Aston Martin V12 Zagato hits the racetrack for the first time

It's the oldest journalism adage in the book. Dog bites man, not news. Man bites dog, now that's news. So what does this have to do with cars? We'll tell you.

Whereas most sports racers are converted for the purpose from existing, commercially available road cars, once in a while we see a car going the opposite way. Take the Lexus LFA, for example, which was first unveiled in concept form, then went racing at the Nürburgring, and only afterwards hit the market.

Now Aston Martin is following the same path with the V12 Zagato. The show car was first unveiled at the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, and was fielded in the VLN race at the 'Ring this weekend – while the Indy 500 and Monaco Grand Prix were under way elsewhere – before the final street version is released.

How the V12 Zagato actually performed hardly matters, as this initial outing was strictly for developmental purposes. But we'll tell you anyway. It finished just five laps before it kicked the bucket. But that's alright, because other works entries from Gaydon fared better (including a second-in-class finish for one of the factory's V8 Vantages), and the Zagato racer will be back next month, in tandem, for a full-on assault. We'll be watching.

Unfortunately Aston Martin has yet to release any high-res photos of the Zagato doing its thing, but we'll keep an eye out and update you if and when it does. In the meantime you can follow the jump for the official factory release and check out the existing images in the gallery below.
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Aston Martin V12 Zagato Completes First Running at the Nürburgring

Nürburgring, 28 May, 2011. Aston Martin's new V12 Zagato endurance race car concept has completed its first running under race conditions in the 53rd ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup VLN race at the Nürburgring, just one week on from its first public appearance at the Villa D'Este Concours.

The typically eventful four-hour race amongst more than 150 other competitors formed part of vital preparations ahead of a two-car V12 Zagato entry at the Nürburgring 24-hour race in late June. The new V12 Zagato was joined by four other Aston Martins in the field, including the factory supported V8 Vantage ('Smurf') and V12 Vantage (Kermit).

The V12 Zagato completed useful development laps during the four-hour race and while experiencing some inevitable teething issues, accrued valuable data which can be used to hone the car ahead of the 24-hour race next month.

Aston Martin's Head of Motorsport, David King said: "For V12 Zagato today was all about working on our race setup and developing the car ahead of the 24-hour race. Clearly, the car is still in the very early stages of development having only been unveiled a week ago and it was important for us to take as much learning and data as possible from today and give our drivers chance to familiarise themselves with the car.

"In terms of our other runners, the V12 Vantage was very unfortunate to be caught up in an incident on the first lap but managed to limp to the pits where the team heroically made the necessary repairs to get it running and back in the race. Today's major highlight though proved our V8 Vantage with Darren (Turner) and Jurgen (Stumpf) who drove superbly to a second in class finish."

Making its world debut at the Villa D'Este Concours last weekend, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato won the Concorso d'Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars and Prototypes on the shores of Lake Como, Italy.

Introduced as a modern interpretation of the famous Aston Martin and Zagato collaboration in the 50th anniversary year of the iconic DB4GT Zagato, the V12 Zagato was shown for the first time at the prestigious international event, sparking great interest amongst visitors and customers.

Reviving a collaboration which has produced some of the most beautiful and sought-after cars in the world, the partnership takes inspiration from the past, to create a modern descendent of classics such as the DB4GT Zagato, V8 Vantage Zagato and DB7 Zagato based on Aston Martin's ultimate performance interpretation of the Vantage range: the V12 Vantage.

Following further development work in the UK, Aston Martin's pair of new V12 Zagato's will return to the Nürburgring on 11th June, competing in the next ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup VLN race as final preparation for the gruelling Nürburgring 24-hour race, to be held over 25th – 26th June.

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