(from Aston Martin
Press Release) ASTON MARTIN V12 ZAGATO READY FOR ULTIMATE
• Two new Aston
Martin V12 Zagatos entered in 24 hour race, just weeks after
being first unveiled
• Experienced driver line-up, led by Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich
• The V12 Zagatos are joined by an Aston Martin-entered V8
Vantage GT4 featuring Aston Martin Racing works driver Darren
Nürburgring 22 June
2011. This week Aston Martin is putting the final touches to its
race preparations in readiness for the toughest 24 hour race of them
all – the annual ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours on 25 and 26 June where a
brace of new Aston Martin V12 Zagatos will compete.
This weekend marks the next step of an ambitious project which began
when the V12 Zagato was unveiled at the Concorso D’Eleganza at Villa
D’Este in May this year, winning the Design award for Concepts and
Prototypes. The show car was then transformed into the number 3 race
car, nicknamed ‘Zag’ (red) and will be piloted in the 24 hour race
by Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez, the company’s Nürburgring Test
Centre Director, Wolfgang Schuhbauer and automotive journalists
Horst von Saurma and Matthew Marsh.
In addition, a green V12 Zagato (nicknamed ‘Zig’) - car number 5 for
the race - was prepared by the small team based at Aston Martin’s
global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire. Zig will be driven by
One-77 Chief Engineer Chris Porritt, experienced sports car driver
Oliver Mathai, automotive journalist Richard Meaden and experienced
amateur racer Peter Cate.
Joining the Zagatos will be a V8 Vantage GT4 affectionately
nicknamed ‘Smurf’ (now orange but formally blue) which will be
driven by Aston Martin Racing works driver, Darren Turner,
journalist and experienced 24 hour driver, Shinichi Katsura,
Australian racer Rob Thomson and seasoned Nürburgring pilot Jurgen
Three further customer team V8 Vantages will be competing over the
weekend bringing the Aston Martin presence in the race up to six
cars with Mathol Racing (#62), Bratke Motorsport Team – AVIA (#85)
and Team Pflanz (#75) driving Vantage GT4s in the SP10 class.
Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, David King said: “Our entries
this year extend our Nürburgring racing philosophy. For five years
now we have signed-off our new products by entering a car which is
as close to the road car as possible and subjecting it to the
toughest 24 hour test on what best simulates the extremities of
public roads. This year we go a step further by testing a car at
“As ever, the race will present an enormous challenge in a vast and
increasingly competitive field which will be fraught with all the
unpredictable elements associated with racing at the Nürburgring.
However, we are excited by the potential we have seen from the V12
Zagato in the testing we’ve completed and that gives us great hope
for the task ahead. We look forward to a safe, successful and
enjoyable race for our teams and customers.”
Aston Martin’s presence at the Nürburgring marks the sixth
successive time factory engineers complete a product sign-off test
in what has been dubbed ‘the toughest 24 hour race’ under public
scrutiny. Since 2006, the marque has used the race to prove the
reliability and durability of its new models – first for V8 Vantage
itself, then the new SportshiftTM transmission in 2007, the 4.7
litre engine V8 Vantage in 2008, the V12 Vantage in 2009, the
four-door Rapide in 2010, and now, rather more ambitiously, for the
first major test of a new concept car – the Aston Martin V12 Zagato.
In addition to this year’s race, Aston Martin’s American team has
joined forces with Road & Track magazine to run a standard road
specification Rapide at Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch in the
USA for the same 24 hours as the European team at the Nürburgring.
The endurance test echoes last year’s Nordschleife attempt where a
near standard four-door Rapide with a production six-speed automatic
transmission successfully completed the 24 hour race, finishing
third in class.
At the Nürburgring the roofs of both V12 Zagatos will be sporting a
‘Heart for Japan’ dedication as part of Aston Martin’s support for
the Tsunami victims of Japan. In May, Dr. Bez auctioned his company
Rapide raising £100,000. During the build up to this year's 24 hours
Dr. Bez will hand the cheque to Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda and their
Donation Fund for Employees in the Affected Disaster Area charity.
