The Ferrari 488 GTB is only target number one.
Fresh from revealing the DB11 and Vantage, development continues on Aston Martin’s mid-engined supercar, although it’s still a few years out. Aston Martin previously made clear it was benchmarking the Ferrari 488 GTB, but many also assumed the McLaren 720S was included as well. That’s not exactly the case. We spoke with Matt Becker, Aston Martin chief engineer of vehicle engineering, at Geneva and the status of the mid-engined supercar naturally came up.
“We’re benchmarking (Ferrari) 488 GTB and (McLaren) 720S and some other hypercars as well so that we can gauge the range the cars are capable of achieving. At the moment, we’re leaning more towards 488 because the 720S is like a whole other car. It lapped the Portimao circuit within half a second of the P1. You don’t want to develop a platform for one specific car whereas we want to look at the bandwidth that platform can deliver,” Becker said. “The 488 is where we’re heading right now. We don’t want to go too extreme too soon. We’re looking at a complete platform bandwidth and we don’t want to limit ourselves to one narrow plan. We want to look at the whole thing. Look at DB11 as an example.
“You’ve got the coupe, the convertible, a V8 and a V12. Its front engine setup shares commonality with Vantage and the upcoming new Vanquish super GT. You have to look at the commonalty of components you can use with a range of cars. We’re doing the same for mid-engine as well.” What Becker is saying, without using exact words, is that Aston Martin is working on a range of mid-engined supercars and the first one will be a direct Ferrari 488 GTB rival. Something a bit more extreme to combat the McLaren 720S will come afterwards. Why develop from scratch a state-of-the-art mid-engine platform for just a single model? Makes no business sense.
Becker, who spent nearly 27 years working and refining his engineering magic at Lotus, also told us he’s thrilled to be back working on something mid-engined once again. We’ll see the first result (of hopefully a few) in a couple years’ time.