Aston Martin’s CC100 concept car celebrates the UK company’s centenary but also looks forward to what we can expect in the future
When you’re a 100 years old, you deserve to celebrate and one of the world’s most famous and iconic automobile marques, Aston Martin, has done that this year in the most outrageous way. The British manufacturer marked its centenary with the CC100 concept car – not at an international motor show but by lapping the world famous Nordschleife motor racing circuit in Germany.
Why here? The CC100 is inspired by the DBR1 endurance racing sports car of the late 1950s. That car won many races including several at the Nordschleife circuit – better known as the Nurburgring. It’s a 14-mile circuit winding its way round the rocks and trees of the Eifel Mountains, with every possible hazard thrown at the driver.
One of the winners of the Nordschleife 1000km race was Sir Stirling Moss, back in 1958 and 1959. And Sir Stirling, now 84 years old, was at the Nordschleife for the launch of the CC100, lapping alongside it in his original 1959 race-winning DBR1. Now that must have been some sight!
The lucky guy driving the 6.0-litre V12 powered CC100 was Aston Martin boss Dr Ulrich Bez. He said, “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!
“But this car is more, even, than a simple ‘birthday present’ to ourselves. It shows that the soul of Aston Martin – the thing that differentiates us from all the other car makers out there – is as powerful as ever.”
Dr Bez also hinted that the CC100 is a forerunner of a new design direction for Aston Martin sportscars – but that will depend on how potential buyers react. We suspect everyone will like the full width Aston Martin traditional grille and the headrests but not the lack of a windscreen.
The CC100 is a big car. It’s almost 4.5 metres long and 2 metres wide, which would make it a real handful on a public road and probably a bit tail-happy on the Nordschleife as well.
Although it’s big, it’s also very light thanks to a carbon fibre composite body and interior. The naturally aspirated V12 engine sits low in the frame for best handling and powers the rear wheels through a lightweight 6-speed sequential manual transmission, operated through paddle shift levers on the steering column. No definite weight and power figures have been released but that V12 makes 565bhp in Aston Martin’s Vanquish.
Just two performance claims have been released: 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds and a top speed limited to 180 mph.
Perhaps what’s most impressive is that it took Aston Martin’s ‘Skunkworks’ at its global HQ at Gaydon, UK less than six months to design and construct the CC100. The look of the CC100 is down to Design Director Marek Reichman working alongside Aston Martin’s Chief Exterior Designer Miles Nurnberger. The pair worked with Special Projects and Motorsport Director David King, and the composite bodyshell was made by an outside specialist, Multimatic Inc, who must have swallowed hard when the job came in.
Miles Nurnbreger said, “The brief was very simple, yet enormously testing. Create something that reflects the 100 years of Aston Martin heritage and signals the future of the brand.
“The idea of an iconic speedster concept that nodded to the winning cars of the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour and Nürburgring races soon came, and we had complete freedom to shape this car.” The 1959 DBR1 racing car clearly inspired the CC100 with the open cockpit, two seats, uninhibited driver vision, flowing exterior lines and smooth aerodynamic form. From early sketches, the team quickly moved onto making clay models – a process Aston Martin follows with all its cars. Working with clay allows each line to be shaped, each dimension measured precisely and it’s a lot easier to work out where things are going to go.
Once you go down the open-topped speedster route, you are merging the interior and exterior boundaries. The team wanted a lightweight, race car environment and the DBR1 again, inspired a slim dashboard with compact racing seats. Post-war aeronautical engineering also kicked in with the complex interior panelling and dynamic wing forms.
One of Aston Martin’s strengths has always been the finish of the interiors of its cars. They are ‘gentleman’s grand tourers’ after all, rather than out and out sportscars for boy-racers. So the racing seats are probably the most comfortable ever, clad in the finest Bridge of Weir leather and fitted with full safety harness. Glass control buttons and the same distinctive glass ECU starter match those found on Aston Martin production cars.
As a concept car, the CC100 wows. As a celebration of Aston Martin’s centenary, it’s also spectacular. But it’s also a reminder of those great years of racing, during the late 1950s, when the world’s most famous marques competed in the toughest races.
Aston Martin CC100
Top speed 180mph
0-60mph under 4s
Engine 5,935cc, 12-cylinder
Max power 565hp @ 6,750rpm
Max torque 620Nm @ 5,500rpm
Fuel Consumption n/a
Price not for sale