2015 is only the third time that Aston Martin Racing has entered the top SP9 class for GT3 cars.
Gaydon - Luxury British sports car maker Aston Martin, along with its race team Aston Martin Racing, today announces an ambitious five-car assault on the 2015 ADAC Zurich N24 endurance race at Germany’s infamous Nürburgring.
Aston Martin Racing heads to the world-renowned endurance event on 16/17 May with a pair of works V12 Vantage GT3s and has its sights set firmly on the outright race win in the top SP9 class.
While the luxury sports car manufacturer has been racing at the annual Nordschleife event for a decade, 2015 is only the third time that its works race team has entered the top SP9 class for GT3 cars.
In 2013 – with the car running for the first time in the iconic blue and yellow livery of Aston Martin’s technical partner Bilstein – the team finished tenth, after leading the gruelling race for more than half the running time, and in 2014 it finished fifth. This year, Team Principal John Gaw is confident that the race win could be within sight.
“The worst thing you can do at the Nürburgring is underestimate it,” he commented. “However, we’ve shown in the last two years that we have the potential to take the outright race win.
“We’ve learned a lot here and this year we come with two cars, which are well proven and reliable, and a strong driver line-up. The race win is the ultimate goal.”
Aston Martin Engineering Team
Continuing its tradition of intensive product prove-out at this unique and gruelling race, Aston Martin will also enter two race-prepared Vantage GT12s in the event’s close-to-production SP8 class.
The Vantage GT12 was launched to worldwide acclaim in March this year at the Geneva Motorshow, with all 100 examples sold in record time. Taking its inspiration directly from Aston Martin Racing’s Vantage GT3, the Vantage GT12 benefits from the learning drawn from the brand’s ten years of racing and developing its road cars at the Nürburgring.
In the 24-hour race, the Vantage GT12s will run as close-to-production-specification as possible with only required racing safety upgrades added, emphasising its track capabilities and demonstrating its durability under the most intense conditions.
David King, Director of Special Projects and Motorsport at Aston Martin said: “This is a unique event where our professional Aston Martin Racing race team and our Gaydon engineering team come together to compete as one entity. The team spirit is very special and we learn a great deal, both technically and organisationally, each year. I am very proud that we have kept a 100 per cent finishing record over the past ten years and we will be doing everything possible to maintain that.”
He added: “We are very fortunate to have the continued backing and technical support of partners Bilstein and Castrol, as well as tyre partner Michelin who have also been selected as tyre supplier for the Vantage GT12 road car.”
Finally, to celebrate the company’s tenth year at the race, the brand’s line-up will be completed by a Vantage GT4 to be driven by Aston Martin non-executive chairman Dr Ulrich Bez and presented in the same yellow livery as the original Vantage N24 he drove in 2006.
Darren Turner: “I’m looking forward to what is perhaps one of the hardest 24-hour races of the year on what is certainly the most inspiring circuit of the year. For the last few years we have attempted this race with just one car and it’s good to be a two-car effort this year as the development over a race weekend doubles. Last year we had very good pace and if it wasn’t for a few issues in the first quarter of the race then I’m sure we would’ve had a podium finish. As ever GT3 never stands still and some of our competitors have brought out new cars this year. It’s difficult to clearly understand where our performance is from VLN 1 and 2 but I do still think we have a chance of a great weekend.”
Pedro Lamy: “It's great to be returning to the Nürburgring with Aston Martin. I have driven the Vantage GT3 there a few times and it definitely has the pace and reliability to win the race. The team has worked hard in preparing for this and they deserve the victory - it would also be good for me to take the record for the number of N24 race wins!"
Richie Stanaway: "N24 is one of those endurance races that everyone wants on their CV. The entry list comprises the top GT drivers in the world and the track and conditions are so demanding that winning here is an incredible achievement. We may all be new to the Nürburging in car #009 but I think we have a strong line up - as long as nothing goes wrong on the day, we have as good a chance of winning as any of the other GT3s."
Jonny Adam: “I am very excited to be racing at the N24 with Aston Martin Racing. This must be one of the hardest 24-hour events in the world and its challenge that I am looking forward to. The level of competition is high with big manufactures represented but we are aiming for a strong result for Aston Martin. Its great to be sharing with both Mathias and Richie and, from what we have learnt in VLN this year, we have a competitive car in the Aston Martin Vantage GT3.”
Driver line up
#007 Vantage GT3 - Pedro Lamy, Stefan Mücke, Darren Turner
#009 Vantage GT3 - Jonny Adam, Mathias Lauda, Richie Stanaway
#048 Vantage GT12 - Florian Kamelger, Wolfgang Schuhbauer, Liam Talbot,
#050 Vantage GT12 - Peter Cate, Andreas Gulden, Chris Harris, Shinichi Katsura
#049 Vantage GT4 N430 - Dr Ulrich Bez, Dr Andreas Baenziger, Peter Leemhuis, Mel Rose