ASTON MARTIN HAS no shortage of experience on the track, but where its recent race cars have been based on the V8 and V12 Vantage cars, the British company is set to enter the new Rapide super-saloon in this year's 24 Hours Of Nurburgring.
Aston's Rapide will race in near-standard specification, except for FIA-mandated changes that include re-tuned suspension, race wheels with slick tyres, safety modifications and a stripped interior for reduced weight.
Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin CEO, will lead the team of four drivers made up mostly of engineers from the company's Gaydon headquarters in England.
"This race represents the ultimate final engineering durability test for any sports car – it subjects the car to the toughest possible assessment under public scrutiny, Mr Bez said.
"The Rapide has the capability to carry four people in comfort but first and foremost it is a sports car and we will subject it to the same tests we would our other sports cars."
The Rapide is powered by Aston Martin’s 6.0 litre V12 engine, developing 350kW (470hp) and 600Nm (442lb-ft) of torque.
Power is transferred to the rear wheels via a ZF six-speed automatic transmission.
Weighing nearly 2000kg, the Rapide covers the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.1 seconds, on its way to a top speed of around 288km/h (180mph). With its stripped interior, Aston's Nurburgring entry will likely shave a hundredth or so of a second off its 0-100km/h time.
In Australia, the 2010 Rapide starts at $366,280, plus on-road and dealer delivery costs.