Round-the-clock endurance races typically demand the participation of three or even four-man teams, taking shifts as the sun rises and falls on the circuit. The car they're driving, though, doesn't usually have the capacity to carry the entire team. But as if to emphasize once again the true sporting nature of its latest product, Aston Martin will be taking on the competition this year at the Nürburgring 24 in a damn-near-bone-stock Rapide.
In addition to its innumerable victories in Le Mans-class racing, Aston has had great success at the 'Ring in the SP8 category, which it has won the past two years running. In fact last year, a V12 Vantage took the class win and placed 21st overall in the race, outshining a wide array of dedicated race machinery.
Like the V12 Vantage (which will also run this year's event) the Rapide endurance racer will run with very few modifications, limited largely to the removal of interior trim, the addition of some mandatory safety equipment, and racing slicks mounted to a readjusted suspension. That's about it. Aston chief Dr. Ulrich Bez will once again lead the team of factory drivers, and we'll be watching on May 15-16 to see if the four-door can make it three-for-three. Full details in the press release after the jump.
[Source: Aston Martin]
Gaydon, Warwickshire 6 April 2010. Aston Martin will return to the starting grid of the legendary Nordschleife circuit for the fifth consecutive year at the 38th ADAC Nürburgring 24-hour race on 15/16 May 2010 with the marque's new four-door sports car; the Rapide.
Further underlining the sporting credentials of Aston Martin's latest model, the Rapide will compete in the demanding 24-hour race – as has been the case with other recent Aston Martin road cars, the V8 Vantage and V12 Vantage. The Rapide will compete in near-standard specification apart from mandatory changes required to compete in this most demanding of endurance races and will be driven by a team of engineers from the company's Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire, England.
Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez who will lead the Rapide driver team, explained: "This race represents the ultimate final engineering durability test for any sports car – it subjects the car to the toughest possible assessment under public scrutiny.
"The Rapide has the capability to carry four people in comfort but first and foremost it is a sports car and we will subject it to the same tests we would our other sports cars. We already have a proven track record at the Nürburgring racing our road cars with limited modification and in recent years we have enjoyed success in winning the SP8 class both in 2008 and 2009."
The Rapide race car will be close to production standard with only essential race safety modifications, interior trim removed to reduce weight, re-tuned suspension and will run on slick tyres designed for track use.
The Aston Martin Rapide encapsulates the values of Aston Martin in pure four-door sports car form with an unrivalled combination of performance, comfort, craftsmanship and exceptionally elegant design. Since the Rapide's original premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009 the car has gone on to win the widespread approval of customers and media commentators alike, prompting strong global demand for the car. Deliveries of the Rapide commence later this month through Aston Martin's 125-strong global dealership network.
The Rapide race car will be joined by a V12 Vantage – again modified only slightly for racing – which in 2009 swept to a class win on its competitive race debut. The near production standard V12 Vantage – which finished in 21st place overall last year – saw off competition from a field of largely specialist race cars in the SP8 class to claim an impressive debut win.
Further details on the V12 Vantage and the full driver line-ups for both Aston Martin entries plus details on a number of customer teams competing in the race will follow in the coming weeks.
The 38th ADAC Nürburgring 24 hour race will take place on 15/16 May 2010.