Aston Martin: Morning has broken at Nürburgring 24-hour - Eighteen Hour Update

Sunday, May 16, 2010

As dawn breaks across the Eifel, all Aston Martins which started the race eighteen hours earlier, remain resilient in this annual endurance epic. The factory-entered cars; V12 Vantage and Rapide, both in near-standard guise, are currently placed 27st and 37th overall (1st and 3rd in class) respectively from a field of nearly 200 starters.

2010 boasts the highest number of Aston Martin entries to date; with all six customer cars continuing into the last six hours. Mathol racing remain in the top spot of the SP10 GT4 class with a convincing lead over the second placed car.

In the small hours of the morning Peter Cate guided the V12 Vantage safely through a minefield of incidents involving other competitors, while Chris Porritt drove Rapide without any issues. In a short pit stop, the Vantage was fuelled and Richard Meaden took over the driving seat from Cate. The Rapide received a new set of brake pads and an oil top-up before being sent out with Wolfgang Schuhbauer at the wheel. Oliver Mathai, suffering from a stomach complaint, sat his stint out to concentrate on a swift recovery. The team will reshuffle the driver order accordingly with the hope that Oliver may recover to make a stint towards the end of the race.

At 8.00am, the V12 Vantage was nursed home with a broken drive shaft having run faultlessly for the previous seventeen hours. The Aston Martin team changed two drive shafts, front brake pads and four tyres in a lightning sixteen minutes to send the V12 back out in its previous position of first in class.

Speaking shortly after 6.30am, Paul Thomas – Engineering Manager for Aston Martin and this weekend, engineer for the Rapide said: “Obviously we’ve had a bit of a challenge come our way with the driver line-up, but it’s certainly not insurmountable and we can deal with it. The car has been running smoothly and the only variance in pace and fuel consumption over night was because of traffic around the circuit. It’s nice to see dawn breaking now – it certainly starts to feel like you’re on the home stretch.”

David King, Head of Motorsport and Aston Martin Team Manager here at the Nürburgring 24-hour said: We have got successfully through the night. The drive shaft issue cost us a further sixteen minutes in the garage which was unfortunate but it is a testament to the team how quickly they managed to fix it. The second placed car in class is now incredibly close to us but we’ll aim to keep them behind us.”

“A further challenge was losing one our drivers due to illness, but we have a plan now which allows us to finish the race with the remaining six drivers but it will be tough with them doing double-stints.

“The Rapide continues without problem and the drivers say it is easy and fun to drive. I am very pleased with our customer teams who all remain in the race at this stage, with the Mathol Team leading their class.”

Aston Martin Race Positions at Twelve Hours:
No. Team Class Car Class Position Overall Position
6 Aston Martin SP8 V12 Vantage 1st 27th
7 Aston Martin SP8 Rapide 3rd 37th
59 Gentle Swiss Racing SP10 GT4 V8 Vantage N24 4th 53rd
60 Mathol Racing SP10 GT4 V8 Vantage 5th 59th
61 Mathol Racing SP10 GT4 V8 Vantage 1st 32nd
66 Privateer Entry SP8 V8 Vantage 10th 158th
67 Birchwood Racing SP10 GT4 V8 Vantage N24 7th 128th
74 Gentle Swiss Racing SP8 V8 Vantage N24 4th 59th

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