Inside an Aston Martin DB11 prototype: test drivers’ rulebook revealed

Published: 22 September 2015

► Spyshot spills details of Aston Martin prototype
► Engineers’ rulebook laid bare in ‘DB11’
► Full list of do’s and don’ts for test drivers

We recently caught the new 2016 Aston Martin DB11 on test in Europe and our exclusive photos proved that the Brits are turbocharging the V8 and the V12 bound for the DB9 replacement.

But there was another small detail that caught our eye: this list of instructions taped to the dashboard - the handbook used by all test drivers and engineers working on Aston Martin prototypes.

It’s a rulebook with the do’s and don’ts of driving secret prototypes for a living, affording an unusual look at the working life of validation engineers on VX500 X1 (the internal codename for what we’re loosely calling the ‘DB11’). 

Did you know that they’re supposed to get the cars dirty and keep ‘em dirty? That airbags are disabled in test mules? Or that they’re supposed to drive at night where possible? Read on for the full rulebook to see the instructions given to all Aston Martin engineers taking cars out on test.

The Aston Martin engineers’ secret prototype handbook

The 'Bible' for prototype test drivers and engineers: Aston Martin's test hack rulebook

Please read before operating VH500 X1 vehicle

Powertrain calibration and emergency electronic throttle kill switch
In an emergency depress the electronic throttle kill switch button (red button on waterfall panel) to cut power to the electronic throttles and reduce engine torque to a controllable level

Dynamics
Please note the vehicle has a non-optimised suspension and tyre configuration

Traction and stability control
Please note traction stability control software is not active on this vehicle

Front restraint system
Please note that the frontal restraint systems, including airbags, are NOT functional on this vehicle

Daily checks
Please ensure the VH5 X1 specific daily checks have been carried out prior to use

Vehicle guidelines

  • Road use minimum - request for night driving where possible
  • Transported in covered transporter to test locations as much as possible
  • No external instrumentation on road usage cars
  • Get cars dirty and keep dirty
  • Cars with additional air in holes front bumper [sic] to keep covered where being used on road (or public)
  • No parking in public places and cover IP [instrument panel] centre stack with supplied camo
  • No stopping on public roads or lay-bys
  • No public fuel stations
  • Not to be accompanied by other AM [Aston Martin] cars on roads
  • If driving on road, no Aston Martin workwear to be worn

For further details, please refer to the Vehicle Usage notes and bump pack, which should be with the vehicle

Click here to read more about how car makers disguise their cars.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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