First customer examples of Aston Martin’s vital DBX SUV roll off the line

After scouring the world for the ideal spot to build its first SUV, the DBX, Aston Martin in 2016 finally settled on St Athan, at the southern tip of Wales. Fast forward to today and the plant is now churning out customer examples of the vital SUV.
The DBX can’t come soon enough. Aston Martin is bleeding cash and is undergoing a major restructuring to right the ship. Job cuts for 500 staff were announced in June, including that of CEO Andy Palmer who will be replaced by Mercedes-AMG CEO Tobias Moers on August 1.
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Just as we’ve seen with the SUVs launched by Bentley and Lamborghini, the DBX will likely become the most popular model at Aston Martin. Already the brand has secured 2,000 orders, and that’s before the first examples have been delivered. The deliveries start this month, Aston Martin said.
Aston Martin initially looked at locations in China and even the United States for DBX production but by picking Wales, it means the vehicles remain quintessentially British, a trait many Aston Martin customers cherish. Not many of the SUVs will remain in the United Kingdom, though. Aston Martin estimates around 80% will be exported.
Aston Martin DBX production in St Athan, United Kingdom
Back at Aston Martin’s plant in Gaydon, England, the automaker will focus on its sports car models. Aston Martin also retains its historic Newport Pagnell plant, also in England, which today serves as the home of the Aston Martin Works classic car department.
The DBX reaches dealers in the second half of 2020 as a 2021 model. It’s priced from $189,000 and comes exclusively with a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 delivering 542 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, or enough for 0-60 mph acceleration in 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 181 mph. A hybrid option is expected at a later date and Aston Martin’s 5.2-liter twin-turbocharged V-12 hasn’t been ruled out. We could see some of these new variants as early as next year.

Farfus returns to WEC and Le Mans 24 Hours with Aston Martin Racing

BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus will make a return to the World Endurance Championship and the Le Mans 24 Hours with Aston Martin.The Brazilian, who contested both editions of Le Mans encompassed by the 2018/19 WEC superseason with BMW, has been recruited to drive the British manufacturer’s factory-run GTE Am entry for the final three events of the 2019/20 series by car owner Paul Dalla Lana.Farfus will share the #98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE with Dalla Lana and Ross Gunn at Spa in August, Le Mans on September 19/20 and then the Bahrain finale in November.He is replacing long-time Aston Martin Racing driver Darren Turner, who will focus on development of the marque’s Valkyrie road car over the remainder of this year.Farfus will also contest the second round of the European Le Mans Series at Spa on 9 August, a week before the WEC event at the Belgian track, alongside Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda, who drove the #98 car in the WEC in 2015-2018/19.Dalla Lana, 2017 WEC GTE Am champion with Lauda and Pedro Lamy, said: “I’ve been friends with Augusto for a long time, and we’ve wanted to race together for a while, but it’s only now that a break in his programme has allowed us to do this.”John Gaw, managing director of Aston Martin Racing, added: “Paul has chosen to recruit Augusto Farfus to race with him and we look forward to welcoming him to the team.”Farfus’s primary programme with BMW this season is racing with the Walkenhorst team in the Intercontinental GT Challenge.Le Mans this year will be his fifth assault on the French race.Aston’s regular GTE Am WEC entry will race in the opening two rounds of the 2020 ELMS.Dalla Lana, who will contest the first round at Paul Ricard on July 19 with Gunn and Lauda, said: “I’ve really missed competing on the track, and getting the opportunity to put in extra competitive miles in the ELMS is really exciting.”The ELMS presents a tough challenge, and the races are long enough to test our skills and our systems as we prepare to return to WEC.”Aston has stressed that three-time Le Mans class winner Turner will make a full-time return to the race track in 2021.Did you know…Augusto Farfus isn’t the first BMW driver to race an Aston Martin Racing entry at Le Mans.Marque stalwart Bill Auberlen drove a Vantage with Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy at the French enduro in 2013.He and the Canadian were regular teammates in the Grand-Am series at the time aboard a BMW M6 silhouette racer run by the Turner Motorsports squad.

