The Aston Martin Project Vantage Design Concept for a Performance Car of the Future

5 January 1998

The Aston Martin Project Vantage Design Concept for a Performance Car of the Future

    DETROIT, Jan. 4 -- In the tradition of its famed project
cars, Aston Martin is charging up the 1998 North American International Auto
Show with a 200-mph-plus Aston Martin super car of the future.
    The Project Vantage prototype is a design concept for a totally new,
advanced-technology vehicle employing high-strength, lightweight construction
and a high-power, low-emissions powertrain.  Project Vantage draws heavily on
advanced research being conducted by Ford Advanced Vehicle Technology (AVT)
and its wealth of experience gained from participation in Formula One Grand
Prix racing and other areas of international motor sport.
    "We believe Project Vantage reflects all the essential elements of power,
performance and driver involvement in a manner which is true to the traditions
of Aston Martin," said Bob Dover, chairman and chief executive of Aston
Martin.
    Project Vantage resulted from close and continuing cooperation among
engineers and designers at Aston Martin, AVT, Borg Warner, Magnetti Marelli,
AP Racing, ITT, TRW and other Aston Martin suppliers.
    "Aston Martin is a tremendous real-world arena for some of Ford's most
advanced technologies," said Jac Nasser, president, Ford Automotive
Operations.  "Project Vantage helps us refine some very important design and
construction technologies that initially can be employed in low-volume
manufacturing and eventually become employed in more mass market vehicles."
    With its body and chassis constructed from aluminum and carbon fibre,
Project Vantage provides all the engineering efficiencies, structural
integrity, torsional rigidity and occupant protection of a modern Formula One
car.  A central venturi in the underbody creates positive down force to aid
directional stability.
    Advanced electronic control systems for engine management and the
transmission permit instantaneous gear changes through a system of Formula
One-style paddles that can be operated through fingertip control from the
steering wheel.  The six-speed transmission may also be operated in a fully
automatic mode.
    The aggressive body design of this classic configuration, front-engine,
rear-wheel-drive British sports car is the work of Scottish designer Ian
Callum, whose design for the Aston Martin DB7 continues to win international
recognition.
    The two-seat, highly functional air-conditioned interior of Project
Vantage is biased toward the needs of the driver.  It is finished in an
imaginative combination of traditional Connolly hide and suede upholstery
matched to brushed aluminum and carbon fibre for many of the interior
surfaces.
    The driver and passenger seats are equipped with four-point safety
harnesses.  There is matching tailored luggage fitted in the boot and interior
lockers.
    Power is provided by a prototype 6.0-litre aluminum alloy V-12 48-valve
engine, one of the units being studied by Aston Martin, Ford AVT and Cosworth
Engineering of Northhampton to establish and identify Aston Martin's potential
engine requirements for the future.
    With base design by Ford AVT, this advanced engine is capable of being
developed to provide the required levels of performance for Project Vantage
while meeting or exceeding the world's strictest emissions standards.  For
example, its high-efficiency exhaust system has been designed to incorporate a
9.0-litre catalyst.
    Initial performance indications on this racing/concept car show that this
200-mph high-efficiency Aston Martin could accelerate from rest to 60 mph in
just 4.0 seconds, reach more than 140 mph at the end of a standing quarter-
mile, yet still get more than 20 miles per gallon of fuel.
    Benefiting from Ford AVT's involvement with the Stewart Ford Formula One
Grand Prix team and Bridgestone Tires, Project Vantage employs unequal length
wishbones in its front suspension controlled by horizontally located pushrod-
operated spring and damper units together with an active front anti-roll bar
system.  At the rear, the independent suspension is by equal length wishbones.
    The AP Racing anti-lock brake system features ventilated and drilled 15ins
diameter discs on the front wheels and 14ins diameter discs at the rear.  The
six-pot aluminum alloy calipers are equipped with titanium bridge bolts and
fittings.
    By combining aluminum honeycomb with carbon fibre, Aston Martin body
designers have created a structure that takes full advantage of modern Formula
One technology, including the generation of positive down force.  The
passenger compartment is constructed from aluminum honeycomb with carbon fibre
reinforcements in the extruded aluminum chassis sections and roof pillars.
The roof structure is generated from double-skinned carbon fibre.  There are
two energy-absorbent crush zones provided by the space frames.  This mode of
construction and these materials save more than 50 per cent of weight and
increase torsional rigidity more than 100 per cent.
    Four 25,000-volt, high-intensity discharge headlamp units provide lighting
designed to match the performance potential of this Vantage prototype.  This
electronically controlled HID system doubles the output of conventional
halogen lights.
    The 19ins diameter cast magnesium road wheels with 9.5ins width rims are
equipped with intermediate compound 255 x 40 ZR19 Bridgestone radial ply tyres
at the front and 285.40 ZR19 tyres at the rear.
    "The concept of Project Vantage will enable everyone involved in the
programme to investigate and explore techniques, concepts and materials which
could all be employed at some time in the future, together with seeking
opinions on the exterior and interior designs," Dover said.  "We are looking
forward to receiving feedback on all of the features incorporated in the
concept.  For us at Aston Martin, it has involved us in a new way of doing
business while retaining and strengthening the traditional virtues and brand
values of the world famous marque."

SOURCE  Aston Martin

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