Aston Martin celebrated ten years of competing at the world-famous Nürburgring this weekend (16/17 May) and, in fitting tribute, the #49 Vantage N430, donning the same livery as the brand’s debut entry in 2006, crossed the line in first place in the SP8 class.
The weekend marked a decade since the Aston Martin engineering team entered a race-prepared V8 Vantage road car into the Nürburgring 24-hour race. The car, affectionately named Rose, marked the birth of a new generation of Vantage-based sports cars and paved the way for Aston Martin Racing’s Vantage GT4.
To mark the occasion, the Aston Martin Vantage N430 – running in the close-to-production-specification SP8 class – was adorned in Rose’s yellow livery and, at 1600hrs CET today, it crossed the line in first place with Aston Martin’s non-executive Chairman Dr Ulrich Bez behind the wheel.
“Watching the Vantage N430 cross the line in the same livery that Rose had ten years ago is something quite special,” commented Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport David King. “We’ve come such a long way with our motorsport programme at the Nürburgring in the last ten years and we’ve fought some really tough battles here.”
In addition, Aston Martin Racing’s customer team Mathol Racing took top honours in the GT4 class with Stadavita Racing Team close behind in second place.
Cruelly, luck was not on the side of the Aston Martin Racing V12 Vantage GT3s this weekend. Despite a near perfect first half of the race, which positioned the cars strategically to make their second-half attack, both suffered misfortune in the hands of the infamous ‘Green Hell’.
During the treacherous dark hours, the #007 skidded on oil and collided with the wall, leaving the determined crew to work hard to get the badly damaged machine back on track in less than thirty minutes. Despite dropping to 25th place it continued its charge to finish in 16th overall. Several hours later, the #006 suffered a rare powertrain issue, which forced it to retire from eighth position.
The race-modified #50 Vantage GT12 road car, which ran just outside the top-20 overall, was involved in an incident that brought an end to its dominant 16-hour class-leading charge and the #48 Vantage GT12 retired due to a mechanical failure.
“It’s great to see Dr Bez contest his tenth consecutive 24-hour race at the Nürburgring,” explained Aston Martin CEO Dr Andy Palmer. “Bringing home the class win is a fantastic way to celebrate competing in a race that has become a key part of our history. The Nürburgring is the perfect track for us to test and develop our road cars and today has proven that it takes no prisoners – it really is the most demanding and challenging circuit in the world.
“From this we must refocus our attention and head to Le Mans in four weeks time with our five-car Vantage GTE programme.”
Aston Martin Racing next competes in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 13/14 June. Keep up with the team on social media using #teamAMR.
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, Shinichi Katsura
#050 Vantage GT12 - Peter Cate, Andreas Gulden, Chris Harris, Oliver Mathai
#049 Vantage GT4 N430 – Dr Ulrich Bez, Dr Andreas Baenziger, Peter Leemhuis, Mel Rose