With the launch of its new Vulcan and its bespoke ownership program, Aston Martin is the latest supercar company to offer its top customers the chance to become race car drivers.
After weeks of teasing, Aston Martin has officially unwrapped the Vulcan. A track-only supercar (and therefore not hindered by little engineering irritations such as emissions, fuel consumption, noise levels or the ability to safely navigate a speed bump), the all-carbon fiber car is powered by a 7-liter naturally aspirated -- i.e., no superchargers or turbochargers -- V12 engine.
As for what all of that will mean for the 24 clients who will take delivery of one, Aston is keeping much of the performance data a secret for now. All that it has confirmed is that maximum output will be over 800bhp.
Of the new car, which will be making its first officially public appearance at the Geneva motor show on March 3, CEO, Dr Andy Palmer, said: "Aston Martin Vulcan is, by its very nature, a rare and thrilling supercar. Designed and engineered to deliver a genuinely bespoke driving experience that draws on our rich heritage, this car tailors its power and handling to both the capabilities of the driver and the characteristics of the track."
Each owner will get the opportunity to add bespoke trim and exterior details to his or her Vulcan and then will also undergo rigorous training on the track and in racing simulators to improve their track-driving. A specially organized Vulcan race program will get underway in 2016, which will see events staged at some of the world's most famous race tracks.
Dr Palmer describes it as a "unique ownership programme," and one that "sets a whole new standard in the ultra-high luxury supercar class."
However, the €2.5 million Vulcan won't be the only track-focused supercar with a driver program debuting at Geneva. McLaren will be showing off its P1 GTR, which offers a remarkable 986bhp from its hybrid electric/V8 twin-turbo engine plus entry into the McLaren P1 Driving Programme where owners can develop their racing skills and customize their cars. McLaren will set up each P1 GTR to perfectly match its owner's driving style.
P1 GTR ownership will be strictly limited to clients who have a spare €2.7 million and who already have the GTR's road-going counterpart, the P1.
This new trend for owner racing programs was started by Ferrari. Its XX program launched in 2006 as a way of showing its most important customers how much they are valued and to provide them with a hands-on way of helping to develop the performance and handling characteristics of road-going Ferraris of the future.
The latest ‘XX' car, the Ferrari FXX K, will also be on show in Geneva. Like the McLaren P1 GTR it has a hybrid powertrain, but one capable of delivering 1021bhp and while it costs fractionally less -- €2.2 million, only those who already own a Ferrari LaFerrari are eligible to buy one and, according to the company, every FXX K has already been snapped up.