Click above for a high-res gallery of the V12 Vantage preparing for the Nürburgring 24-hour race

It started with one lone V8 Vantage, dubbed the N24, that ran the Nürburgring 24-hour race in 2006. Last year, that first racer, a yellow car dubbed "Rose," won class honors in the race. This year, it will be joined by five more Vantages, one of them being the 510 horsepower V12 Vantage introduced in Geneva earlier this year.

Only three of the six cars will be factory efforts. The slightly modified V12 Vantage will be piloted by Aston CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez and three co-drivers, and "Rose" will be driven by another team of three. Privateer entrants will be headed by Richard Kramer, an Austrian Aston dealer whose Vantage N24 is being supported by the factory.

You can read the full press release after the jump, and check out live action from the weekend's qualifying and race at the ADAC site.


Related GalleryAston Martin V12 Vantage at the Ring

[Source: Aston Martin]


PRESS RELEASE

ASTON MARTIN READY FOR NÜRBURGRING CHALLENGE

Nürburgring, 21 May 2009. Six Aston Martins will be amongst the 180 entrants in the Nürburgring 24 hour race – one of the toughest endurance tests in motorsport – spearheaded by a factory entered version of the British marque's new V12 Vantage.

The V12 Vantage, in near-standard specification, will be driven by Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez (DE), Chris Porritt (GB), Oliver Mathai (DE) and Richard Meaden (GB). Premiered at the Geneva Auto Salon in early March, the V12 Vantage is the ultimate incarnation of the Vantage range featuring a 6.0-litre V12 engine producing 510 bhp (517 PS) and 570 Nm (420 lb ft) of torque. With just minor modifications, the standard car is able to compete in this most demanding of endurance races.

Joining Aston Martin's latest model, driven by Wolfgang Schuhbauer (DE), Shinichi Katsura (J) and Horst von Saurma (DE), will be 'Rose', the yellow V8 Vantage N24 and now endurance veteran that first entered the race in 2006. Rose provided the original inspiration behind the N24/GT4 racing programme and returns to the Nordschleife having now clocked up a staggering four consecutive 24-hour race finishes including a class victory in last year's Nürburgring 24 hour race.

Aston Martin will also be supporting a Vantage N24 entry for a customer team headed by the company's Austrian dealer, Richard Karner.

Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez said: "For me, this race is still the ultimate endurance challenge for any car and it is right that we subject our new V12 Vantage to this extraordinary test.

"This race is also a great occasion in Europe with support from thousands of enthusiasts and I am delighted that so many customer teams are able to join us. Of course, we hope that we can all finish the race but also have some fun too."

The first of two qualifying sessions begin this evening (Thursday) before concluding on Friday morning before the 37th ADAC Nürburgring 24 hour race begins at 4pm local time (3pm GMT) on 23 May 2009.