Gaydon, 14 May 2013 - Aston Martin Racing will return to the Nordschleife next weekend (17-20 May) when it races its stunning Bilstein-liveried V12 Vantage GT3 in one of the most challenging and demanding endurance races in the world, the ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24 Hours (N24).
Aston Martin’s relationship with the Nordschleife is deep-rooted; it won the Nürburgring 1,000 km race in 1957, ’58 and ’59 and, as well as entering the 24-hour endurance race since 2006, the manufacturer has regularly taken part in the circuit’s own series, VLN. Further, many of its current sports cars have been developed and signed off on the legendary track.
This year, Aston Martin’s centenary, marks the brand’s most ambitious assault on the 25.9 km circuit to date. Aston Martin Racing is entering a V12 Vantage GT3 as it embarks on its most dedicated attempt yet to challenge for an N24 win.
Earlier this year, Aston Martin announced a racing partnership with leading damping and suspension specialist Bilstein, appointing it as primary technical partner for N24. The new agreement builds on the existing long-term relationship between the two companies – Bilstein dampers are fitted as standard to all Aston Martin road cars – and sees the companies working as a team on the N24 race programme and the iconic Bilstein branding applied to the V12 Vantage GT3.
Taking time out from the FIA World Endurance Championship – which the team is currently leading in both the GTE Pro and GTE am classes – Aston Martin Racing’s works drivers Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D), Allan Simonsen (DN) and Pedro Lamy (PT) will drive the Bilstein-sponsored car in the race that starts on Sunday 19 May.
David King, Director of Special Projects and Motorsport at Aston Martin, said: “This remarkable race, with more than 200 starters, has grown enormously in status since we first entered a nearly standard V8 Vantage back in 2006. It is fitting that our most ambitious and competitive entry yet coincides with our centenary year, but we face a tough challenge from more than 30 world-class GT3 entries, with the German sports car manufacturers in particular represented in force.
“Bilstein is a key long term partner of Aston Martin, and has contributed greatly to the success of our road cars, so to take this relationship onto the track as well is really special. I’m sure the stunning yellow and blue car will be a real favourite with the fans.”
The V12 Vantage GT3 was launched at the end of 2011 following an extensive design and development programme. Its success was proven when the car scored its first race win within weeks of the 2012 season starting. It has since gone on to win numerous races around the world.
The Vantage GT3 has a modified version of Aston Martin’s production 6.0-litre V12 engine. The dry-sumped engine is capable of producing in excess of 600 bhp with 700 Nm of torque, but is restricted by race regulations to approximately 550 bhp.
The car will share a garage with two further official Aston Martin entries; the world-leading Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S - the first hydrogen powered car to compete in a FIA-sanctioned race - and a V12 Vantage in close-to-production specification. The appearance of this almost standard car alongside its GT3 sibling in a major international endurance race, truly underlines the racing pedigree of the company’s most sporting road car.