Aston Martin: Positive Start for Aston Martins at the Nürburgring 24-hour - Six Hour Update

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A record entry comprising eight Aston Martins have reached the six hour point of the Nürburgring 24-hour race in Germany. The British marque is represented by a factory-backed dual entry, consisting of a near standard four-door Rapide and a V12 Vantage and joined by six other customer Aston Martins, including those from Birchwood Racing, Gentle Swiss Racing and Mathol Racing to bring the total to a record eight cars.

After a typically frantic start as a field of almost 200 cars fought for position, the race soon began to settle and at six hours the number six V12 Vantage holds 27th position and Rapide 65th position overall. This equates to 1st and 3rd in the SP8 class which has 12 entries.

The Aston Martin team had earlier deployed a deliberate strategy to pit early from the start – with Chris Porritt bringing the V12 Vantage in on his fourth lap and Wolfgang Schuhbauer following suit shortly afterwards in the Rapide – to capitalise on a quiet pit lane for the first re-fuel. After completing opening stints of around two hours Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez took the wheel of the Rapide for his first stint and Richard Meaden took over in the V12 Vantage.

Speaking shortly after his first stint in the V12 Vantage, Chris Porritt said: “I had really good fun. It is always busy at the start here; it’s just a case of gradually finding your way and getting used to so many other cars being around you.”

Journalist, Richard Meaden, who took over driver duties from Porritt added: “It’s pretty chaotic - there are a lot of accidents around the circuit and you have to be very careful. As there are repairs to barriers going on it is like negotiating road works in places.”

Wolfgang Schuhbauer, after his first stint in the number seven Rapide said: “I had a good start to the race, I did a double stint and the car was performing absolutely perfect. No issues, no problems and lap times are around 10 minutes which is exactly what we expected.”

Journalist Matthew Marsh said: “The car is enormous fun to drive and it’s quick, especially in the corners. At the moment we are trying to maximise the distance we can go on a tank of fuel and I am really pleased with our progress. The track has been dry but there have been a few oil spills to negotiate.”

Approaching the five hour mark the V12 Vantage benefitted from longer-than-expected pit stops by fellow competitors in the SP8 class to take the class lead, and break into the top 30 overall positions. Meanwhile the Rapide continued a steady rise through the order after Dr Bez guided the car through the second stint and then handed over to journalist Matthew Marsh who will be succeeded in the car by Chris Porritt at nightfall.

Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, David King said: “So far we are running smoothly and to plan which is clearly pleasing, but at just a quarter of the way in we are still at the very early stages of the race.

“The V12 Vantage has gradually started to move up the field now and we would expect the same of Rapide as the race develops. Our plan to make the first fuel stops early and make the most of a quiet pit lane should benefit us as the race develops.”

Aston Martin Race Positions at Six Hours:
No. Team Class Car Class Position Overall Position
6 Aston Martin SP8 V12 Vantage 1st 27th
7 Aston Martin SP8 Rapide 3rd 65th
59 Gentle Swiss Racing SP10 GT4 V8 Vantage N24 4th 70th
60 Mathol Racing SP10 GT4 V8 Vantage 3rd 58th
61 Mathol Racing SP10 GT4 V8 Vantage 1st 34th
66 Privateer Entry SP8 V8 Vantage 12th 180th
67 Birchwood Racing SP10 GT4 V8 Vantage N24 8th 179th
74 Gentle Swiss Racing SP8 V8 Vantage N24 9th 147th
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