Next weekend will see Japanese tyre manufacturer Yokohama partner Aston Martin for the sixth time, as the iconic marque enters the annual Nürburgring 24 Hours race. Four Aston Martin racecars will use Yokohama tyres: the two in-house cars which traditionally feature well and the two Young Driver AMR team V12 Vantage GT3s.
The event is one of the highlights on the motorsport calendar and features a huge entry, ranging from full endurance-specification racers to production hatchbacks with safety modifications only. It uses the infamous Nordschleife circuit, referred to as the 'Green Hell', the 20-kilometre circuit nestling in the Eifel Mountains in Germany.
The in-house Aston Martin team will field a pair of cars; the V12 Vantage dubbed 'Zig' will make a welcome return, after leading its class for much of the race in last year's event. This year, the car will again be driven by Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez, development driver Chris Porritt, Wolfgang Schuhbauer and British journalist Richard Meaden.
As it was last year, Zig will be prepared and run by an in-house team from Aston Martin, using minimal modifications to enhance safety rather than outright performance. The concept is to demonstrate the marque's reputation for performance and durability in the face of one of the world's most demanding endurance races.
Partnering it will be a V8 Vantage, dubbed 'Smurf' and driven by Jurgen Stumpf, Robert Thomson and Mal Rose.
In addition to the two near-production specification cars, the two Young Driver AMR V12 Vantage GT3 racers will also use Yokohama tyres. The first car will be driven by Aston Martin's World Endurance Championship team of Stefan Mucke, Darren Turner and Thomas Enge and joined by Oliver Mathai.
The second car will feature the line-up of Dennis Rostek, Fredy Barth and sons of racing legend Hans Stuck, Ferdinand and Johannes. This car enjoyed an excellent debut two weeks ago, when it competed in the four-hour VLN round at the 'Ring with the Stuck brothers and Rostek claiming 13th in class and 18th overall, from a field of almost 190 starters first time out.
Commenting, Head of Motorsport at UK distributor Yokohama HPT Ltd, Mark Evans, said; "We are incredibly excited to be partnering again with Aston Martin at this year's Nürburgring 24 Hours with such a strong line-up.
"We know from previous years that the Gaydon team performs very well - they have a superb combination of preparation and on-event teams combined with a fast and experienced driver line-up and we hope that they are able to repeat last year's pace, which saw them leading the event.
"We are also very excited to see how the two GT3 cars will fare. The Enge/Mucke/Turner combination is vastly experienced and extremely quick while it will be a privilege to see the sons of racing legend Hans Stuck competing on Yokohama tyres at one of the world's most challenging endurance races."
The race begins at 4pm local-time on Saturday 19 May and ends 24 hours later.