V8 Vantage N24 Description
In production: 2006 – 2008
Chassis numbers: Gaydon SVO built cars - AMLVANTAGEN24001 to AMLVANTAGEN24015 (excluding N24013), Prodrive AMR built cars - AMLVANTAGEN24S001 to AMLVANTAGEN24S039
During the middle weekend of June 2006, AM enthusiasts had their eyes glued to the 24 Heures du Mans giving support to the works DBR9s. But at the same time in Germany, AM were involved in another 24 hour race, the ADAC 24h Rennen Nürburgring organised by the ADAC, Germany's biggest automobile club, on a circuit that includes the Northern loop (Nordschleife) and is 25.3km in length. The German race, little known in the UK at the time, was for production cars although many of those competing were really motorsport-homologated cars. As if to show a point, Aston Martin took over a virtually standard V8 Vantage to prove the quality of its road car against the stiff opposition. From an entry of 220, the Vantage achieved a 4th in class (SP8) and 24th overall driven by Dr Ulrich Bez, Chris Porritt (Aston Martin’s Vehicle Engineering Manager), Horst von Saurma, editor-in-chief of Sport Auto magazine, and development driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer. Despite the heat (perhaps hotter than Le Mans) the Vantage completed 130 laps. The three cars in class SP8 that finished ahead of the Aston were a Dodge Viper GTS-R, a Lamborghini Gallardo GTR, and an Audi RS 4 and all were believed to be road legal, full race cars.
The car used by AM was CP025, initially registered in April 2004 and christened Rose (English Rose). It was a late confirmation prototype identical to a production car. CP025 had already had a full life as a calibration vehicle, mostly on a dynometer, and as such was actually in very good shape. Modifications for the race were limited to the full mandatory safety cage, special racing fuel tank and fire system, racing seat, slick tyres and built-in air jacks; all for safety and pit-lane efficiency. Weight was shaved off by the use polycarbonate side windows, deleting almost all of the interior trim and fitting a lightweight exhaust system. Even the trademark AM side strakes on the wing vents were lightened from 800g down to just 85. The finished car weighed 220kg less than the standard V8 Vantage.
In a surprise move, at the start of the British Motor Show in London on the 18th July 2006, AM announced that they were going to build just a small number of replicas of the Nürburgring Vantage to be known a N24s and to be eminently suitable for trackdays and race series such the VLN Endurance Championship at the Nürburgring, the Britcar endurance series, the Dutch Supercar Challenge, the Australian GT Championship, the European Endurance Championship and of course, AMOC Club Racing. In addition, the Vantage N24 was also eligible for the new European GT4 series, the Grand-Am Cup and SCCA Touring Car Class in the USA.
Shortly before Christmas 2006 (15/16th December 2006), Rose was in action once again in the inaugural Bahrain 24 hour race. Drivers on this occasion were Horst von Saurma, editor-in-chief of Sport Auto magazine, development driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer and Aston Martin’s Chris Porritt. Starting from 14th on the grid of mostly motorsport homologated cars, the N24 finished in 8th overall despite the unexpected heavy rain at the Bahrain International Circuit.
The production car was eventually unveiled at the Autosport International Show at the Birmingham NEC on the 11th January 2007, as a guest car on tyre partner, Yokohama’s, stand.
The N24 has proved to be a popular race car in club, national and international competition. 2008 saw the introduction of the Aston Martin Asia Cup – an all new one-make race series featuring up to 18 identical Aston Martin Vantage N24 Sportshift racing cars competing in 10 races on Asia’s most prestigious circuits. The series only lasted a year, but some of these cars have returned to the UK and been sold to European based teams.
The Vantage N24 was based on a standard left hand drive European specification production V8 Vantage but stripped bare achieving a 250kg weight loss over the standard car (down to 1350kg). In addition to weight reduction, the N24 also gained an additional 30bhp over the road car (to 410bhp) plus safety and suspension modifications.
The first 14 cars were built in a dedicated facility within Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters known as Special Vehicle Operations (SVO). Production later transferred to Aston Martin Racing at Prodrive in Banbury where another 39 cars were built, 27 with a Prodrive designed Sportshift (S in chassis number) and 12 with manual gear change (M in chassis number). Although the N24 was normally supplied with left hand drive, at least one Gaydon built car was built with right hand drive.
The launch price for the N24 started at £92,500. By 2008 this had risen slightly to £99,500 for the standard car and £116,325 for one to FIA GT4 spec.
Although, strictly speaking, the N24 is a racing car, AM Works Service have been called upon to make two N24s road legal under the single vehicle type approval rules, with a few modifications. To do this the N24 needed number plates with lights, indicators, a horn, a proper handbrake, steering column with steering lock, fuel filler restrictor, catalytic converter modifications to comply with noise and emission regulations and a normal driver’s window to replace the fixed Perspex type with sliding panel. Left hand drive cars also needed an MPH speedometer and RHD headlights. This process was estimated to cost around £9,000 plus VAT.