Aston Martin signed off from the 2014 ADAC Zurich Nurburgring 24 Hours with their best ever Nordschleife performance, having taken an overall top five and three class podiums.
The Aston charge to the Nurburgring was led by the Aston Martin Racing team of Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Pedro Lamy in the Bilstein blue and yellow Vantage GT3. Mucke gave the team a top ten start sport to start for the race but the early hours of the race were filled with delays centring around the fuel pump servicing the teams’ garage.
However, with a mix of pace and consistency that could easily have seen them fighting for victory had their luck been different the trio fought their way back up the order into the top five. In the final stint it fell to Lamy to protect the team’s position from a #20 BMW tea, themselves fighting back from a late accident.
“I was expecting that it would be a relaxing final stint,” explained the Portuguese. “I just needed to bring the car home but then I had the BMW come out if the pits right behind me and it was looking to take the position.”
The BMW had the measure of the Aston but smart driving from Lamy and some of the luck – in the form of slower traffic – that had been absent at the start of the race kept the #007 entry in the top five, completing 157 laps, two laps off the victors who set a new distance record for the race.
Aston Martin Test Centre entered teams provided three class podiums. Running as #100 the team of motoring journalists Dickie Meaden and Chris Harris and Nordschleife regulars Oliver Mathai and Andreas Guelden completed 137 laps, despite damage after contact with one of the leader GT3 cars to take second place in the SP10 class in their V8 Vantage.
A second V8 engined machine – this one closer to road-going spec – powered the team of Dr. Ulrich Bez, Wolfgang Schuhbauer, Mal Rose and Peter Leemhuis to third in the SP8. The team of Egon Allgäuer, Marcus Mahy, Liam Talbot and Peter Cate used a V12 Vantage to take second in the same class.
“I came to Nurburgring in 2012 as a guest of Aston Martin and I was blown away by the teams, cars and drivers, but thought that, having no racing experience, I would never be able to compete here,” said Talbot.“However, the Aston Martin Test Centre team enrolled me on the Driver Training Academy and from there I got my race licence. Now, just two years later, I’m stood here on the podium and I couldn’t be happier.”
A customer Aston Martin team, led by Russian Dmitriy Lukovnikov, picked up third in the SP10 ten class, promoted onto the podium after long time class leaders Team Mathol Racing had to retire their Aston Martin Vantage just a few hours from the end of the race.