Some interesting fisticuffs over the GT3 name has emerged this afternoon.
Keen fast-car observers will have noticed that Aston Martin named its limited-run V12 Vantage, unveiled at the Geneva Motorshow, the ‘Vantage GT3’, and some of us wondered how the good people of Stuttgart would respond.
Not especially well, now you come to ask.
It seems the lawyers have been in discussion for a few months now. According to an Aston Martin spokesperson, Porsche had claimed the GT3 name to be its own designation for road cars, whereas Aston claimed it was a racing category now, and it had also been used before Porsche placed it on the rump of a 996 GT3 back in 1999. Those who can recall the Esprit GT3, pat yourselves on the back now; those who recall the Bentley Continental GT3 R go easy on the self-congratulations, we only drove it two weeks ago.
Matters have now been resolved and Aston Martin has decided not to waste valuable cash on litigation and instead opted to rename the car the Aston Martin Vantage GT12. To reinforce the message, the Aston Martin Vantage race car will also be known as the GT12 from now on too.
It’s quite rare for a car that has already been revealed to the public and sold out to have a name change so late in the process, but that’s the way of trademarks and names and identities. If it appears a little churlish on Porsche’s part, just think how much time and money it has invested in the GT3 brand since ’99. It can probably be forgiven for protecting what it views as a core piece of its performance DNA.
But I quite like the name GT12, and frankly I couldn’t really care what they called the thing. What matters is that Aston has built a road going version of its race car, given it 600hp and a chin splitter to die for. All 100 cars are sold, and I cannot believe someone would cancel an order because the name had changed.
Which leaves just one question. Did anyone at Bentley ask Porsche if it could use the GT3R name and, if not, just how big was the argument when the first pictures of the Bentley were revealed?