IT SAYS A LOT about a company when its CEO slides behind the wheel of one of its race cars for a bit of wheel-to-wheel action. It says even more when the CEO helps pilot that car to victory in the world's most grueling endurance race.
Dr Ulrich Bez, the dynamic leader of one of Britain's most famous exports, Aston Martin, has done exactly that, helping steer the just-launched V12 Vantage to class victory (and 21st place overall) at last weekend's Nurburgring 24 hour enduro.
The V12 Vantage came first in the SP8 class, ahead of KTN's Audi RS4, Team Gazoo III's Lexus IS-F and Team Gazoo I's Lexus LF-A. Assisting Dr Bez and taking turns in the V12's cockpit were British journalist Richard Meaden, racing driver Oliver Mathai and Aston Martin's Chris Porritt.
"For V12 Vantage we have demonstrated the reliability of our new car for all to see," Dr Bez said after the race.
"I have said before that for me this race is the ultimate endurance test so for our new car to win the class on its debut and for our customer teams to perform so well amongst such respected competition is the perfect result for Aston Martin."
"This week as we launched the V12 Vantage to the world?s media we have proved the car?s ability on the road, and we have ended it here at the N?rburgring by proving its ability on the track."
The race-going V12 Vantage wasn't all that dissimilar to the production model either, making the car's class win all the more remarkable. The engine was virtually identical to that in the road car, with the only race specific additions being a modified suspension, racing slicks, stripped interior, roll cage and fire suppression system.
The V12-powered Brit reportedly had some competition from one of the Lexus LF-A prototypes, but after it caught fire and retired from the race the Aston had top spot all to itself.
Think you can handle all of the V12 Vantage's 'Ring-conquering might? The super-quick Aston goes on sale locally later this year, and with a retail price of $395,000 it's quite the supercar bargain.
Better place your order quick though. No more than 25 V12s are expected to be brought over here, and most, if not all, of them are already spoken for.