Third year running for Yokohama and Aston Martin at Nürburgring
This weekend sees the third year for the partnership of Japanese tyre manufacturer Yokohama and one of the most iconic sports automotive brands, Aston Martin, in motorsport. Once again, the two brands will work together as a pair of Aston Martin Vantage N24s compete in the Nürburgring 24 Hours. Both cars will be fitted with Yokohama ADVAN racing tyres and will be looking for a strong finish from a field of more than 200 starters.
Aston Martin will be running the two cars itself, as it has done for the last two years, as part of an in-house development programme for the N24 model. Created as the ultimate track day car, the N24 is fitted with Yokohama ADVAN A048 road-legal track tyres. However, for this race weekend, both of the entered cars will be fitted with ADVAN A005 dry slick or ADVAN A006 wet specification tyres, as used as control tyre in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.
The cars are identical specification to those which discerning drivers can buy. The bright yellow car, affectionately known as ‘Rose’, uses a traditional H-pattern gearbox while its sister car, christened ‘Kermit’ thanks to its bright green paintwork, uses the company’s SportShift system, with two Formula One-style paddles mounted on the steering wheel.
At the wheel of Rose for the weekend will be accomplished drivers Oliver Mathai, Matthew Marsh and Japanese driver/journalist Shin-Ichi Katsura, who will be following the team’s progress in print in Japan.
Driving Kermit will be Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ulrich Bez and Aston Martin Program Manager Chris Porritt. Accompanying them will be British journalist, Richard Meaden and Wolfgang Schuhbauer, development engineer and driver. These four are no strangers to either the Nordschleife or the race, having competed together last year while Dr. Bez and Chris Porritt drove two years ago.
The ADVAN racing tyres drew critical acclaim at last year’s event, with Meaden praising the A005’s consistency, performance and predictability in allowing him to set six laps with identical times towards the end of one stint. He also said that the ADVAN tyres gave him the confidence to commit to some of the circuit’s more demanding corners and the durability helped the team to avoid punctures, which many of their competitors suffered.
Also in attendance this weekend will be Yokohama’s General Manager of Motorsport, Akinori Tokeida. He will be able to witness, first hand, the progress of the team and in particular, the efforts put in by the Japanese brand to ensure success for both cars.
Another occasion taking place this weekend will be the opening of Aston Martin’s dedicated test facility at the Nürburgring. Located directly opposite Yokohama’s own facility, this will become an engineering workshop and base for the manufacturer, allowing it to carry out performance and endurance testing on arguably Europe’s most famous and arduous proving ground.
The race itself begins at 3pm local time on Saturday 24 May and ends 24 hours later on Sunday 25 May.