Aston Martin CEO kicks off centenary celebrations with success

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez and friend Josef ‘Pepi’ Strobl – winner of 20 podiums and five World Cup Downhill and Super-G races from the Austria ski team – scored a podium finish coming third in class in a late-season outing in the Nürburgring-based VLN series last weekend (29 September, 2012), while also revealing the brand’s centenary logo, which will be used to mark 100 years of Aston Martin throughout 2013.

Aston Martin‘s test centre, located next to the Nürburgring in Germany’s Eifel region, enters cars in the ten-race VLN series on the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit each year. Additionally, Aston Martin offers the opportunity to complete a five-step training programme, culminating in qualification to race in the VLN series.

Having been encouraged by Dr Bez to try his hand at motorsport, Pepi Strobl undertook the training programme during the year, passing each level with flying colours, and was delighted to be invited to make his Nürburgring debut sharing a Vantage GT4 with Dr Bez.

Joined in the car by Wolfgang Schuhbauer, Director of the Aston Martin Nürburgring Test Centre, and, after four hours of racing in a field of 180 cars, the trio took third in the highly competitive SP10 class for lightly modified GT4 cars.

The Test Centre also entered a V12 Vantage, driven by Aston Martin’s Chief Engineer Chris Porritt, Australian Rob Thomson and Michael Braun (D), and a second V8 Vantage driven by Joachim  Kern (D), Beat Loretz (CH) and Mathais Hüttenrauch (D). Both cars performed flawlessly to come home third and fourth respectively in the SP8 class.

Dr Bez commented: “Pepi and I have skied together in the Aston Martin team at ‘Der Weisse Ring’ in Lech, Austria and Pepi was the overall winner last year. I thought that the skills needed to ski can be transferred into driving, especially a circuit like the Nürburgring, which has changes in elevation, difficult corners and a sloping track. That’s why I invited Pepi to come along and train with the test centre team and drive with me in the race.

“Pepi showed great commitment to learning the circuit and took instruction incredibly well. This is why he was able to drive so quickly and consistently on what was his very first race, enabling us to take a step on the podium.”

“The Nordschleife exerts a real fascination,” Strobl said. “The track is incredibly demanding. It requires a high level of concentration to come quickly and safely through the field of so many race cars, which are also on the road at different speeds.”

David King, Head of Motorsport at Aston Martin added: “The result at the Nürburgring was most satisfying. To achieve third in a tough class and win a trophy in your first race is really something that Pepi, his co-drivers and the whole team should be proud of. It was a pleasure to work with such a professional sportsman and I hope he comes back for more – he could have a successful second career as a race driver!”

Dr Bez concluded: “The race offered us a very appropriate opportunity to present the new centenary logo on my race car. The Nürburgring has played an important role in our first 100 years and it will continue to do so in the next – starting with some exciting plans to be announced later in the year for the 24-hour race in 2013.”

Aston Martin is celebrating its centenary throughout 2013, and this will be commemorated by a host of events around the globe. This was the first time the brand had showcased its stunning new centenary logo, which was designed in-house by Director of Design Marek Reichman’s team and will be a consistent feature of the company’s centenary celebrations over the course of next year.

Aston Martin has been a maker of exceptional high performance cars since 1913 and is renowned as one of the world’s most iconic automotive brands. Independent in spirit and ownership, the company today remains true to its ethos of creating cars that embrace advanced engineering, yet exude understated elegance.
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