R-Motorsport withdraws Aston Martin entries from 2020 GTWCE

The R-Motorsport Aston Martin squad has withdrawn from this year’s GT World Challenge Europe and will instead focus on its 2021 campaigns.The race-winning team, whose Aston Martin Vantage GT3s are jointly run by the British Arden and Jota Sport operations, has opted to put its racing activities on hold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.R-Motorsport, which also contested last year’s DTM under the Aston banner with cars built and run by HWA, has stressed that it intends to return to racing next season in what a spokesman said could be a “bigger, better and more expansive way”.The decision for 2020 covers the Swiss entrant’s campaigns in both the Endurance and Sprint Cup legs of the GTWCE (formerly known as the Blancpain GT Series) and the GT4 European Series, as well as a return to the Intercontinental GT Challenge at Kyalami in November and the launch of a new one-make Aston series known as the Vantage Cup.R-Motorsport team principal Florian Kamelger explained that it “doesn’t make sense from a business perspective to go racing with a non-profitable, artificially shortened race programme with a late start to the season, which might even develop in an unpredictable way”.”The required access restrictions at race events prevent us from offering our exclusive R-Experience hospitality to our customers and partners, which is vital not only for R-Motorsport but for the business of our entire group of companies,” he said.”Irrespective of the decision not to race this season we are already fully committed to our programme in 2021 and beyond.”R-Motorsport had entered a trio of Aston Martin Vantage GT3s in both segments of the GTWCE for a roster of drivers including Jake Dennis, Tom Blomqvist, Luca Ghiotto, Daniel Juncadella and Ricky Collard.It is understood that some of the drivers are already contracted for 2021 under long-term deals. Juncadella, who was part of the R-Motorsport DTM line-up in 2019, has announced that he is now looking “for other racing opportunities for the rest of this season and those to come”.The one-make series had been expected to begin with a series of pilot races, possibly on the DTM bill, in 2021, but its debut has now been pushed back to 2022.R-Motorsport entered the GT3 arena in 2018 with Arden and Jota, winning the Silverstone endurance round of the BGTS in its debut season with Dennis, Nicki Thiim and Matthieu Vaxiviere.Last year, it claimed one overall victory in the GTWCE Sprint Cup at the Nurburgring in September with Collard and Marvin Kirchhofer (pictured).It also finished runner-up in the Silver Cup class with Aaro Vainio and Hugo de Sadeleer in the short-format GTWCE series.The GTWCE is due to kick off at Imola with a three-hour enduro on July 26, before the first sprint round at Misano on August 8/9.

