2021 Aston Martin Victor - track test
Although its design was influenced by several models from Aston Martin’s past, the Victor is a thoroughly modern supercar with a performance to match. We head to Silverstone to fully experience this monstrous 7.3-litre concept.
ASTON MARTIN VICTOR BACK TO THE FUTURE
WORDS KYLE FORTUNE
PHOTOGRAPHY MAX EAREY
VICTOR TRACK TEST
Based on the One-77 with a design clearly influenced by the V8 Vantage from the Eighties, the 2021 Aston Martin Victor uses an updated 7.3-litre V12 making it incredible powerful. We attempt to tame this one-off supercar on the track
We’re always looking for cool things to do and we had a little used One-77 prototype in storage that we couldn’t sell, and we thought it would be good to do something with it,” explains Simon Lane, former director of Q and Special Project Sales for Aston Martin Lagonda. The decision was made to make something to celebrate the V8 Vantage as well as the DBS V8 that was developed to race at the 1977 Le Mans 24 Hours as the RHAM/1. Some initial design work was done, Miles Nurnberger, director of design, said, “We don’t usually do retrospective design at Aston Martin, but it’s good to exercise designers’ minds and this was a fun project.” That Le Mans race car, built by Robin Hamilton back in the Seventies, with a bit of factory support, gained the nickname ‘The Muncher’ because of its appetite for brake discs, Nurnberger joked hat it also applied to transmissions, tyres and pretty much everything else.
Called the Victor, in honour of Victor Gauntlett, Aston Martin’s executive chairman, who presided over the company during the Eighties, is another subtle nod to the past.
The idea, as well as some early CAD design work and engineering feasibility studies, were completed before Aston Martin started approaching its most loyal customers to see if they might be interested in such a car. One was, a Belgian gentleman, his identity, as well as what he paid for the car remaining secret. He’s happy, though, for a handful of people to drive it, which explains why I find myself sliding over the broad sill with a brushed aluminium treadplate with ‘Aston Martin 1 of 1’ engraved within it. The interior, like the rest of the Victor, is unique, but there’s little initial opportunity to really revel in all the beautiful detailing, with my time limited and the clouds in the sky looking ominous.
Pushing the key into its slot low in the centre console – before I’ve fully tightened the Schroth Racing four-point seatbelts – I press the starter button on the wheel for the 7.3-litre, naturally aspirated V12. The starter motor whirrs, before firing and settling into a surprisingly cultured idle. Cosworth, Aston Martin’s engine partner, was tasked with fettling the 7.3-litre V12. It stripped it down to its block, before completely rebuilding and tuning it. Cosworth’s efforts has seen the power swell to 836bhp, underpinned with 605.5 lb ft of torque, a significant gain over the One-77’s quoted 750bhp and 553 lb ft. Like the engine, that prototype One-77 carbon fibre monocoque chassis was sent back to its original supplier, Multimatic, and was essentially rebuilt as new.
Elements of Aston Martin’s Vulcan track-only car are utilised, donating its inboard springs and dampers. Visible through the rear window there’s six stage settings, Aston’s chassis engineers having set it up to work on the road, as the owner intends on having it certified for road use.
There are gorgeous centre-lock lattice alloy wheels of 20in, with 285/30 ZR20 front and 325/30 ZR20 rear tyres, behind which sit 380mm front and 360mm rear Brembo CMM-R carbon ceramic discs grasped by six-piston calipers. Those brakes promise GT3 race car levels of braking. Indeed, despite the intended eventual road use, that reference to race cars isn’t the only one Aston Martin quotes, stating that computational fluid dynamic testing reveals the Victor’s unique body develops around 60 percent more downforce at 100mph in comparison to one of its Vantage GT4 race cars.
I’ll be needing that aero effect today, to push the dry-liking Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres through all the water that’s just been deposited by a dark, British cloud over Silverstone’s Stowe circuit. There’s plenty of requirement for quick corrections with the steering because of all the standing water around, the puddles seeing the rear tyres losing purchase momentarily, before the traction control does its best to gather things up. It’s not intrusive, aiding progress rather than preventing it, the Victor proving surprisingly easy to drive, even in such horrendous conditions.
The traction control, as well as the ABS, is variable via knobs on the steering wheel, the cut-top ‘wheel’, a retrimmed item lifted from the Vulcan. There are no paddles behind it though, because unlike both the Vulcan and One-77, there’s a third pedal, and a walnut-topped manual gearstick situated in the transmission tunnel. Praise be.
