based on the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, but extensively re-engineered by Prodrive. The motorsport specialist has combined its experience of running the Aston Martin DBR9s in international sports car racing with more than 20 years of rallying experience, to create this new car. As part of its development programme, the Rally GT has already competed in three French Rally Championship events, coming second in the Series GT class on its debut at the Lyon to Charbonniers Rally.
As with the DBR9, the Rally GT uses a standard road car chassis which is fitted with a Prodrive-designed roll cage for safety and increased torsional rigidity. The engine is closely based on the all alloy road car 4.3 litre V8 unit but has been tuned to make it more flexible and responsive for the demands of rallying.
The suspension on the Rally GT carries over the road car's wishbones, but has new competition Eibach springs and three-way adjustable EXE-TC dampers. The standard road car transmission is kept on the rally car, but this can be upgraded to a six-speed, close ratio dog engagement gearbox, developed specifically for the Rally GT.
A limited number of Rally GTs will be produced by Aston Martin Racing and the first cars will be available at the end of 2006.
Type: All alloy V8 quad-cam
Power: 420bhp (est)
Torque: 410Nm (est)
Exhaust: Competition exhaust
Gearbox: 6 speed trans-axle with Limited Slip Differential
Ratios: Close ratio dog box (option)
Clutch: AP centre plate
Front: 3 way adjustable dampers, Eibach springs
Rear: 3 way adjustable dampers, Eibach springs
Front: Ventilated discs - 355mm
Rear: Ventilated discs - 330mm
Front: 18" x 8.5"
Rear: 18" x 9.5"
Front track: 1568mm
Rear track: 1562mm