Charity auction offering hot lap in Vulcan

By Catherine Pattison on Sun, 23 Apr 2017 | Latest News
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The top bidder at the CatWalk Trust's fundraising event in Queenstown next Saturday will be in the passenger seat of the Aston Martin Vulcan for some hot laps at the Highlands 501 in November. Photo: Supplied

What are your chances of owning a $4.2 million hand-built Aston Martin Vulcan? If fairly minimal to non-existent is your answer, then the CatWalk Trust has the next best option, the chance to bid for a ride in Highlands Motorsport Park owner Tony Quinn's limited edition track-only Vulcan supercar.

This petrol-head's dream item will be on offer at the CatWalk Trust's fundraising event, next Saturday at the AJ Hackett Bungy Centre in Queenstown. The trust will also be accepting absentee and live phone bids.

Trust founder Catriona Williams said the experience was sure to appeal to those who have a ‘‘need for speed''.

‘‘Our mission is to find a cure for SCI [spinal cord injury] by accelerating research funding. Since the Vulcan can do 0-100[kmh] in just three seconds, we'd say there's an appropriate connection there.''

One of only 24 Vulcans built, the 7-litre V12 carbon fibre vehicle has a top speed of more than 320kmh.

The last Vulcan experience given to charity was auctioned off by the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, where it fetched $26,000.

‘‘If we can get anything near that, we'll be over the moon,'' Williams said.

Quinn, whose car collection also includes a McLaren MP4 12C, a Lamborghini Huracan, a Porsche 911 and an Aston Martin Vantage GT3, said that he was only too happy to offer up the ‘‘only Vulcan in the southern hemisphere, and probably the most expensive production car currently in the South Island'' for a worthy cause.

‘‘Catastrophic accidents causing spinal cord injuries are an ever-present threat in motorsport, so we think it's fantastic to be able to partner with the CatWalk Trust to offer this.''

‘‘It's a work of art. But what's the point in having a car like the Vulcan if I can't do some good with it?'' he said.

The laps come as part of a VIP package for the newly formatted Highlands 501 race event, to be held at the Cromwell racetrack on November 11 and 12.

This year will see a change in the two Australian GT races that are held in New Zealand. The Hampton Downs 101-lap race will become a 500km race over the October 28 and 29 weekend, while the Highlands 101, a fortnight later, will be raced over 501km, combining distances to create the New Zealand 1001. 

‘‘The 101 brand has been a huge success but next year we're going bigger and better with the New Zealand 1001,'' Quinn said.

‘‘We've been doing the 101 in Highlands for four years now so the teams have got used to the strategy. I like to keep moving the bar and I like to challenge people and this will certainly shake things up in the Australian GT Championship.''

The new format will add about 20 laps to each race and means there will be a third pitstop and two driver changes, which will force a change in strategy for the teams.

‘‘It will also have implications for tyres and fuel and we're getting rid of the compulsory timed pit stops which were used to handicap the faster drivers. It will be a true endurance test,'' Quinn said.