This September, Aston Martin’s newest limited-edition sports car, the DBR22, made its European debut at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille. This grand celebration of car design old and new has been held in the grounds of the Château de Chantilly since 2014. Coming just a month after the car was unveiled to the world at California’s Monterey Car Week, the event saw the DBR22 sweep the board at Chantilly, securing the Concours d’Élégance Award.

 

The Aston Martin DBR22 will start its very limited production run next year and promises to deliver a truly visceral driving experience for a select group of customers. Built to celebrate 10 years of bespoke projects from the Q by Aston Martin division, the acclaim the car received at Monterey and Chantilly is a vindication of Aston Martin’s decision to continue its long-running series of open-cockpit sports racers, a bloodline that dates back to the Le Mans-winning DBR1 and the DB3S of 1953. 

 

The DBR22 celebrates Aston Martin’s bloodline of open-cockpit sports cars, and is one of the marque’s rarest models

 

The latter arguably established Aston Martin’s sports car credentials on the track. It was superseded by the DBR1, an example of which was driven to victory at Le Mans in 1959 with Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori at the wheel. Pictured on the previous page with the DBR22, the DBR1 is one of the most beautiful racing cars ever created — pared back and functional yet undeniably graceful and even voluptuous. 

 

In the modern era, Aston Martin has created a number of high-profile, short-run interpretations of this classic racing arrangement; the front mid-engine, rear-wheel drive, open-cockpit, two-seater. The first to revisit this format was the Aston Martin CC100 concept, designed to celebrate the company’s centenary year in 2013. In the following decade, Aston Martin built the Vantage V12 Zagato, and the Vanquish Zagato Speedster in partnership with Zagato. These were followed by the ultra-extreme V12 Speedster, just 88 of which were hand-built at a new facility at Gaydon. 

 

Now the DBR22 continues the legacy. In visual terms, the DBR22 makes more explicit reference to Aston Martin’s design heritage than any other car designed in the Marek Reichman era. With all-new carbon fibre bodywork and Aston Martin’s highly potent V12 twin-turbo at its heart, the DBR22 is an accomplished performer: a peak power output of 715PS gives it a top speed of 198mph and the ability to sprint to 60mph in just 3.4 seconds.

 

In keeping with previous open-cockpit cars, the DBR22 has no windscreen, just a low-line wind deflector. Rear-view mirrors are mounted on carbon fibre arms, with the lightweight material contrasting with the bespoke green paint colour, developed in conjunction with Q by Aston Martin. From the front, the racing bloodline is made clear. An all-new grille incorporates bold carbon fibre elements, drawing direct visual inspiration from the DBR1 and DB3S. The front bonnet is defined by a deep horseshoe-shaped vent, which aids airflow to the 5.2-litre V12. 

 

The DBR22 celebrates Aston Martin’s bloodline of open-cockpit sports cars, and is one of the marque’s rarest models

 

The flowing bodywork culminates in the twin nacelles that taper away from each headrest — another element drawn from the functional form of the original racing cars. The result is a car that is simultaneously futuristic and also utterly representative of the qualities that define Aston Martin’s impressive sporting pedigree. 

 

“What was important to us in the design of DBR22 was to express a future in the here and now,” says Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer. “The jury at Chantilly clearly recognised our efforts to evolve the surfaces, proportions and shapes, and to break new ground with this car.”

 

The Q by Aston Martin approach to bespoke coachbuilding enabled Aston Martin’s design team to achieve an exceptional purity of form, with minimal body panels and exceptionally fluid surfacing. Innovations such as a 3D-printed rear subframe showcase one potential future for production techniques, giving Aston Martin a way to make limited-run components for one-off cars. Many of the key design elements are unique to DBR22, from the new 14-spoke design for the 21-inch alloy wheels, with their motorsport-derived centre-lock hub, to the slender rear LED light bar.

 

Inside, the DBR22’s cockpit is a harmonious fusion of classic and contemporary approaches. The all-new dashboard represents a new interior architecture for Aston Martin, pairing screen-based dials and displays with hand-machined metal components, unique carbon fibre detailing and hand-stitched leather surfaces. The carbon fibre performance seats cosset and envelop driver and passenger, even as they’re subjected to the sound and fury of the car scything through the air.

 

This story is an extract from an article featured in the AMXX issue of Aston Martin magazine, out now. If you're not already a subscriber, visit magazine.astonmartin.com/magazine-subscription so that you can read the full story.

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