Good marketing for the new model I say, as the Rapide will compete in the demanding 24-hour race. This has also been the case with other recent Aston Martin road cars, the V8 Vantage and V12 Vantage. The race Rapide will be driven by a team of engineers from the company’s Gaydon headquarters in Warwickshire, England and will be led by Dr Ulrich Bez, the CEO of Aston Martin, as he did last year. He also explained that the endurance race represents the ultimate engineering durability test for any sports car as “it subjects the car to the toughest possible assessment under public scrutiny.”
The Rapide can carry four people in comfort but it is firstly a sports car and Aston Martin intends to subject the Rapide to the same tests as their sports cars. Aston Martin had already enjoyed victories in the SP8 class in 2008 and 2009 with the Vantage N24 and GT4 versions. Now if the 4 door Rapide does the same and achieves a class win, it would be good product placement and marketing for Aston Martin.
The Rapide race car will be close to the production version with only race safety modifications (roll cage, fire extinguisher, electrical kill switches, etc), interior trim removed to reduce weight, re-tuned suspension and slick tyres. One other item which will be changed but not stated in the press release would certainly be a smaller sized battery compared to the large DIN58827(or approximate version), which is truck sized. One of the reasons why the road car has a large battery is that it is required for very cold weather starts that cars may face during winter. This is something that tuners in over here should note as you do not need a large battery in warmer climates (top tip – most cars with DIN55 can get rid of this battery for a lighter NS60 battery)
The Rapide race car will be joined by a V12 Vantage which will only be slightly modified for racing. This car swept to a class win on its competitive race debut in 2009. The near production spec V12 Vantage finished in 21st place overall last year saw off competition from a field of largely specialist race cars in the SP8 class to claim an impressive debut win.
Some trivia. What Aston Martin did in 2008 was pretty unique. The class winning 2008 Vantage was presumed to be driven back from Germany to the factory in the United Kingdom after the race. Try that in any other fully prepared track car.
- the 2009 V12 Vantage racer at the 'Ring