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Aston V12 Zagato hits the ‘Ring

Sleek Zagato coupe tears up the Nurburgring as Aston releases 24-hour video teaser

Aston Martin logo24 Jun 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

ASTON Martin has released a teaser video of its new V12 Zagato lapping up the Nurburgring in preparation for this weekend’s gruelling 24-hour endurance race.

The same sleek Aston-Zagato coupe that wowed crowds when it made its world debut at the Concorso D’Eleganza at Italy’s Villa D’Este in May will be piloted by Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez in the annual ADAC Nürburgring 24 Hours on June 25-26.

Dr Bez will be joined in the red #3 racecar, nicknamed ‘Zag’, by the British company’s Nürburgring Test Centre director, Wolfgang Schuhbauer, and European automotive journalists Horst von Saurma and Matthew Marsh.

A second V12 Zagato – this time green, nicknamed ‘Zig’ and wearing #5 – was prepared at Aston’s global headquarters at Gaydon in the UK for One-77 chief engineer Chris Porritt, experienced sportscar driver Oliver Mathai, auto journo Richard Meaden and experienced amateur racer Peter Cate.

The pair of V12 Zagatos will be joined in the 24-hour by a V8 Vantage GT4 nicknamed ‘Smurf’, to be piloted by Aston Martin Racing works driver Darren Turner, journalist and experienced 24-hour driver, Shinichi Katsura, seasoned Nürburgring pilot Jurgen Stumpf and Australian racer Rob Thomson.

44 center imageBringing the number of Aston Martin entries at this year’s Nürburgring 24-hour to six will be three further V8 Vantage GT4 customer teams in the SP10 class - Mathol Racing (#62), Bratke Motorsport Team (#85) and Team Pflanz (#75).

To be held less than a week after Aston Martin secured “financial stability” for the next seven years with the completion of a £304 million ($A462.7m) bond issue, this year’s 24-hour race will be the sixth successive time Aston engineers complete a product sign-off test in one of the world’s toughest day-long motor race.

While Dr Bez raced a Rapide in last year’s Nürburgring classic, Aston’s four-door coupe will compete at a 24-hour race at Spring Mountain Motor Sports Ranch in Nevada this weekend.

Earlier this month Aston Martin announced it will shift production of the Rapide from Magna Steyr in Austria to its Gaydon HQ in Warwickshire from the second half of 2012, by which time annual production volume could be significantly lower than the 2000 figure original targeted in 2007.

The Nürburgring 24 Hours has become a test bed for new production models from a range car-makers, including Porsche, which will once again enter its 911 GT3 R Hybrid, Lexus and its LFA supercar and BMW, which will enter a JCW ‘Endurance’ race version of its recently revealed Mini Coupe and a lighter, more focused M3 sedan.

While BMW will produce just 67 examples of the M3 CRT (Carbon Racing Technology) sedan, which weighs just 1580kg and packs the same 331kW/440Nm 4.4-litre V8-powered as the M3 GTS Coupe, Aston Martin will build a limited number of V12 Zagato coupes that could cost as much at $700,000 if any arrive in Australia.

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