Aston Martin starts delivery of “Goldfinger” DB5 continuation cars

The 1964 hit “Goldfinger” is considered by most to be the best James Bond film ever made, and what endeared the movie into the hearts of car enthusiasts was Bond’s tricked-out Aston Martin DB5. While in the novels he drives a Bentley Mark VI, the silver Aston is what most associate as his car.
Today, original DB5s used for filming in the early Bond films fetch well into the millions at auction. The most recent sale took place last August, with the winning bid coming in at close to $6.4 million.
To capitalize on the demand for James Bond-spec DB5s, Aston Martin a couple of years back announced plans to build 28 continuation examples of the DB5 built to the same spec as the car featured in “Goldfinger.” Known as the DB5 “Goldfinger” continuation cars, deliveries have now started and will continue through the second half of the year.
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The cars are built at Aston Martin’s former plant in Newport Pagnell, which today serves as the automaker’s classics center. The former plant is where Aston Martin built the original run of 898 DB5s, and some of the same techniques used for those cars, like hammering and rolling of body panels, are being used for the modern examples. Each car takes about 4,500 hours to build.
Under the pretty sheetmetal is a mild-steel chassis with a solid rear axle with radius arms and Watt’s linkage, just like in the original DB5. Also common with the original DB5 is the powerplant, in this case a 4.0-liter inline-6 with a six-plug head and trio of SU carburettors. The inline-6 develops 290 horsepower and spins the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission and mechanical limited-slip differential.
For authenticity, Aston Martin worked closely with EON Productions, the production company behind the James Bond movie franchise, as well as Oscar-winning special effects honcho Chris Corbould, who’s been involved with 14 of the movies, to develop Bond’s famous spy gadgets.
Aston Martin’s DB5 has featured extensively in various James Bond films
Just some of them include a revolving license plate, rear smoke screen, oil slick delivery system, and machine guns in action. Naturally, some of the gadgets, like the guns, are simulated only. Other gadgets include a bullet resistant rear shield, battering rams front and rear, a radar screen (simulated), and an under-seat weapons storage tray.
As mentioned, just 28 will be built. Aston Martin charged a price of price of 2.75 million British pounds (approximately $3.44 million) for each of the first 25 examples. A further two examples are being retained by Aston Martin and EON Productions for their respective collections and the final car is set to be auctioned off for charity.
We should point out that owners won’t be able to drive the cars on the street as they haven’t undergone certification. We’re also pretty sure authorities won’t be too pleased with the rotating license plate.

Perez has “no doubt” Aston Martin can fight with top F1 teams in future

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez has “no doubt” the soon-to-be rebranded Aston Martin team can challenge Formula 1’s leading squads in the future thanks to the championship’s new cost cap rules.No team other than Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull has won an F1 race since the turbo hybrid era began in 2014, with an unofficial ‘Class A/B’ divide coming into effect over the ensuing six campaigns.But the new $145 million cost cap rule, which will come into effect from 2021 and reduce further over the following two seasons to $135m for 2023-2025, as well as other measures such as restricted windtunnel time for the more successful squads, are aimed at closing up the F1 pack.Racing Point will be known as Aston Martin from the start of next season in a quasi-works arrangement and has approved plans for a F1 new factory – although this will now be operational a year later than planned in 2022 as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.When asked if the new investment allied with F1’s new financial rules would make his squad the best-placed team to improve versus its current position in the pecking order at the pre-Austrian Grand Prix press conference, Perez said: “Certainly the team is in a good shape, in a good position for the future.”I think everyone saw what we managed to do in the past, with such a limited budget that we had. We were extremely successful.”So I think now everything is ready in the team to welcome Aston Martin and definitely to make the next step.”It has to be a huge step, obviously, to fight with the top three, with the big teams.PLUS: Tim Wright’s rundown of the 2020 F1 contenders”But with the cost cap in the budget that should bring everyone more together and hopefully, well, I have no doubt that we will be able to challenge them.”Lance Stroll, whose father Lawrence controls both Racing Point and Aston Martin, added: “I think there’s great potential going forwards. The team is in a great place.”There’s a lot of things to look forward too. There’s a bright future ahead in my opinion and that’s very exciting for everyone.”I think the energy in the team is better than it’s ever been. People are really looking forward to the future.”But we’re here right now, we’re in Austria, it’s great to be back racing and we’ve got a big season ahead of us. My sights are set on this season.”

