The name of the first V8 Vantage to officially enter a race, Rose, is perhaps the most famous nickname any Aston Martin has received to date. Save Coal Scuttle, maybe.
Aston Martin decided to use a car directly derived from the road going V8 Vantage to prove its racing abilities entering the Nürburgring 24h race.
For this task they used one of the last pre-series test units. This Vantage, with license plate CP 025 is internally nicknamed as “Rose” and was registered back in April 2004.
Roses name has its roots in the English folk tradition, where “English Rose” refers to a beautiful young English lady, who is also sophisticated, small and plump; all characteristics that perfectly suit the V8 Vantage. This expression was coined by Basil Hood in 1902 in his comedy opera Merrie England.
To make it raceworthy, Rose received the mandatory safety equipment required by the 24h of Nürburgring regulations, which included a full racing roll cage, racing fuel tank and extinguishing system.
The responsible team spent most of their working hours on weight reduction, managing to lighten the car by a surprising 220kg. To achieve this, the whole interior was stripped down, replacing the seats with a single Recaro Pole Position baquet and the glass windows with polycarbonate ones. Attention to detail was such that the whole electrical harness was modified in order to save valuable kg. Even the side strakes, which weigh 800g in the street car were replaced by new carbon fiber ones with a weight of 85gr. All this summed up to stop the scale at just 1350kg.
Similarly, to increase the engine performance from 385hp to 410hp, special attention was paid to lightening and balancing all the internals. In addition, the cylinder heads were skimmed, a less restrictive exhaust system was used and the electronic control unit maps were adapted to take full advantage of the modifications.
The N24 chassis behaviour received multiple compliments by the press, who praised its balance and ability to put the power to the ground. Responsible for that are the new Eibach springs, stiffer antiroll bars and Bilstein dampers adjustable in height and stiffness.
Unlike most race cars, Rose uses a Graziano manual gearbox, directly inherited from the street car, although the clutch in this car is made of a carboceramic composite material and it uses a lighter flywheel.
During the second weekend of June 2006, Rose finally took part in the 24h of Nürburgring. That same weekend the Aston Martin DBR9 was attempting to dominate the 24h of Le Mans in GT1 category.
Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez sat at the wheel accompanied by Chris Porritt (Director of Engineering at AM), Horst von Saurma (Sport Auto editor) and the AM test driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer. Among the 220 teams entering the event, they managed 4th place in their category and twenty-fourth overall.
A month later, on July 18, 2006, during the British Motor Show in London, Aston Martin made public their intention to produce 24 road legal cars with the same specifications as the car that entered the Nürburgring 24h.
AM built 15 of the 24 planned V8 Vantage N24 in Gaydon. These cars, all with manual transmission, were given chassis numbers N240001 to N240015 (chassis number N240013 was never built).
By that time Prodrive was the owner of the production rights of Aston Martin racing cars, therefore production of the N24 was moved to the Prodrive plant in Banbury, where 39 additional N24s were built, with chassis numbers N24S001 to N24S039. 27 cars used the sportshift gearbox and 12 were manuals.
Remember the Stelvio Top Gear video? James May drives one of those.
The V8 Vantage N24 is approved for entering the German VLN championship (including the Nürburgring 24h) as well as the Aston Martin Asia Cup, FIA GT4 European Cup, Britcar Series, Australian GT championship, Grand-Am in the US and the Dutch Supercar Challenge.
Today Rose still belongs to Aston Martin. In 2013 it was part of the special 100 car exhibition made to celebrate Aston Martins centenary and in 2015 it went back to Nordschleife to celebrate 10 years since its appearance in the 24h of Nürburgring.