The Aston Martin Vantage GT8 will make its debut at the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race in February 2017 with R-Motorsport, competing in the invitational class for production cars.
Aston Martin factory driver, Darren Turner (GB), will lead the charge and will be joined by one of the R-Motorsport team owners, Florian Kamelger (I), and Markus Lungstrass.
Held annually at Mount Panorama in New South Wales, Australia, the Bathurst 12 Hour is technically a street circuit that presents a multitude of challenges, not least the tight and narrow section that runs across the top of the mountain. In stature it is as important as the Nürburgring 24 Hours and the Spa 24 Hours.
R-Motorsport is the racing arm of Aston Martin St. Gallen and are Aston Martin Racing’s representative in Europe. The team competed at the 2016 Nürburgring 24 Hours, taking third place in class and the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour will be the team’s third attempt at the big race.
Team boss Florian Kamelger said: “We are extremely proud and honoured that a long-time relationship with Darren has led into this very exciting project to compete at Mount Panorama in such an iconic GT race car. Going back to Bathurst for the third time is an exciting prospect for all of us.”
The Aston Martin Vantage GT8 is a limited edition sports car produced by the British manufacturer’s in-house Special Vehicle Operations division. Inspired by the world-beating V8 Vantage GTE cars that compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Vantage GT8 is the lightest and most powerful production V8 Vantage ever. Powered by a 4.7-litre V8 engine, the Vantage GT8 was limited to just 150 examples and all are sold out.
The Vantage GT8 that Aston Martin has provided to R-Motorsport for the race already has a strong racing pedigree after making its competitive debut at the Nürburgring 24 Hours earlier this year. Despite ultimately not finishing due to accident damage, falling just 14 laps short of the eventual class winner, the car comfortably led the SP8 class and took pole position for the race.
The Bathurst 12 Hour is on every racing driver’s bucket list as mastering Mount Panorama is one of the most exciting challenges the sport has to offer, as Darren Turner explains:
“I’m hugely excited about going to Bathurst as it has been on my list for a long time,” he said. “It’s one of those iconic circuits that has held some amazing races that I have seen on television and drivers who have raced there tell me it is an incredible experience. The 12-hour enduro gains in status every year and it’s high time that I got to have a go!
“We raced the Vantage GT8 for the first time at the Nürburgring 24 Hours,” Turner continued. “We were competitive, running at the front for the majority of the race. The car is very rewarding to drive and it gives you the confidence to push from the word ‘go’. I’m looking forward to joining R-Motorsport for this race and driving with Florian and Markus.”
Aston Martin has already tasted success at Mount Panorama, most recently with a podium finish in the 2015 race for the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3. The 2017 edition of the Bathurst 12 Hour takes place on 5th February 2017.