Aston Martin will be widely represented in the first qualifying sessions ahead of the Nürburgring 24-hour race – one of the most renowned endurance tests in motorsport – spearheaded by a race prepared version of the British marque’s new four-door sports car; Rapide and a V12 Vantage with aerodynamic enhancements based on the hugely successful road car.
Driving the Rapide will be Aston Martin’s CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez who will be joined by journalist Matthew Marsh (GB), the company’s Nürburgring Test Centre Director; Wolfgang Schuhbauer (D) and engineering manager; Chris Porritt (GB).
The V12 Vantage will be piloted by experienced sports car drivers Peter Cate (GB), Oliver Mathai (D), journalist Richard Meaden (GB) and Chris Porritt, who will undertake stints in both the Rapide and V12 Vantage entries.
Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, David King said: “This is our fifth consecutive year at the Nürburgring 24-hour race and it is remarkable to see how the manufacturer interest has grown as well as the pace and intensity of the racing.
“This year looks like being the toughest ever, particularly given the forecast of cold and wet weather throughout the race. However, we feel well prepared and we are ready for the challenge.”
The Rapide race car will be close to production standard with full FIA race safety modifications, interior trim removed to reduce weight, re-tuned suspension and will run on slick tyres designed for track use.
Based on the British marque’s hugely successful V12 Vantage road car and the near production standard race variant that secured a convincing class victory in the race in 2009, the V12 Vantage adds new aerodynamic enhancements to the original car which saw off a field of largely specialist race cars in the SP8 class last year. The car is intended as a technical exercise to allow the Aston Martin engineering team to explore further performance potential in the V12 Vantage with the new aerodynamic aids providing greater downforce through the Nürburgring’s myriad of corners and undulating surfaces.
The revised V12 Vantage has been tested in a limited number of exploratory sessions over the past few weeks in the UK and Germany but the Nürburgring 24-hour race will subject the car to a first major endurance test and provide further valuable learning for the Aston Martin engineering team.
The two factory entries will be joined by a number of customer entries who will also undertake qualifying today, adding to a strong Aston Martin presence.
Following a practice session this morning (Thursday), a night qualifying session starts at 17.15 CET. A further daytime qualifying session follows on Friday at 12.45 CET before the 38th ADAC Nürburgring 24-hour race begins at 15.00 CET on 15 May 2010.