To highlight its year-long centenary celebration, one of the world's most successful manufacturers of high-performance street and racing cars took the wraps off of its latest creation over the weekend at the Nürburgring circuit in Germany. Guest of honor at the annual ADAC Zurich 24 Hours enduro held on the fabled 12.8-mile Nordschleife circuit, the Aston Martin CC100 Speedster Concept is a stunning one-off intended to both recall Aston's storied 100-year heritage and offer a preview of what's to come. One glance confirms that it accomplished that dual-phase task in an elegantly timeless manner.
Transitioning the CC100 Speedster Concept from inspired idea to finished and fully drivable -- albeit far from optimized -- one-off took less than six months. The exterior pays visual homage to the original and incredibly successful DBR1 model which triumphed at a 1,000-kilometer Nürburgring race in 1959 and went on to take the automaker's first win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in that same year en route to clinching its one and only World Sportscar Championship title.
Rendered in lightweight carbon fiber, Aston's Chief Exterior Designer Miles Nurnberger says the CC100 Speedster's bodywork reveals "teasing glimpses of potential future design direction" for its upcoming street cars. That rethinking process reportedly is most evident in this striking concept's evolutionary recasting of the classic Aston Martin grille shape, prominent, fully integrated side strakes and a bolder rear fascia treatment. While its see-through cutaway doors, split cockpit and double-buttress decklid do foster a racier look, they're less likely to be reprised on any production models.
Based on a dedicated evolution of the automaker's "VH" platform architecture that underpins all its current road cars, the CC100 Speedster is fitted with a naturally aspirated version of Aston's AM11 5.9-liter V12 backed by a paddle-shiftable 6-speed automated manual transmission. While output was not specified -- which means it could be anywhere from Vantage-spec 510 to Vanquish-spec 565 horsepower -- the CC100 Spyder Concept can sprint from 0-60 mph in 4.0 seconds and has an electronically limited top sped of 180 mph.
The cabin of the CC100 Speedster also displays a neo-retro character that matches modern carbon fiber construction with classic leather and Alcantara detailing on the car's lightweight racing buckets. A flat-bottom steering wheel overlooks the CC100's full digital instrument cluster while a competition-style center stack holds Aston's modern crystal ignition key and presides over an array of transmission mode buttons and old-school toggle switches for the lights and supplemental functions.
To ensure the car's first on-track exhibition appearance proved as memorable as its static reveal, the CC100 Concept was driven on a parade lap around the circuit by the company's CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez, as part of a contingent of 100+ Aston Martin vehicles. Included in that group was 1959 Nürburgring winner Sir Stirling Moss behind the wheel of the DBR1 racer that served as the CC100's inspiration.
At the intro, Bez noted: "CC100 is the epitome of everything that is great about Aston Martin. It represents our fantastic sporting heritage, our exceptional design capability, our superb engineering know-how and, above all, our adventurous spirit! The future of Aston Martin is, very clearly, more exciting now than perhaps at any time in its history and I'm looking forward to seeing the excitement and anticipation the CC100 creates among Aston Martin owners and enthusiasts worldwide."
While Aston Martin's best finish in what turned into a rain-plagued 24-hour enduro was from the factory GT3 V12 Vantage that notched 10th overall, the automaker did manage to set another historic record during the official competition. Bez drove the automaker's experimental Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S entry for nearly two laps on pure hydrogen, making it the first car to ever run at race speed in zero-emissions mode while participating in an FIA-sanctioned event. Once its hydrogen tank was depleted, the one-off Rapide S successfully completed the rest of the race with its twin-turbocharged V12 running on gasoline.
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