Aston Martin held a weekend of activities around the Nürburgring 24-hour race as part of the latest festivties to mark its 100th Anniversary
Prior to the start of the 41st ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24 Hours on 19 May, a cavalcade of more than 100 Aston Martin sports cars took to the infamous road circuit for a parade lap to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary. “It was a fabulous occasion,” said Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez. “To see so many of our great cars together on the Nordschleife—the ‘green hell’ where we test and develop our modern road cars—was, I hope, truly memorable for the spectators and drivers.”
Among those joining Dr Bez for the celebratory lap was James Bond star Daniel Craig, driving a silver DB5 from the film Skyfall. “It was a great pleasure, too, to see Sir Stirling Moss back at the circuit driving the DBR1 in which he triumphed here more than 50 years ago,” adds Dr Bez.
During the race itself, Aston Martin Racing works driver Pedro Lamy qualified in second position overall with the Bilstein-sponsored V12 Vantage GT3. The five-time N24 winner set a blistering time of 8:18.362, stopping the clock just 1.1 seconds behind the pole position winner. After taking the race lead in the second hour, Lamy’s team-mates Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke and Allan Simonsen each led at points as the rain and fog worsened until, finally, the event was stopped at 10.30pm.
The race resumed at 8.20am with Aston Martin Racing still leading. In persistently wet conditions, the drivers struggled for grip and the V12 Vantage GT3 gradually lost its advantage over its rivals. A brush with the barriers in the difficult early laps affected the car’s handling for the remainder of the race, curtailing any chance to push hard in the improving conditions. Thereafter, the team wisely settled for a safe finish and was delighted to bring the car home in tenth place overall. “The team did a fantastic job this weekend and we couldn’t have done it without our partners from Bilstein,” said John Gaw, Team Principal at Aston Martin Racing. “Our car performed perfectly on the Michelin slicks and, in the dry, we recorded some of the fastest lap times of the race. In the wet we struggled with grip, but this is something we will work on together ahead of next year’s race.”
Daniel Craig gets behind the wheel of the CC100
Alongside the Vantage GT3 charger, Aston Martin’s mould-breaking Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S—designed and built with the support of hydrogen specialists Alset Global and based on the marque’s new four-door, four-seat sports GT—achieved its ambitious goal of completing the world-famous 24-hour race.
“It was an historic day for two reasons,” explained Jose Ignacio Galindo, CEO of Alset Global. “Besides being the first hydrogen-powered race car to compete and undertake zero CO2 emissions laps in an international event, it has showcased the most practical technology available to fundamentally address the challenge of global emissions without disrupting the automotive industry.” David King, Head of Motorsport at Aston Martin, commented: “The Nürburgring is a place Aston Martin holds close and it seemed fitting to mark our centenary year with a host of powerful and emotive celebrations. First and foremost, however, it was about the race and it was our ambition to bring all of our cars home safely for the eighth successive year. To achieve a top ten finish with the Vantage GT3 is a fantastic achievement, especially given the extremely tough conditions.”
King continued: “We are also proud to have given our 300-plus VIP guests and our many thousands of fans something really special to celebrate. And, as always, the team has done a perfect job, our partners have been incredible and we hope to come back next year even stronger to continue our campaign to win the Nürburgring 24 Hours.”
The Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S competing in the race proper
“This year’s race here at Nürburgring was a celebration of all the things that Aston Martin stands for: power, people and dedication,” added Dr Bez, who drove several stints in the Hybrid Hydrogen Rapide S over the course of the 24-hour race. “Record-breaking hydrogen success incorporating the very latest V12 engine technology, a race-leading performance for the GT3, strong laps from the V12 Vantage and the global unveiling of the stunning CC100 Speedster Concept, created in the spirit of our most famous race car ever—the classic DBR1— ensured Aston Martin once again took a leading role here.
“Our centenary celebrations continue, of course, and now we look forward to more success on the track at Le Mans.”
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