There are plenty of cars out there that can be considered, in the loosest possible sense, a ‘race car for the road’. It’s an age-old cliché often attached to things like the Ferrari 488 Pista and Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series because they share some design similarities with their racing counterparts, and are a right pain to run as a daily driver. But really, they’re still road cars at heart, albeit with power and weight-saving measures dialled up to eleven.
For most people, that’s about as hardcore as a road car should be, which is why manufacturers seldom convert their actual racing machines for public use. And when they do, the results are usually mixed. Most GT1 homologation specials of the era, such as the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR and Porsche 911 GT1, were essentially Le Mans prototypes with indicators. Incredible motorsport mementos to have in one’s collection, but reserved for the bravest – and most tolerant - of affluent car collectors. So if a 911 GT3 RS sounds a bit soft and you lack the many millions needed for an old road-going GT1 car, this Aston Martin Vantage N24 ought to be right up your street.
Unlike the aforementioned GT1 machines, which were at least treated to some creature comforts, the Vantage N24 is quite literally a racing car adapted for road use. This particular example started life as one of the 14 initial examples produced by Aston Martin Special Vehicle Operations. While ten of those cars would go on to race all manner of endurance races across the globe, like the Nürburgring 24 Hours (hence the name), four of the initial batch were said to have been converted to road use.
Admittedly, it doesn’t look like much work was done to earn those number plates. To gain Individual Vehicle Approval (i.e. make it road-legal), N24s were fitted with a handbrake, indicators, a horn, a fuel flow restrictor and number plate lights. The catalytic converters were also tweaked to stop windows from shattering when you pottered through a sleepy village. And that’s about it. You still get the same 4.3-litre naturally aspirated race engine developing 416hp – 30hp more than the road car. It also comes with adjustable dampers, racing brakes, heftier anti-roll bars and a reworked subframe to unlock the crazy camber angles needed for motorsport use. Despite all the racing mods, it still comes with a proper six-speed manual gearbox – not a fancy sequential ‘box you normally find on endurance racers.
While it was built as a road-going version, this N24 has seen some motorsport action with appearances at Aston Martin Owner’s Club and GT4 Challenge races, including an entry at the Aston Martin Festival one-hour race at Le Mans in 2012. With this N24 being nearly identical the full race-spec cars, it’s also eligible for a host of championships across the UK and Europe. Best of all, you could drive to the racetrack, compete, and drive back home again all in the same car (although probably not the same tyres).
If you do feel like scratching the motorsport itch (we all get it at some point), then rest assured that the car comes with a “comprehensive spares package” including wheels, exhaust and suspension components plus a bunch of other running essentials. All included in the £89,950 asking price. All that’s left for you to do is invest in some Nomex overalls and lid, and find the time to book an ARDS test...
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