The Vantage GT12 is Aston Martin’s answer to the Porsche 911 GT3. In fact, it was called the Vantage GT3 until Porsche complained. It’s a more-focused version of the V12 Vantage, with fewer luxuries and more power, that’s meant for track driving.
But how does that hardcore mission work with frivolous top-down driving? Several carmakers make track-focused versions of their performance cars, but the Aston Martin Vantage GT12 Roadster debuting at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed is probably the first attempt to turn one into a convertible. The GT12 Roadster is a one-off custom job built by Aston Martin’s Q personalization division.
Since many racetracks don’t allow convertibles, it’s a somewhat odd request, but the customer is always right apparently. The GT12 Roadster shares most of the GT12 coupe’s carbon fiber body panels, which puff out the body to make room for a wider track, plus dramatic vents in the front fenders and ahead of the rear wheels. The Roadster is missing the coupe’s rear wing spoiler, but appears to retain its other aerodynamic aids, including a big front chin spoiler.
Like the coupe, the Vantage GT12 Roadster uses an upgraded version of Aston’s ubiquitous 6.0-liter V12. This engine is used in virtually every other Aston Martin, but in the GT12, it produces 592 horsepower. It’s mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and breathes through a titanium exhaust system.
The one-off GT12 Roadster’s interior appears to be bit more luxurious than the GT12’s coupe. Whereas the coupe’s interior is a sea of carbon fiber and Alcantara, much of that has been replaced with leather in the convertible.
The Vantage GT12 Roadster was commissioned by a specific customer, so there are no plans for a full production run. Aston says this is the first time a customer has commissioned a full car build, and hopes it won’t be the last. Like other high-end carmakers, Aston Martin sees customization as a promising new market, owing to the seemingly inexhaustible wealth of the one percent.