Aston Martin and Brough Superior test their new motorcycle

Aston Martin teamed up last year with fellow historic British brand Brough Superior to launch a motorcycle.
The result is the stunning AMB 001 by Aston Martin and Brough Superior, a 180-horsepower superbike designed for track use only.
Prototypes are now being put through their paces at a racetrack in Pau-Arnos, France, with the testers donning the camouflage gear you normally see on Aston Martin’s four-wheeled vehicles.
2020 AMB 001 by Aston Martin and Brough Superior
During this phase of testing, engineers from Brough Superior will look to validate the chassis geometry, the ergonomics and dynamic behavior of the AMB 001. Key performance metrics being tested include acceleration and braking figures, as well as corning ability.
The AMB 001 should be a formidable motorcycle. It’s powered by a turbocharged V-twin engine delivering 180 hp, and it weighs just 396 pounds dry. The relatively low weight was achieved by using carbon fiber for the body.
The AMB 001 is due to start production at Brough Superior’s plant in Toulouse, France, this fall. Just 100 will be built and the price tag for one is 108,000 euros ($121,675). Interestingly, there could be more two-wheeled vehicles in Aston Martin’s future. At the AMB 001’s reveal last year, Aston Martin said it was just the first chapter in the newly established partnership with Brough Superior.

Prodrive reveals bespoke off-roader for 2021 Dakar Rally

British motorsport and engineering group Prodrive has been around since 1984 and over the years has built numerous successful race and rally cars. We’re talking the Porsche 911 SC RS of the 1980s, Subaru Impreza WRX World Rally cars of the 1990s and 2000s, and an assortment of GT cars for Aston Martin and other teams. Now it’s turning its attention toward the grueling Dakar Rally.
Back in February, Prodrive teamed up with Bahrain, more specifically the country’s Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund, the owner of McLaren, to establish the new subsidiary Prodrive International whose task was to design and manufacture a bespoke off-roader for the Dakar Rally.
The first images of the vehicle, known as the BRX T1, were released Monday along with confirmation that the Prodrive-developed off-roader will be ready in time for the 2021 Dakar Rally which will be held in Saudi Arabia. The Middle Eastern country also hosted the 2020 rally, where the Bahrain-sponsored JCW X-Raid team claimed victory thanks to the efforts of Carlos Sainz, Sr. and Lucas Cruz.
Prodrive’s BRX T1 Dakar Rally contender
This time, Bahrain and Prodrive will have their own team, BRX (Bahrain Raid Xtreme). It will be run by Prodrive founder David Richards and field two T1s in Dakar’s premier T1 class. Prodrive is also willing to build additional examples for any interested customer teams, and there’s also the possibility of a road-going example being developed should demand be sufficient.
The BRX T1 is powered by a mid-mounted V-6 displacing 3.5 liters and featuring turbocharging. Drive is to all four wheels, and for the exterior, Prodrive tapped the Callum design studio established last year by former Jaguar designer Ian Callum. The first prototype is currently being assembled at Prodrive’s headquarters in Banbury, United Kingdom.
You might be wondering why Bahrain is backing its own Dakar entry. According to Khalid Al Rumaihi, who heads the Mumtalakat sovereign wealth fund, it’s part of Bahrain’s desire to showcase the Middle East to the world.

This is how you detail a $2.3M Aston Martin Vulcan

The track-only Aston Martin Vulcan is one of the rarest hypercars. Just 24 were made, at a price of $2.3 million each. So how do you detail a car this rare and expensive?
Very carefully. As shown in this video from Topaz Detailing, it’s a meticulous process that involves multiple cleaning solutions and multiple passes over panel gaps, wheel arches, and every place dirt might hide.
Topaz also applied paint protection film to this particular Vulcan. That’s a clear material that covers painted surfaces, helping to prevent stone chips and other potential damage. Applying it is a bit like putting waterslide decals on a model car—the material adheres to wet surfaces but can still be moved around for proper alignment.
Unveiled in 2015, the Vulcan was designed for track use only, although some cars were later converted for street use. The car is powered by a naturally aspirated 7.0-liter V-12 making 800 horsepower. Developed by Aston Martin’s motorsport arm, the engine sits in a front-midship position for better weight distribution.
Aston Martin Vulcan
At the time of its launch, Aston said the Vulcan had a better power to weight ratio than the Vantage GTE race car then running in the World Endurance Championship. That was thanks in part to a carbon fiber monocoque sourced from Multimatic, the same company that built the Aston Martin One-77 supercar, and is currently building the Ford GT.
The Vulcan also uses a racing-style pushrod suspension system, with Multimatic’s Dynamic Suspension Spool Valve (DSSV) adjustable dampers.
Despite those impressive specs, the Vulcan could soon be surpassed by another Aston hypercar.
The Aston Martin Valkyrie was developed in concert with the Red Bull Racing Formula One team. It will boast 1,160 hp, courtesy of a Cosworth-developed 6.5-liter V-12 working with a KERS-style hybrid system.