The 39th ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hour race starts at 4pm CET on Saturday
25 June – live updates are available by following @astonmartin on
Twitter and live commentary will be broadcast via Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com)
ASTON MARTINS PASS ULTIMATE
NÜRBURGRING DURABILITY TEST
Aston Martin’s three
factory-backed entries in the 39th ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hour race –
including two new V12 Zagato concept cars – have overcome a series
of challenges to all successfully complete the ultimate endurance
test in Germany, observed by some 200,000 spectators.
As the chequered flag fell at 16.00 CET this afternoon, Aston
Martin’s number 5 V12 Zagato took 5th place in the SP8 class with
sister car, the number 3 V12 Zagato finishing 6th. In the SP10
class, a factory-backed V8 Vantage N24 raced to 5th place, but the
final positions do not tell the full story of the typically
incident-packed Nürburgring 24 Hour.
Aston Martin’s twin V12 Zagato entry marked the next step of an
ambitious project which began when the car was premiered at the
Concorso D’Eleganza at Villa D’Este in May this year, winning the
Design award for Concepts and Prototypes. The show car was then
transformed into the number 3 race car, nicknamed ‘Zag’ (red livery)
while in parallel, a sister car – number 5, nicknamed ‘Zig’ (green
livery) was built.
The intention to enter the new V12 Zagatos in this year’s race
offered an extension of the company’s philosophy of signing-off new
products by entering a car which is as close to the road car as
possible and publically subjecting it to the toughest 24 hour test,
by entering a car in prototype form.
Speaking after crossing the finish line in the red V12 Zagato, Aston
Martin CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez said: “All our cars finished today, and
two out of the three customer teams also crossed the line. This
includes two brand new cars which we launched only four weeks ago.
“With a little more luck we could have finished higher up the order,
but finishing first wasn’t the goal, we aimed to have the cars
running at the end – I am really pleased with the team who did such
a great job keeping the cars running throughout.”
Of Aston Martin’s customer team entries, Team Pflanz managed a 7th
place finish in SP10 GT4 while Bratke Motorsport finished 7th in
SP8. Special thought is reserved for Mathol Racing who endured an
agonising finish to the 24 hours having dominated SP10 GT4 remaining
in first place for the vast majority of the race only to be forced
to retire with little over one hour remaining.
Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, David King said: “We came here
with two concept cars and the aim of finishing the 24 hours as the
ultimate test for the V12 Zagato and we’ve achieved that.
“I’m immensely proud of the team – as ever they have represented
Aston Martin in the right way; staying calm under pressure, acting
professionally and quickly solving problems when they arose.”
In parallel with events in Germany, Aston Martin’s Americas team
joined forces with Road & Track magazine to run a standard road
specification Rapide at Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch in
Despite extreme temperatures in the Nevada desert, the four-door
Rapide has covered over 1,300 miles in the 24 hours endurance run,
demonstrating the durability of the standard production sports car
while raising money for charity. The drive, held concurrently with
Aston Martin’s participation at the Nürburgring, saw a total of nine
drivers from Aston Martin and Road & Track magazine complete nearly
Two 24 hour challenges on either side of The Atlantic were not the
only Aston Martins in racing action this weekend as the 4th round of
the Vantage GT4 Challenge took place at Donington.
In a closely fought race which was only decided in the final closing
laps, Stuart Hall in the number 91 Vantage GT4 crossed the line in
1st place after a thrilling battle. The Stratton Motor Company team
with drivers Hall, Tiffany Chittenden and Chris Kemp qualified in
2nd on the grid in yesterday's session. Second to pass the chequered
flag was Generation AMR with drivers Richard Abra and Mark Poole.
Also clinching a podium was Vantage Racing with drivers Tom Black
and Alan Bonner.
A full Donington race report will be published shortly. The fifth
round of the GT4 Challenge will take place in two weeks at Spa
Francorchamps on 8th and 9th July 2011.