What’s the best way to shake off the “old money” feel of an Aston Martin? Why, it’s to make an Aston Martin Vantage into a twin-turbo V12 drift machine, of course, and that’s precisely what Darren Kelly created for the 2022 Formula Drift season.
To say that 2022 is a great year for drift cars would be an understatement since we’ve got the new GR86 joining the Supra while borrowing its B58, as well as an updated Corolla with the new GR look. But there’s nothing quite like an exotic car going sideways, is there?!
Kelly may be a newcomer in the FD scene, but he’s a 3-time D1NZ champion, in 2015, 2019, and 2021. And it was clear he could handle his unusual sideways machine quite well. We have seen V12-powered drift cars in the past, mostly revolving around Ferrari’s screaming engines with a Lamborghini Murcielago RWD conversion as an exception. But this particular Aston feels fresh.
It’s the Vantage, Aston’s smaller sports car that usually draws its power from a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 of German making (AMG). Aston does have a V12 version that’s not yet in production. From what we understand, the car built by The Heart of Racing has something similar to the Vulcan N/A V12 and not the modified 5.2-liter like the one in the DB11.
However, last time we checked, that doesn’t have twin superchargers under its hood. Yes, you read that right. Twin superchargers, not turbochargers. Everything about this Vantage just screams “all the other drifters are plebs.”
With the front clip removed, you can see just how extreme the 850 horsepower engine looks, but there are obviously other mods. The suspension has been completely redesigned with wider tracks and more aggressive steering angles.
Drift cars also get bumped around a lot during the year of competition, so the bumpers and lights are supported by a strong frame and are easier to swap out. Of course, all sorts of chassis alterations have been hidden under that relatively clean bodywork.
New Zealand rookie Darren Kelly and his Aston were stars of the show. However, there were plenty of other Formula Drift highlights at the start of the 2022 season. Adam LZ transferred to an RTR Motorsports Mustang, Taylor Hull switched to a C6 Corvette, Joao Barion ran a C8 Corvette, Ken Gushi stepped up to a GR Supra, and Jonathan Hurst switched to BMW.
Big hat tip to the best Formula Drift photographer of all time, Larry Chen.