V8 advantage

Race-ready Aston Martin Vantage GT2 is your ticket to Le Mans

Little wonder GT racing has been enjoying such a revival in recent years – the cars look spectacular and sound great, while close-fought battles between Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, Mercedes and many more hark back to the glory days of sports car competition. And with new series like the Masters Endurance Legends for cars raced from 1995 to 2011, interest in eligible contenders is increasing.

So what better way to join the action than with a racing Aston Martin? Beautiful to look at and with proven race-winning pace, the cars built by Prodrive for Aston Martin Racing score for both emotional appeal and raw speed. Take this 2010 Vantage GT2 for instance. Offered by marque specialists Nicholas Mee & Co for just shy of £300,000, the price includes a spares package worth another £100,000 and the knowledge that the car is ready to race.

Launched in 2008, the Vantage GT2 followed the success of the V12-powered, DB9-based DBR9. First raced in 2005 it had launched Aston Martin’s return to top-flight competition in fine style with David Brabham, Darren Turner and Rickard Rydell taking the GT1 victory at Le Mans in 2007 after the car’s previous success at Sebring and in the ALMS. This was followed by another class win in 2008. The rising costs of GT1 also saw the DBR9 joined by the GT3-ready and more cost-effective DBRS9.

Nicholas Mee’s commercial director Neal Gerrard knows a thing or two about these cars, having moved from a similar role at Prodrive where he was closely involved with the Aston Martin Racing programme. And while the DBR9 and DBRS9 were successful racing cars he says they were – and remain – costly and intimidating for privateers. Which is why as GT1 waned Aston Martin switched its frontline effort to the more user-friendly V8 Vantage, giving rise to the car you see here and the basis for the current Vantage GTE that won a hard-fought LMGTE victory at this year’s Le Mans. Not bad for a car in its dotage.

This Vantage GT2 – chassis number 007 no less – is one of 10 built and was campaigned extensively in the 2010 International GT Open championship by Villois Racing, scoring a win at Brands Hatch in the process. It ran again in 2012, first in the International GT Series and then at the Aston Martin Racing Festival at Le Mans where it took first place. More recently, and following a full overhaul at Prodrive, it has raced in this year’s inaugural Masters Endurance Legends at Spa, winning its class and once again proving its credentials as a competitive car.

For Gerrard its appeal is clear. Where a DBR9 with factory and race-winning provenance could cost into seven figures, the entry price for this GT2 car is much more realistic. And for those priced out of racing historic Aston Martins or stepping up from the popular Vantage GT4s it’s a sensible progression, especially if the more cut-throat world of frontline GT racing looks a little too serious. With events like Masters Endurance Legends, or the chance to race in front of the Le Mans crowd in the Aston Martin Racing Festival, the opportunities for privateers to sample the glamour of modern-day GT racing are increasing – and with it the interest in eligible cars like this one.