Who doesn’t love a homologation special? Sure, some of the properly hardcore road racers can be somewhat challenging to live with, but that’s easy to overlook when a car’s sole purpose is to allow its manufacturer to gain an advantage racing or rallying. They’re so desirable that some carmakers go the other way around and release road-going versions of their racers, well after said cars have racked up several wins and championships on the world circuit. Let’s call them faux-mologation specials.
It's a loose term, I’ll admit, but it covers off a group of cars that have motorsport in their DNA, even if they’re not the direct product of a racing programme. Think McLaren 620R, Mercedes SLS and AMG GT Black Series, and – at a stretch – the Subaru Impreza 22B. None of them had any impact on the motorsport world, though they're the ultimate link between their maker's respective racing programmes and the general public. There is, however, a car that arguably encapsulates the faux-mologation special (a term I definitely didn’t makeup to underpin this story) better than other track-edition in existence: the monstrous Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR Pro.
By the time the AMR Pro arrived in 2017, Aston Martin had already racked up a decent haul of endurance racing wins with the Vantage, including a GTE Pro class win at that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. As good an excuse as any to build seven track-only specials to not only celebrate a decade’s worth of success in top-tier GT racing, but also mark the end of the VH-era V8 Vantage.
True to the not-a-homologation special, the AMR Pro shares a lot more in common with racing versions of the V8 Vantage than the road cars. For example, the towering rear wing and carbon fibre bonnet, with holes cut into it for better cooling - both come from the Le Mans-winning GTE racer. The front wings also bear a resemblance to the GTE machine, with a cut-out section behind the front wheels, while the front splitter looks almost identical to that of the V12-engined GT3 car. The bits that weren’t pinched from Prodrive’s parts bin are still made from carbon fibre, bar the doors which are a carryover from the GT8.
There’s even more motorsport goodness under the skin. The engine is the same 4.7-litre naturally aspirated V8 as found in the GT4 racer, only with the wick turned up to 507hp which, at the time, was the most powerful eight-cylinder Aston ever made. The rose-jointed suspension was pinched from the GT4 car, too, as was the seven-speed, single-clutch Sportshift gearbox. This really is a greatest-hits compilation of Aston Martin GT racers, wrapped up into the most capable Vantage in existence short of a slick-clad endurance machine. It’s just a shame they could only be used on track days and the Aston Martin Festival race at Le Mans.
Well, that’s the case for six of them. This example is said to be the only road-legal AMR Pro on the planet, meaning someone has paid a huge amount of money on top of the million-pound cost of entry to use their track special as a runabout. Presumably, it was only ever used for the milk run, as it’s covered just 117 miles over a six-year period. The good news (for the buyer at least) is that it can be had at a mega discount, as it’s listed at £649,950; almost a third off its original value. And that doesn’t take into account the cost of converting it for road use. There’s little point in sitting on it in the hope its value will increase, then, so you might as well take it to your favourite B road and use it in the way it wasn’t intended...
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