What do the buyers of a $2.3-million Aston Martin Vulcan do with their prize? Until this week I figured each of its 24 owners likely kept their prize parked, rolling up future auction values rather than rolling up miles on the odometer. Turns out I was wrong. This past Monday and Tuesday eight of the buyers of the Vulcan — including drivers from the States, the U.K., Japan — were learning to push their supercar's limits at Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas. And they were really driving them: Each driver is mid-way through a three-year program, paired up with a personal driving coach who teaches them the ins and outs of their machine, which is essentially a luxed-up version of a GT3 or Le Mans GTE-spec racecar.
Over the din of nearly $19 million worth of Aston Martin V12s swarming around the F-1 circuit, Aston Martin Chief Engineer of Special Projects Fraser Dunn explained the unique nature of the project. "The premise of the Vulcan is more of a kind of journey for the customer than just a purchase," says Dunn. So the car was designed to be "ramped up" in capability as you learn it. The Vulcan has three power settings, ranging from a base 550 horsepower to full blast, at 820 horsepower — along with seven settings for traction and 11 for its ABS. "We want them to get a feel for the car beneath them, and understand what its handling's gonna be before they start really leaning into what it's truly capable of," Dunn says. "These aren't just collectors — these are guys who like to drive hard."
So while you may roll your eyes at the next multi-million dollar hypercar you see on the autoshow circuit, destined to gather dust in some oligarch's garage, this is just a reminder that some of those collectibles actually end up in the right hands. Vulcan drivers, we salute you!