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Mar 28, 2014 - 05:38 PM
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Aston Martin Starts 2014 Nurburgring Campaign
Posted by: newsla on Mar 28, 2014 - 05:33 PM
Sports Cars
Aston Martin Starts 2014 Nurburgring Campaign

Aston Martin Racing’s 2014 Nürburgring campaign gets underway this weekend (29 March) as customer team Leonard Motorsport races its brand new V12 Vantage GT3 in the first round of the circuit’s VLN series.


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The team first drove the car at the official VLN test last weekend (22/23 March) ahead of the start of the 10-round series, where it was joined by Aston Martin Racing’s works Bilstein-liveried Vantage GT3 in preparation for the ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours in July.

Leonard Motorsport drivers Paul Wilson (GB) and Stuart Leonard (GB) will make the Vantage GT3’s first assault on the full VLN series this year and, after a successful test weekend in the brand new machine, they are looking forward to the first round this weekend.

“The project has come together fairly quickly and we are delighted AMR were able to complete the build of the car in time,” comments Wilson. “For it to then run so competitively and without issue on its proper shakedown was very encouraging. The Nürburgring is a real driver’s track and to have a car that handles as well as the Vantage GT3 is just fantastic. The team has done a great job and we are looking forward to VLN1.”

Aston Martin is no stranger to the Nürburgring; it uses the 13-mile long circuit to test its road cars from its Technical Test Centre based near Nürburg in the Eifel Forest. It has also entered the world-famous Nürburgring 24 Hours (N24) for the past eight years and its GT3 campaign is now in its third year.

“We made it clear in 2012 that we have a five-year plan to be in a position to challenge for the win at Nürburgring 24 Hours,” comments Aston Martin Racing’s Team Principal John Gaw. “Last year, in the second year of our campaign, we led the race for ten hours, so we intend to return this year and better this.”

Aston Martin Racing’s works drivers Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (DE) and five-times N24-winner Pedro Lamy (PT) will once again pilot the Bilstein-liveried V12 Vantage GT3 in the 24-hour race, as well as entering VLN4 on 17 May in preparation.

“It was great to return to the Nürburgring this weekend,” comments Mücke, who tested the works car. “We did many laps on Saturday and managed to work through a lot of set-up changes in just one day. It is a fantastic circuit and the Vantage GT3 is well suited to it but it is so different to other circuits, that’s why preparation is key.”

When racing at the Nürburgring, all GT3 cars are permitted to make certain changes from their standard homologated specification due to the unique nature of the circuit. Therefore, both of the V12 Vantages will run a larger fuel cell than the standard car, as well as specially developed Bilstein dampers with a stroke length and valve settings designed to deal with the undulating nature of the track.

“The expertise of technical partner Bilstein and tyre partner Michelin, which work closely with our engineers, are expected to play a vital part in the car’s performance,” explains Gaw.

Aston Martin, as usual, will also run its Gaydon- built engineering cars in VLN3 and in the grueling N24 endurance race. This continues a long-term strategy of entering ‘close-to-production’ cars for the ultimate demonstration of performance and reliability, and the team will be seeking to preserve its 100 per cent finishing record in its ninth year of taking part.

These engineering cars, the Leonard Motorsport Vantage GT3 and the works Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 will benefit from the expertise and facilities at the Aston Martin Test Centre, which serves as a permanently staffed base for Aston Martin engineers who regularly use the industry pool weeks to test prototypes and current products, for VLN race preparation and for customer events.

The DBS, DB9, V8 Vantage, V12 Vantage and Rapide and have all benefited from development at the Nürburgring. A key part of the sign-off process for all new Aston Martins is a 10,000km durability test on the famous circuit.

The opening round of the VLN series takes place this weekend (29 March) with the Nürburgring 24 Hours taking place on 21/22 June. Further details of Aston Martin’s engineering entries for the 24-hour race, including driver line-ups, will be released at a later date.

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