This weekend at the Ring you will see ‘Zig’ and ‘Zag’ out there flying the flag for Aston Martin. No, this is not some circus trick, but the latest nicknames Aston has come up with for its NÃ¼rburgring 24 hour racecars. The car you see above is otherwise known as the Aston Martin V12 Zagato. The Zagato was first shown in May and went on to win prestigious awards at the Concorso Dâ€™Eleganza at Villa Dâ€™Este.
For the NÃ¼rburgring 24 hour race the red Zagato shall be known as ‘Zag’. It’s stablemate ‘Zig’ will is painted in green. Car #3 (Zag) will be driven by Aston Martin CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez, the companyâ€™s NÃ¼rburgring Test Centre Director, Wolfgang Schuhbauer and automotive journalists Horst von Saurma and Matthew Marsh. Car #5 (Zig) has crew consisting of One-77 Chief Engineer Chris Porritt, experienced sports car driver Oliver Mathai, automotive journalist Richard Meaden and experienced amateur racer Peter Cate.
An orange ‘Smurf’ will also be representing the Aston factory. It’s actually a V8 Vantage GT4 to be driven by works driver, Darren Turner, journalist and experienced 24 hour driver, Shinichi Katsura, Australian racer Rob Thomson and seasoned NÃ¼rburgring pilot Jurgen Stumpf.
More from Aston Martin Racing after the break. Including details of a Rapide which will be taking part in a 24 hour race of its own in the United States.
Aston Martin V12 Zagato ready for ultimate NÃ¼rburgring test
- 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 Bez
- The V12 Zagatos are joined by an Aston Martin-entered V8 Vantage GT4 featuring Aston Martin Racing works driver Darren Turner
NÃ¼rburgring 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 â€“ the annual ADAC NÃ¼rburgring 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 Dâ€™Eleganza at Villa Dâ€™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 â€˜Zagâ€™ (red) and will be piloted in the 24 hour race by Aston Martin CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez, the companyâ€™s NÃ¼rburgring Test Centre Director, Wolfgang Schuhbauer and automotive journalists Horst von Saurma and Matthew Marsh.
In addition, a green V12 Zagato (nicknamed â€˜Zigâ€™) – car number 5 for the race – was prepared by the small team based at Aston Martinâ€™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 â€˜Smurfâ€™ (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 NÃ¼rburgring pilot Jurgen Stumpf.
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 â€“ AVIA (#85) and Team Pflanz (#75) driving Vantage GT4s in the SP10 class.
Aston Martinâ€™s Head of Motorsport, David King said: â€œOur entries this year extend our NÃ¼rburgring 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 prototype stage.â€
â€œAs 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 NÃ¼rburgring. However, we are excited by the potential we have seen from the V12 Zagato in the testing weâ€™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.â€
Aston Martinâ€™s presence at the NÃ¼rburgring marks the sixth successive time factory engineers complete a product sign-off test in what has been dubbed â€˜the toughest 24 hour raceâ€™ under public scrutiny. Since 2006, the marque has used the race to prove the reliability and durability of its new models â€“ 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 â€“ the Aston Martin V12 Zagato.
In addition to this yearâ€™s race, Aston Martinâ€™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 NÃ¼rburgring. The endurance test echoes last yearâ€™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 NÃ¼rburgring the roofs of both V12 Zagatos will be sporting a â€˜Heart for Japanâ€™ dedication as part of Aston Martinâ€™s support for the Tsunami victims of Japan. In May, Dr. Bez auctioned his company Rapide raising Â£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 NÃ¼rburgring 24 Hour race starts at 4pm CET on Saturday 25 June â€“ live updates are available by following @astonmartin on Twitter and live commentary will be broadcast via Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com)
Aston Martin Rapide takes to the Track for 24 Hours
Irvine, June 17th, 2011. The Aston Martin Rapide will take to the track for a 24 hours endurance run to be held at Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch, Nevada, starting on June 25th. Drivers from Aston Martin and Road & Track Magazine will run the Rapide road car simultaneously with Aston Martinâ€™s participation in the NÃ¼rburgring 24-hour race in Europe, demonstrating the durability of Aston Martinâ€™s four door sports coupe as well as raising money for charity.
Aston Martin has a long tradition of motorsport success and this yearâ€™s NÃ¼rburgring 24-hour will see a number of Aston Martins, including a brace of the companyâ€™s new V12 Zagatos and customer teams, competing in the endurance race. Aston Martin engineers have harnessed motorsport learning and incorporated race car derived technology to build some of the worldâ€™s finest sports cars for the road.
The Rapide combines sports car performance and Aston Martin craftsmanship with the everyday practicality of four doors. At the core of the Rapide lies a hand-built 6.0 liter V12 engine giving a power output of 470bhp and the standard feature Touchtronic automatic gearbox allows the driver to shift gear automatically or manually, allowing for a more refined or engaging driver experience as desired.
Designed at Aston Martinâ€™s award winning headquarters in Gaydon, England, the beautiful Rapide is both luxurious yet functional. Four â€œswan wingâ€ doors provide access to cosseting sports seats both front and rear bestowing occupants with ample accommodation and a 317 litre luggage compartment affords space for belongings, creating a truly versatile Aston Martin sports car.
Julian Jenkins, Aston Martin the Americas, said: â€œSince its launch, the Rapide has been popular with customers looking for an exclusive sports car with a combination of exhilarating performance, handcrafted style, and added four-door practicality. As well as raising money for Heart for Japan, this 24-hour initiative will give us an opportunity to showcase the endurance capabilities of the Rapide which in turn demonstrates its everyday usability and durability.â€
Matt Delorenzo, editor-in-chief of Road & Track magazine, added â€œWeâ€™re truly excited to participate in this challenge. Since the Rapide made its racing debut at last yearâ€™s 24-hour race at the Nurburgring, we wondered how a street version would compare if driven continuously for a day over a closed circuit. Seeing how close we can get to the race distance covered last year will be an excellent measure of the carâ€™s real-world performance.â€
More information on the â€œ24 Hours of Rapideâ€ can be found at www.astonmartin.com/24hrsofrapide as well as at www.roadandtrack.com.