It’s the most expensive car in New Zealand. The only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere. And one of only 24 of these ridiculously beautiful cars hand-crafted in the world.
And it’s in Cromwell, after Highlands Motorsport Park owner Tony Quinn bought a $4.2 million Aston Martin Vulcan to commemorate the three years since the race track opened its gates.
When he got his first glimpse of the 800hp, 7-litre V12 engined, all-carbon-fibre supercar earlier this week, Quinn – who owns a in Queenstown – was uncharacteristically quiet.
“Ohhhhh, it’s quite nice,” he eventually breathes, appreciatively eying the lustrous, stealthy, low-slung, luxury, track-only vehicle.
“It’s cool, isn’t it?” he asks the assembled media.
“Uh, yeah,” we agree in unison, to the understatement of the year.
Aston Martin’s Australia and New Zealand’s regional manager Kevin Wall sums up the Vulcan succinctly.
“It doesn’t get much more exclusive than this,” he says.
The Vulcan has a steering wheel sporting more buttons than a PlayStation console, rear lights that pop out like popsicle sticks and mind-boggling aerodynamics.
Highlands member Steve Lyttle explains its phenomenal downforce for the non-motoring minded.
“If you drove it at 190mph (305kmh), the suction to the ground would be so great that if you could drive it upside down in a tunnel, you would stick to the ceiling.”
Thanks to a severe weight-loss programme featuring strategically-placed carbon fibre and lightweight magnesium, it tips the scales at a svelte 1350kg.
But perhaps the Vulcan should have had a few more Weet-Bix for breakfast, as it didn’t quite have the energy to start on Thursday.
A flurry of calls to the United Kingdom, from whence it came, failed to illuminate the appropriate procedure to bring the technologically-evolved Vulcan to life.
Luckily, Quinn’s team had another day up their sleeves before Highlands opened its doors to the public today, where the Vulcan will take to the track for its maiden voyage at 10.30am.
Ten hot lap experiences were also made available for purchase at $5000 a pop.
Highlands’ chief operating officer Josie Spillane said all six of the rides that sold were bought by New Zealanders.
Two of the 10 were donated to the Halberg Trust and a local fundraiser for a family who lost their father in a helicopter accident, along with $1000 from each ticket donated to Cure Kids and Relay for Life.
Following its debut this weekend, the Vulcan will be on display for the public at the Highlands National Motorsport Museum until September 2016.
Quinn has long-term plans for his investment. It will head north eventually to his recently purchased Hampton Downs race track for a similar ride programme, then he hopes to entice fellow Vulcan owners to bring them to New Zealand to race.
“My intention is to get 10 to 15 of them to come to Hampton Downs or Highlands,” he said.
For a man who has an enviable stable of race cars with long names that begin with Mercedes, Mosler and Lamborghini, is the Aston Martin the absolute coolest?
“I’d be a ***** if I said it wasn’t,” Quinn said, laughing.
Last June, he ditched the Race to the Sky hill climb saying he wouldn’t be “”.
Otago Daily Times