Aston Martin, Mercedes take Nürburgring by storm

Aston Martin One-77. — AFP picAston Martin One-77. — AFP picLONDON, May 20 — British carmaker Aston Martin gave its fans 100 reasons to remember this year’s endurance race with a parade through history.

What better way to mark a first centenary in business as a sportscar manufacturer than with a 100-car parade around one of the world’s most famous — and equally notorious — racing circuits. The Nürburgring has become the benchmark against which all cars with racing aspirations measure themselves — from Audi, BMW and Mercedes to Ferrari, Porsche and Lamborghini; even American cars such as Cadillacs and Corvettes are now sent to Germany as a supercar finishing school.

Yesterday, just ahead of the start of the 41st ADAC Zurich Nürburgring 24 Hours, Aston Martin’s CEO, Ulrich Bez, driving a one-off speedster concept, the CC100, devised, developed and built especially for the occasion, led a multimillion-dollar parade of Aston’s brightest and best models, among them the DB5 used in the recent James Bond film “Skyfall,” a One-77 hypercar and the 1959 Nürburgring 1,000 km-winning DBR1 with original driver Stirling Moss at the wheel.

These were followed on the 22km circuit lap by scores of enthusiast owners who had traveled from across Europe to take part in the iconic gathering of Aston Martins and had brought with them everything from modern classics such as DB9s, DB3s and DB2/4 dropheads, the models that established the company’s credentials and provided the springboard that would eventually catapult the DB5 and the brand to international stardom.

Aston Martin wasn’t the only car company out in force at the event. Mercedes raced a number of its high-performance road cars against its W02 Mercedes F1 car piloted by none other than the sport’s most successful driver — Michael Schumacher.

The stunt, organized by Mercedes as part of the car-maker’s celebrations of the endurance race, saw an A45 AMG, an E63 AMG S-Model, an SLS AMG Black Series and an SLS AMG GT3 all line up against a fully fledged F1 car. To ensure the other cars stood a chance, the race used a staggered start so that the least powerful of the quintet, the 355bph A45 AMG (0-100kph in 4.6 seconds), pulled away first and Schumacher’s car went last so that all five cars crossed the finish line together. — AFP/Relaxnews


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