"Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday" is how the old saying goes, but maybe we can change it to "Finish on Sunday, Sell on Monday" in the case of the Aston Martin V8 Vantage. That's because an almost-stock Vantage entered and completed this past weekend's Nurburgring 24-Hour race. The only modifications to the car were to address safety requirements and pit lane needs. The car had a roll cage, racing fuel system, fire protection, racing seat, and hydraulic jacks installed. Nothing else was touched. It ran on the stock engine and transmission, and wore stock bodywork.
Aston didn't exactly pack the driver list with no-names either. The group of four who piloted the Vantage was headlined by none other than Aston Martin's Chairman and CEO, Dr. Ulrich Bez. He and three co-drivers completed 130 laps in the endurance race, finishing 4th in class and 24th overall.To further put that achievement into perspective, 220 cars started the race, many of them pure race-spec models.
The eyebrow-raising performance makes one think. If an almost dead-stock Vantage can run competitively in a 24 hour endurance race, imagine what a fully race-prepped car could do. Such a vehicle would make the already competitive, and growing ALMS/Le Mans GT2 class even more interesting than it has already become.
The entry of the Vantage at the Nurburgring 24 was a factory experiment, but the results are a very clear warning shot to other manufacturers:
On the racetrack, the DBR9's baby brother looks like its quite capable of holding its own.
(Press release, more pictures after the jump)
[Source: Aston Martin]
Aston Martin production V8 Vantage fourth in class at 24-hour Nürburgring
June 18, 2006: A factory prepared Aston Martin V8 Vantage has taken its place in the company's history books after finishing a credible fourth in class and 24th overall at the Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race, among a field of largely motorsport-homologated cars.
Negotiating a field of 220 cars, the four drivers: Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Chris Porritt, Aston Martin's Vehicle Engineering Manager; Horst von Saurma, editor-in-chief of Sport Auto magazine, and development driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer, all raced flawlessly through more than 130 laps on one of the most demanding circuits in the world.
Built at Aston Martin's Gaydon headquarters the V8 Vantage was almost entirely production standard, including the engine and transmission. The only modifications made were for safety and pit-lane efficiency, with the full mandatory safety cage, special fuel tank and fire system, racing seat, and built-in air jacks.
Conditions tested the drivers to the extreme with track temperatures reaching 43°C and from the initial 220 cars on the starting grid, only 141 finished. Despite these conditions, the V8 Vantage kept a steady pace avoiding traffic, resulting in a smooth race from start to finish.
Dr. Bez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aston Martin said: "We delivered exactly what we set out to do by finishing the 24 hours without any technical problems or team issues. It is a real achievement to complete the race in the top 25 with a standard production V8 Vantage and shows the true capabilities of both the car and the team."
Chris Porritt added: "This has been a real test of endurance for the car and the whole team. It's been a thrilling 24 hours and a real challenge for us all."
Dave King, Aston Martin's Team manager concluded: "We are all delighted with the team's progress throughout the event, it is a testament to all the members to finish with this result considering it is our first 24 hour race."