Aston Martin’s factory entered V12 Vantage – modified only slightly for competition – has swept to a stunning debut class victory in the 37th Nürburgring 24 hour race, forming part of a double Aston Martin victory in the SP8 and SP10 classes.
The near production standard V12 Vantage – which finished in 21st place overall - saw off competition from a field of largely specialist race cars in the SP8 class to claim an impressive debut win. The British marque’s factory-supported Vantage N24 entries took first and second place in the SP10 class, with the number 9 car driven by Olaf Hoppelshäuser, Richard Karner, Alexander Kolb and Maximlian Wernndl just ahead of Aston Martin’s endurance race veteran, nicknamed ‘Rose’.
Belgian team Herreman Racing added to the success of the Vantage N24 finishing fourth in class after a fault-free run with brothers Arnold and Jean-Paul Herreman, Kurt Dujardyn and Anton Gohnissen at the wheel.
The result marks the company’s best achievement yet at the Nürburgring 24 hour race says Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez who formed part of the driver team in the V12 Vantage: “Just four years ago Aston Martin was not present in this race, so to now see so many Aston Martins racing here and so competitively is testament to our cars, our team and the faith of our customers who have supported the programme.
“For V12 Vantage we have demonstrated the reliability of our new car for all to see. I have said before that for me this race is the ultimate endurance test so for our new car to win the class on its debut and for our customer teams to perform so well amongst such respected competition is the perfect result for Aston Martin.”
Joining Dr Bez in Aston Martin’s V12 Vantage were Chris Porritt, representing the company’s engineering team, UK journalist Richard Meaden and experienced racing driver, Oliver Mathai. After qualifying fourth in the SP8 class, the team set about a conservative but progressive race strategy which saw them quickly establish the car in the podium positions before occupying second place in class into the evening. As morning broke and exhaustion prompted incidents elsewhere on the track, the team took the lead in SP8 – a position which would ultimately prove to be theirs for the final quarter of the race.
Chris Porritt said: “This is a fantastic debut for V12 Vantage. This race serves as the ultimate demonstration of the reliability of our cars in a very public test of endurance.
“The occasion is made all the more special by the exceptional team who are here running the car for us – the same people who create Aston Martins back at Gaydon.”
Driving ‘Rose’, the team of Aston Martin’s Nürburgring Engineering Centre Director and development driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer, German journalist Horst von Saurma and Japanese journalist Shin-ichi Katsura had cemented a fourth-place starting position in class after concluding qualifying on Friday afternoon. Amid frantic opening exchanges elsewhere on the track in the early stages of the race, the team remained focussed on a racing strategy which saw them in second place in SP10 as morning broke over the Eifel.
Wolfgang Schuhbauer said: “For me personally this has been one of my toughest ever races, but as a team we have succeeded. It is great to see the link between our work at the Engineering Centre here (at the Nürburgring), our road cars and our race programme stronger than ever.”
Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, David King added: “This is a tremendous effort from our team and our customer teams who have joined us here at the Nürburgring.
“The competition this year has been significantly tougher than ever before so to record another strong podium showing for Aston Martin for the second year in succession with near production-standard cars is quite an achievement.”
Dr Bez concluded: “This week as we launched the V12 Vantage to the world’s media we have proved the car’s ability on the road and we have ended it here at the Nürburgring by proving its ability on the track.”