Organized as an annual event, the Gulf Speed Bolt is an initiative that brings the joys of motorsport closer to the Indian audience. Having run two successful events in Mumbai in the past, this year Gulf Oil decided to up the ante by bringing in the Aston Martin Vantage GTE Endurance Race car along with its driver, Stefan Mucke to unleash some havoc on the Buddh International Circuit.
While the Le Mans format of racing might not be too popular in India currently, the essence of motorsport is definitely on the rise thanks to the advent of Formula One in the country. Regardless, the celebration of speed is always a welcome affair and watching a car such as the Aston Martin Vantage GTE let loose on a racing track is a sight worth its money.
The car itself is a piece of work and boasts of being the most powerful car in its class of racing. Painted in the same iconic light blue and orange color scheme that is synonymous with Gulf Oil, racing and heralds back to the legendary Ford GT40 and Porsche 917, the Aston Martin Vantage GTE boasts of going from 0-100 km/h in a shade under 3 seconds and can attain a top speed of 300km/h. At the heart of the GTE is the road going Aston Martin V8 Vantage which includes the 4.5 litre V8 engine as well however the GTE, as expected, boasts of significant modifications to the engine, gearbox and chassis.
Now, it’s not everyday that you get the chance to sit in a racing car on a racetrack and go for a spin with the very driver that piloted the car to a podium finish at the 24 Endurance Race in Le Mans in June this year and for most enthusiasts, just the sight of the Aston Martin Vantage GTE would have been enough to get their adrenaline rush, however this wasn’t just about being a spectator event and a handful of mortals, including yours truly, got the chance to gear up and sit with Stefan for a hot lap out at the Buddh.
Getting my six foot two inch frame into the rather compact confines of the GTE was a task in itself, however, once inside and snuggly fitted, Stefan exchanged a few confidence inspiring words and unleashed the beast on the tarmac! The sheer acceleration, precision braking and the subsequent acceleration as we came out of the corners was an exhilarating affair. I was silently glad that the fit was so snug otherwise I fear that I would have been tossed all around in the car. The ride in the Aston Martin Vantage GTE could best be described as the ultimate roller coaster ride for it felt as though the car was making its way around the track as if it was on rails.
Stefan, on the other hand, admitted that he couldn’t get enough of driving on the Buddh International Circuit and was having a blast doing lap after lap. The entire ride only lasted two minutes and a few seconds and we managed to hit a top speed of 250 km/h on the back straight, but the memory, which remains rather vivid, is destined to last for ever.