Generally speaking, the French Rally Championship is run on tarmac (unlike the loose surfaces that we are more used to in the UK) and the GT class is ideal for the Porsche 911 GT3 for example. On it’s debut in the hands of Subaru rally driver and AMR works driver Stephane Sarrazin with co-driver Stephane Prevot, managed a 2nd place in the Series GT class.
The car had been prepared by Prodrive in Britain and financed by the motorsport enthusiast Frederic Dor. Of course, Prodrive, who essentially run Aston Martin Racing have over 20 years experience in the world of rallying with such cars as the WRC Subarus for example. I took these pictures whilst the car was displayed in the Silverstone paddock during the FIA GT race in May 2006.
Such was the success of the prototype, Prodrive started offering the the Rally GT for sale under the banner of ‘The most exclusive rally car in the world’. The production Rally GT was extensively re-engineered from a standard production V8 Vantage 4.3 to which is added a roll cage for safety and increased torsional rigidity. Whilst the engine was based on the all alloy road car 4.3 litre V8 unit, it was tuned to make it more flexible and responsive for the demands of rallying with a power output of 420 bhp. The suspension on the Rally GT carried over the road car’s wishbones, but had new competition Eibach springs and three-way adjustable EXE-TC dampers. The standard road car transmission was also retained on the rally car, but this could be upgraded to a six-speed, close ratio dog engagement gearbox, developed specifically for the Rally GT.
The Rally GT was successfully demonstrated during the 2006 Race of Champions held during December at the Stade de France in Paris at Race of Champions. Whilst it is believed that only 4 Rally GT’s were ever produced, Prodrive went on to develop a series of after-market upgrades for the V8 Vantage.