Track Drive: 2011 Aston Martin V12 Vantage
Not Just a Pretty Smile Anymore
August 27, 2010 By Scott Mortara
It took a while, but they finally did it. Aston took its smallest car and stuffed its biggest mill -- a 6.0-liter V-12 producing 510 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque -- into the engine bay. Aston Martin is claiming a top speed of 190 mph and a 0-60 time of 4.1 seconds for the V12 Vantage. The top speed sounds about right, but that 60 time should be better. I tested a V-8 Vantage manual a while back and recorded a time of 4.1 seconds 0-60 and a quarter mile of 12.5 seconds at 115 mph, and that car has only 420 horsepower. I'm guessing the 60 for the V-12-powered Vantage will be somewhere south of 4.0 seconds with the quarter mile disappearing in the low 12-second range.
Aston Martin was kind enough to invite me to a track day at Willow Springs Raceway recently - Big Willow, to be exact. At first I was excited, but the more I thought about it, the more concerned I became. My concern stemmed from knowing Astons Martins are not very good track cars, because they tend to get hot and lose their brakes quickly.
As with most, if not all, track days, no matter how much driving experience you have or think you have, the first laps you turn will either be as a passenger with an instructor, or with the instructor riding as passenger while talking you through the course. I got the latter, but after one lap, the instructor hopped out and I was set loose on Big Willow.