Aston Martin completes a successful 2011 Nurburgring VLN endurance championship

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 1, 2011

The Nürburgring Test Centre Team of Aston Martin bagged second and third spots in the SP8 class for GT cars over 4.0 litres during the tenth and final round of the Nürburgring VLN endurance championship, rounding off a most successful 2011 season. The number 122 Aston Martin V12 Vantage garnered second in class and 28th overall finish from a field of 160 starters. It was driven by British trio Andy Meyrick, James Appleby and Ant Scragg.

Aston Martin Racing factory driver Meyrick had led the class in a consistent and fast opening stint prior to handing over to Scragg and Appleby. On the other hand, the number 118 V8 Vantage driven bagged the third place in the same class.

It was driven by Aston Martin’s Nürburgring Test Centre Director Wolfgang Schuhbauer, 2011 newcomer Beat Loretz as well as experienced Nürburgring pilot Jurgen Stumpf. In the highly competitive SP10 class for GT4 cars, Mathol Racing continued their season-long dominance of the class, with Wolfgang Weber, Rickard Nilsson and Norbert Bermes taking their V8 Vantage to its seventh class win of the year.

Reflecting on the season, Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, David King said: “Since we first raced a factory-entered V8 Vantage at the Nürburgring in 2006, we have carefully grown our presence at the circuit. Not only have we taken engineering cars from our UK headquarters to race there every year as part of our engineering programme, but we also opened our own permanent test centre (in 2008) and commenced our customer racing programme under the leadership of Wolfgang Schuhbauer in 2009.”

In the entry-level sports car segment, the Aston Martin Vantage is regarded as a line that continually evolves. Specifically, the V8 Vantage shows design enhancements for a more dynamic feel but still at a great value. Meanwhile, the range’s flagship will be the upcoming premium Vantage V12 Zagato.

The entry-level Aston Martin V8 Vantage has undergone its most thorough and radical improvement stage since 2008. The revamped 4.7-litre 420bhp (426PS/313kW) sports car shows a scale of enhancements seen also on the well-received Vantage S. As standard, it has a similar six-speed manual transmission. However, the optional six-speed Sportshift automated manual transmission has been upgraded to the seven-speed Sportshift II. Developed and produced exclusively for Aston Martin, the new gearbox’s extra gear, closer ratios and lower final drive allow quicker shifts with precision for optimal acceleration and dynamic performance.

Aston Martin V8 Vantage’s dynamic character was also improved through chassis enhancements similar to those done on the Vantage S. The steering is now quicker, the brakes larger and the new tyres wider. These make the V8 Vantage more stable, responsive and even more fun to drive. The upgraded steering column, re-valved power-steering pump and a quicker ratio of 15:1 (vs 17:1 previously) contribute to more precise steering, thus improving manoeuvrability and feedback for greater driving pleasure.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage has a new braking system featuring 380mm two-piece ventilated cast-iron front discs and six piston callipers which provide remarkably enhanced pedal feel and stopping power.

Another feature is Hill Start Assist (HSA) which improves steep incline control. The new tyres are 10mm wider than in the preceding version, resulting in greater contact area to further improve the V8 Vantage’s outstanding road hugging, as well as maximise the advantages afforded by the upgraded steering and braking systems.

In terms of design, the Aston Martin V8 Vantage underwent a makeover in the style of the Vantage S and N400 limited edition in order to suit its new capabilities. The lower front fender with aerodynamic splitter has a large integrated air intake for the front brakes and radiator.

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