We promised you a new Aston Martin would appear at Monterey Car Week and, true to our word, here it is: the Aston Martin DBR22. It’s been released to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Q by Aston Martin, the firm’s bespoke car division. The design apes the open-topped racing greats from Aston’s history. Cars like the 1953 DB3S, which put the fledgling manufacturer on the road to success in sports car and endurance racing, and the DBR1, which was its racing zenith. That’s the car that took the firm’s first and only outright Le Mans victory – in 1959, in the expert hands of Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori.
The DBR22 fills those shoes with its clean-looking and, it must be said, very handsome speedster silhouette. The flowing, open-cockpit design deploys 50s-style curves starting at the front wings, which then drop down over the top of the doors, before rising up again and flowing elegantly over the rear wheels. There are two roll-hoop aero humps behind each seat – the DBR1 had just one hump, mind – and the sides are deeply scalloped, giving the DBR22 a real 3D presence, even in 2D pictures.
And speaking of 3D, some of the car’s been 3D printed. The rear subframe, in fact. Which is the first time Aston has deployed this technology in its road cars. The assembly is made from multiple 3D-printed aluminium elements that are bonded together to form the complete subframe. There are good reasons for doing it this way. It’s the ideal manufacturing method for creating low-volume, bespoke parts that would otherwise require expensive tooling. It’s also lightweight but retains the structural stiffness required. The chassis stiffness is also said to be enhanced with ‘unique front and rear shear panels’ to keep the suspension perfectly positioned. This extracts the most from the geometry, while the adaptive dampers are tuned to provide precision on track but also pliancy on the road.
The predominant material used in the body is, as you’d expect, carbon fibre. This enables intricate designs that are both light and strong. Take the bonnet, for instance. It’s one long, unbroken piece from front to rear. Other than the obvious ‘horseshoe’ vent, that is, which is required for engine cooling. The bonnet leads up to the small wind deflector that usurps a full windscreen. Even the door mirrors sit on carbon fibre arms, which means they can be made incredibly slender – both visually appealing as well as low drag. The grille’s carbon fibre, too, and a change from the norm. Instead of the usual slatted veins used on series-production Aston Martins, it has a central horizontal bar with vertical strakes positioned behind it. This is another hark back to those 50s racers.
At the rear, there’s a horizontal, full-width light bar designed from scratch for the DBR22. Just underneath it is a perforated panel that expels hot air from the rear, beneath which lies an integrated diffuser and two, large-diameter tailpipes. The body squats on lightweight 21-inch wheels, hugged tightly by the arches. The paint colour is bespoke, too, having been developed specifically for the DBR22 to showcase the ‘Paint to Sample’ concept of producing whatever colour matches the buyer's desires.
Then there’s the engine. No battery power here. It’s got ingredients to savour. Using Aston’s 5.2-litre V12 with forced induction courtesy of two turbos, peak power is 715hp (a whisker under the DBS Superleggera) with 555lb ft of torque. That’s also less than the DBS, but still sufficient for 0-60mph in 3.4 seconds and 198mph. Not too shabby, in other words. And you should hear the V12 enunciate its howl clearly, with nothing filtering it from the occupants. The engine’s mated to the usual eight-speed auto, but it’s been calibrated specifically for this purpose.
Aston’s Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichman, says, ‘We set our design systems to “hyper-drive”, pushing the exploration of formalism further and endeavouring to express a future in the here today. Where could we go with the surfaces, proportion and form. Combining this approach with advanced process, technology, and materials, we’ve effectively modernised our racing bloodline and created a new pedigree. DBR22 is a hot-blooded, purebred Aston Martin sports car full of speed, agility and spirit, and a machine that we think will be the basis of many of tomorrow’s icons’.
Ahead of the car's unveiling at the 2022 Monterey Car Week, we haven’t been told precisely how many DBR22s will be made. We know only that this concept will ‘also form the basis of a production reality example for an ultra-exclusive number of Q by Aston Martin customers.’ Other cars in its ultra-exclusive series included the Vulcan, of which just 24 were made. If you happen to be in California this week, you can see the DBR22 for yourself at the Pebble Beach Concours D’ Elegance from this Friday to Sunday.
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