Applying a traditional approach to a parallel universe
You can’t drive it on the road and you can’t race it. What, then, is the point of the Aston Martin Vulcan? There must be one, given that both Ferrari and McLaren offer equivalent programmes built around track-only hypercars.
You might think you’d be better off spending the same money on a customer racing car and joining the GT grid of your choice. But even as a gentleman driver this demands a significant commitment of time, one commodity even the healthiest bank balance can’t buy. Privacy to enjoy your new toy at exclusive arrive-and-drive events with no pressure to perform to the crowd is, therefore, an appealing prospect.
Then there’s the car itself. Unrestricted by road or race regulation this is, truly, a no-holds-barred hypercar demonstrating the full breadth of Aston Martin’s ambition. Think of it as a fast-moving, flame-spitting concept car you can actually buy and drive on a track and you’re not far wrong.
Compared with the Ferrari FXX K and McLaren P1 GTR, the Vulcan takes a defiantly traditional approach too, focusing less on F1-inspired aero and hybrid trickery and instead on more old-school thrills, with an 820bhp, 7.0-litre and glorious naturally aspirated V12 at its heart. Like the One-77 that inspired it, the engineering artistry under the skin is as impressive and as nicely finished as the exterior. Which kind of explains how this example – one of just 24 sold – finds itself on the market with Kaaimans International.
After buying it for his own collection, Kaaimans’ co-founder and chief investor Ian Kershaw surprised even himself by taking part in one of Aston Martin’s customer events at COTA in Texas. As business partner Gary Tolson explains, Kershaw’s tastes don’t usually take in track-only cars like the Vulcan. But the support programme is tailored to let owners enjoy the fearsome performance to the full, whether or not they’ve driven on track before.
A perfect centrepiece to Kaaimans’ big-ticket stock list and country estate location, it’s doing a great job of attracting attention to this newly established business. The burly £2.7m asking price doesn’t seem to be putting people off, either.
“We’ve had unbelievable interest from collectors all over the world,” says Tolson. “Obviously it’s very limited market but it’s also a very exclusive car and I’ve got a couple of guys in Hong Kong chomping at the bit.”
As it’s a privately owned car and not simply a stock item, it will only sell if the right buyer comes along. As it stands it can simply be appreciated for what it is, namely a spectacular and beautiful demonstration of what Aston Martin can do technically and stylistically when let off the leash.
It’s a sculpture with flame-spitting side exhausts and circuit-slaying performance – absolutely no racing ambition is needed.