Pre-production, aluminum-bodied Aston Martin V12 Zagato can be yours

Early last decade, Aston Martin rolled out the Vantage-based V12 Zagato race car to mark the 50th anniversary of when Aston Martin and Zagato first worked together on the DB4GT Zagato. It also served as a reboot of the partnership between the two historic firms and proved so popular that a run of road-going examples, 150 all up, quickly followed.
It turns out that Aston Martin built two additional V12 Zagato road cars. These were pre-production cars that were never intended to be sold to the public, though one of them, the green example shown here, was sold to a customer in 2016. It’s now listed for sale on the website of British dealership Bell Sport & Classic.
Pre-production Aston Martin V12 Zagato
Not only is this car one of just two pre-production examples, it’s also the only V12 Zagato to feature a body completely built from aluminum. The others all featured bodies made from a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber.
The car’s original color was Titanium Gray, but the customer had Aston Martin paint it the green it’s finished in at present, known as Aston Martin Racing Green. It also features a right-hand-drive configuration and 6-speed manual transmission.
Pre-production Aston Martin V12 Zagato
Like all V12 Zagatos, power comes from Aston Martin’s former 6.0-liter V-12. In this application, the engine has been tuned to deliver slightly more than the stock 510 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, though.
Fans of the V12 Zagato can also purchase a modern version built by R-Reforged, an arm of Swiss racing team AF Racing. The company is building 19 coupes and 19 speedsters under license and plans to sell the two body styles as a pair to 19 well-heeled collectors. First deliveries are due in the fourth quarter of 2020.

New Aston Martin DBX derivatives to start arriving from 2021

SUVs are all the rage right now, even among the ultra-luxury crowd where they account for close to 50 percent of sales at brands like Bentley and Lamborghini.
Aston Martin is just about to enter the fray with its 2021 DBX which starts deliveries this summer. Just one version of the mid-size SUV has been announced but strong initial demand has prompted Aston Martin to prepare for the introduction of additional derivatives starting from 2021, according to new chairman Lawrence Stroll.
“I am extremely pleased that DBX remains on track for deliveries in the summer and has a strong order book behind it extending into 2021,” he said during Aston Martin’s first quarter financial results presentation last month. “Based on these successful initial orders for DBX, we plan to unveil future derivatives starting from 2021.”
Aston Martin has already racked up over 2,000 orders for the DBX, which is enough to keep the SUV’s new plant in St Athan, Wales, busy through the next 12 months. And the best part is that half of the orders are coming from customers new to the brand.
2021 Aston Martin DBX
It isn’t clear whether Stroll means additional powertrain derivatives like a planned hybrid option or new concepts like a 7-seat DBX or even a coupe-like version—something Marek Reichman, executive vice president and chief creative officer of Aston Martin, hinted to GoAuto in a March interview when asked about whether a second SUV was possible.
“We’ll never go down (in size),” he said. “Not necessarily up, but maybe it’s less capacity. So the wheelbase may remain the same but maybe the box shrinks a little bit.”
Launching additional body styles for the DBX will enable Aston Martin to grab a bigger slice of the SUV pie with a much smaller investment than if it launched a second SUV line—a key issue for Aston Martin which at the moment is struggling to stay solvent. The automaker has run huge losses the past two quarters and last week announced it would cut up to 500 jobs.
The DBX reaches dealers in the United States in the second half of 2020. It launches with a 542-horsepower 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 and a $189,900 starting price.