That manual transmission elevates the Victor over any number of super and hypercars these days, it, admitting Lane, being included from the start because it made the project a bit easier. The gearbox is a Graziano six-speed mated to a racing clutch. Aston Martin’s engineers have fiddled with the materials to make it work at road speeds. The pedal isn’t light, but neither is it so heavy to be obstructive, the sizeable gear knob travelling through its movement with precision and ease.
Grabbing it as the V12 devours another gear while accelerating down the straight is an absolute joy, but it’s when you’re stood on the middle pedal and roll your foot off to blip the V12 to rev match for downshifts that the gearbox is so engaging. Such old-school thrills feel entirely right in a car with such a retro nod in its looks, defining its character. And it’s a car that’s absolutely brimming with it; from the incredible soundtrack and response of its naturally aspirated 7.3-litre V12 whose blaring exhaust pipes exit to the side of where my backside’s situated, to the gearbox that helps orchestrate it and the playful nature of the chassis.
Embraced by a beautifully upholstered lightweight carbon fibre seat, the pedal spacing also proves to be perfect, with the gearstick high and near the steering wheel to minimise the time with your hand off the wheel. That’s proving useful with all the constant, and sometimes sizeable, corrections required today, as the track dries and the speeds increase. The steering is light, quick and accurate, though there’s not a great deal of lock should the rear axle try to overtake the front. Don’t ask how I know this… What’s quickly apparent is how immersive and hugely entertaining it all is, the combination of its mighty, immediate response from that glorious V12, the strength of the brakes and the pedal’s ample feel – and the racer’s squealing that accompanies their use – you really revel in the drive.
It’s biddable, too, ridiculous as that might sound when applied to something so potent, but within a few laps the Victor reveals a playfulness, starting to move around me, but doing so predictably, transitioning from grip to slip with ease. Entering the corner, you need to be patient, some slight initial understeer needing neutralising before the rear can be coaxed out into a slide.
There’s no recalcitrance from the transmission, the clutch being easy to use, likewise the gearbox, while the engine’s mighty output is produced in such a linear fashion there’s no concerns there either, with only the brake squeal being something that might prove tiresome with regular use. It feels, every bit, a proper involving driver’s car, and despite the huge numbers associated with it, remarkably civilised, too.
Even so, the owner could, justifiably, park it up and gawp at it, because it’s utterly captivating to look at. The Muncher and V8 Vantage references mix perfectly in its bespoke Pentland Green and satin carbon fibre bodywork, pictures not doing the Victor’s beauty and proportions justice.
That’s true inside, the Victor is a one-off that’s built to production car standards, a sensational blend of traditional materials like solid walnut green leather and cashmere headlining with more technical surfaces in satin carbon fibre, anodised aluminium, and polished titanium. It’s an exquisitely curated mix, with the result being stunning. However, a conventional instrument cluster, instead of the configurable TFT screen, would perhaps sit more suitably with the overall theme. A project that Aston Martin says is unlikely ever to be repeated, not least because it no longer has any spare One-77 chassis lying around, the Victor’s owner hasn’t just got a unique car, but a genuinely incredible one, of the type we’d really love to see some more of.
TECHINICAL DATA2021 Aston Martin Victor
Estimated Acceleration Stats For Aston Martin Victor:
- 0-30 MPH: 1.38 sec
- 0-60 MPH: 2.78 sec
- 0-100 MPH: 5.49 sec
- 100-150 MPH: 6.94 sec
- 150-186 MPH: 13.81 sec (241-300km/h)
- 186-200 MPH: 24.73 sec (300-322km/h)
- 100-200 MPH: 45.48 sec
- Top Speed: 200.9654 mph (323.4224 km/h)
Car type 2 doors Coupe Curb weight 1497 kg (3300 lbs) Years built 2020 — 2020 Origin country United Kingdom
Engine type 7.3 L AM Cosworth V12 Displacement 7.3 l (446 ci / 7312 cc) Max Power 848 ps (836 bhp / 623 kw) @ 7500 rpm Max Torque 822 Nm (606 lb-ft) @ 6500 rpm Power / liter 116 ps (114 hp) Power / weight 566 ps (558 bhp) / t Torque / weight 549 Nm (405 lb-ft) / t Transmission 6-Speed-manual Layout front engine, rear wheel drive