Aston Martin V12 Zagato gets ready for Nurburgring

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 8, 2011

Before the 24-hour race at Nurburgring starts at the end of this month, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato endurance race car concept will be seen on its track this weekend for its final preparations. On Saturday, two units of the V12 Zagato endurance race car which got the Concorso d’Eleganza Design Award for Concept Cars and Prototypes will compete in the four-hour 51st ADAC Reinoldus-Langstreckenrennen VLN5 race. This endurance car had debuted last month at the Villa D’Este Concours.

What’s expected to happen this weekend is that the race setup will be refined and drivers will be allowed to familiarize with the new cars on the 25.378km circuit.

David King, Aston Martin’s Head of Motorsport, said that when it comes to its other vehicles, the V12 Vantage had been unlucky to figure in an incident on the first lap but it was able to get to the pits where it was repaired and then was able to return to the race.

He said that the V8 Vantage with Darren Turner and Jurgen Stumpf drove very well to snag the second in class finish. The driver team will be led by Aston Martin Chief Executive, Dr Ulrich Bez.

He will be joined by Wolfgang Schuhbauer, its Nurburgring Test Centre Director, and amateur racer Peter Cate who will be in one of the two V12 Zagatos. Driving the sister car are One-77 Chief Engineer Chris Porritt, sports car driver Oliver Mathai, and car journalist Richard Meaden.

The Aston Martin V12 Zagato was first conceptualised at the beginning of 2010. Aston Martin’s Gaydon-based design team, led by their Director of Design Marek Reichman, took inspiration from the aggressively distinct Zagato style. They set out to challenge themselves by developing a car that represents the leading edge of the Aston Martin design philosophy and also celebrates the DB4GT Zagato. With its proven efficiency, Aston Martin was able to materialise the concepts they formed at the beginning of the Zagato programme. The design, engineering and construction teams closely collaborated to build two concept automobiles, which they revealed during the spring of 2011.

The Aston Martin V12 Zagato was first introduced in May 2011 at a celebrated event – the Villa d'Este concours. The V12 Zagato impressed judges and the general public at the event and won as the best concept/prototype against other great entrants. The following month, the first prototype was joined by a second one, and it was then that the Aston Martin V12 Zagato debuted on the world racing circuit at the Nürburgring 24 hour endurance race. With both cars finishing successfully, Aston Martin was able to keep their finishing record at 100 percent for this extremely gruelling race.

In July 2011, because of hugely positive customer feedback, Aston Martin set out to build a limited number of V12 Zagatos. From that time, the Aston Martin design team made some detailing modifications and improved its streamlining but made sure to keep true to the original concept. Meanwhile, the prototypes have been placed under a strict development programme by the Gaydon-based engineers in order to ascertain that the V12 Zagato performance matches its peerless looks.

The construction of each Aston Martin vehicle uses space age materials and cutting edge technology along with time-honoured workmanship. The V12 Zagato advances this philosophy further, as the company did with the marvellous One-77 supercar, which concludes production this year. The V12 Zagato will be built at the Aston Martin global headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire and only 150 units will be produced.

Every V12 Zagato unit is meticulously and painstakingly constructed in a process consuming 2,000 man-hours. As with the One-77, the V12 Zagato is built with carbon fibre (which makes up the front and rear fenders, door sills and boot lid surround) and hand crafted aluminium (which is used on the bonnet, doors and the trademark ‘double-bubble’ roof).

Upon completion, the body is painted. This takes place at the same area where the One-77 was also painted. There will be four colours available, each made uniquely for the Aston Martin V12 Zagato: Alba Blue, Diavolo Red, Alloro Green and Scintilla Silver. Painting already takes around 100 hours, after which it is moved to the sports car production area where it is attached to the drivetrain.

Then, construction is finished after it is moved to the same facility built for the production of the One-77. This facility looks like a peaceful lab perfectly appropriate for unique high-tech cars like the V12 Zagato. Here, time is taken to work on the installation and fit of all the special components, like the side glass and the unique rear window which has curves congruent with the shape of the roof. The entire brightwork around the windows is given a black finish that matches the visible carbon fibre components. The interior and its upholstery are also diligently worked on to achieve perfection in this facility.

In its entirety, the Aston Martin V12 Zagato is a compellingly composed and proportioned car with authoritative lines. Upon closer scrutiny, it reveals more of its elegance with moulded surfaces and ornate details. It is a true representative of the Aston Martin brand. The visible carbon fibre elements found on the front splitter, A-pillars, wing mirror cases, diffuser, rear lamp pods and rear wing are all in perfect symmetry with their weave and smooth resin finish. Similarly, the new grille has an assertively unique three-dimensional form of composite material mesh, representing the well-known Z Zagato name.

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