The striking new Aston Martin DBR22 speedster is an ultra-exclusive and highly strung tribute to the firm's legendary 1950s race cars, built to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the company’s bespoke division, Q by Aston Martin.
The DBR22 design concept, which is making its public debut at Monterey Car Week in California, is the latest in a line of radical, low-volume V12 creations out of Gaydon’s Q branch, following the likes of the Vulcan, Vantage V600 and one-off Victor.
Over the past decade, Q has evolved into an integral part of Aston’s operations, handling not just the launch of high-margin halo cars such as these but also add-ons for standard Aston models through Q Collection and enhanced personalisation opportunities through Q Commission.
Aston has called the DBR22 “a perfect celebration” of the division’s potential, in that it blends traditional coachbuilding practices with “cutting-edge” manufacturing technology in a package that is at once one of Aston’s most powerful cars and one of its rarest.
It’s understood that the firm will build 10 examples of the final production car (one for each year since Q was formed), priced at around £1.5 million apiece.
As with other bespoke Q cars, the DBR22 is a radically different design proposition from Aston’s series-production cars, wearing a retro-inspired new look heavily influenced by the 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1 and the earlier DB3S.
Defining features include the aerodynamics-boosting twin nacelles on the rear deck, a new-shape front grille with carbonfibre vanes, bespoke 14-spoke 22in centre-locking alloy wheels and a wraparound tail-light bar, all of which ensure this latest open-top two-seater is easily told apart from the closely related V12 Speedster that Aston launched last year.
Like that car, it’s powered by Aston’s twin-turbocharged 5.2-litre V12. In this application, the engine is tuned to make 705bhp and 555lb ft, which is sent to the rear axle via a uniquely calibrated eight-speed automatic gearbox, propelling the DBR22 from 0-62mph in 3.4sec and on to a top speed of 198mph.
Aston highlighted: “With nothing but the slipstream between the driver and this epic engine’s unforgettable 12-cylinder howl, the DBR22 promises to be an intense sensory stimulation.”
The cockpit is a similarly bespoke affair. There’s a unique dashboard housing two digital displays; a pair of carbonfibre, race-style bucket seats, each available in a vast array of materials and colours; and liberal deployment of exposed carbonfibre throughout.
Despite this, Aston says the DBR22 isn’t a “bare-bones racer”, although it is said to be “an absolute pleasure to drive on road or race track”.
Marek Reichman, Aston’s chief creative officer, described the design ethos behind the DBR22: “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.”
Reichman also hinted that some design cues exhibited here could be applied to other Aston models in the future.
“The DBR22 is a hot-blooded, pure-bred 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,” he said.