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Старый 26.05.2013   #1
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По умолчанию Aston martin 100 лет (1913-2013)

So what do you if you’re a film star on a weekend off, with a penchant for Aston Martins and a licence to kill? You don your sunglasses and head for the Nordschleife on a special undercover mission to infiltrate Aston Martin’s Nürburgring centenary celebrations.

Aston Martin’s participation in the 2013 Nürburgring 24 Hours stretched to more than just the four racecars in the main race itself. In fact, at Sunday lunchtime during the build-up to the race it also literally stretched the entire length of the Döttinge Höhe straight, as 104 Aston Martins took to the Nordschleife for a very special parade lap – which Speedhunters joined in on.

The parade itself wasn’t unexpected – and neither were the four demonstration cars that would lead the main 100-car train. Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez would head the initial quartet in the just-revealed CC1000 roadster…

…with Stirling Moss in the DBR-1 in which he won the 1959 Nürburgring 1,000km next up, followed by a 1953 DB3 and modern One-77 hypercar.

But there was really only one man who was qualified to drive the silver DB5 that would lead the main 100-car parade…

Yep, James Bond himself: Daniel Craig. Craig was a special guest of Aston, whose attendance was kept deliberately secret to reduce unwanted media interference. Security kept what media there was at bay, in deference to the fact that this was a private visit.

Prodrive boss and Aston Martin shareholder David Richards was also on hand to oversee proceedings.

Aston were awarded this special privilege by the organisers of the Nürburgring 24 Hours as part of the company’s ongoing centenary celebrations. There will be even more to come as the year progresses.

Aston Martins of varied age had been arriving in droves over the previous couple of days, parking up in a designated area just off the paddock entrance to the GP track, with its own access road that joined the Nordschleife at Hohenrain.

Owners had gathered from all around Europe and beyond for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Contemporary Astons might have dominated…

But there were also plenty of specials like this Zagato…

A good representation of 1970s V8s…

And even older classics like this DB2.

I’d spied an unused two-storey TV scaffolding position overlooking the track, but couldn’t find a way to it: locked gates barred my way. I looked jealously up at the TV crane as well – ah, to get access to that for an overhead shot! Then the one of the Aston Martin PRs tapped me on the shoulder…

Boris, the ‘airpicture driver’, had asked if anyone wanted to use the crane during the TV downtime. Despite the 42 metre extension, it was too good an opportunity to miss. So up I went.

With security having hustled out all the extraneous media (the buzz around Bond had spread like wildfire around the paddock), the AM owners were able to get a look at the star in their midst.

As my hoist climbed further into the sky, I was turned towards the track for a quick look in that direction: the Nordschleife really is incredible…

But I had to wrench myself away from ‘Ring envy and concentrate on the incredible sight below.

The owners were all lined up and assigned numbers by the organisers so they could be led out onto the track in order. Aerials in the bag, I descended back to ground level…

… and went to find my own mount for the parade lap. I would be driven around by a veteran of the Nordschleife, Aston Martin’s Head Of Motorsport David King, so I was in experienced hands. It was just a shame that the lap would be limited to 60kph, and that I’d be trying to take pictures from the low-down leather seats of the Vantage.

As the leading quartet headed out for their higher speed demo lap…

… the 100 Astons were lined up ready to join them next time round.

With Daniel Craig leading off.

Unbelievably, this would be my first real lap of the Nordschleife. That’s the drawback about usually being stuck behind a camera I suppose. But it was still an incredible experience, taking in all these sections of track that I’d normally only see from behind the barriers. The sweeps of the opening section through Hatzenbach and Quiddelbacher Höhe and the steep rise to Flugplatz…

Downhill and then the compression up through Fuchsröhre, around Adenauer Forst and Metzgesfeld…

… all the time passing the thousands of enthusiastic spectators lining the track.

The track then started its sinuous descent down to Wehrseifen…

…bottoming out over the Adenau road-bridge before climbing right through Ex-Mühle and heading to the long right-hander of Bergwerk.

Through each of the slower, more twisty sections the Aston convoy would bunch up, but then on the longer, straighter segments the drivers would have a chance to gun it, and the air crackled to the sound of exhausts from singing V8s and V12s – much to the happiness of the ecstatic crowd at Steilstrecke.

Another long run uphill, with the prize awaiting us at the top. I’d walked there through the forests on Friday – now I was approaching the concrete-block fairground ride that is the Karussell. “What’s it like to drive across?” I’d asked David. “Let me show you!” David replied, as he hooked the Vantage left and dropped into the meat of the corner, letting the other cars continue around the perimeter.

Bumpy doesn’t begin to describe the Karussell. It’s like the car is driving over a washboard interspersed with a city speed bump every two metres. It seems bizarrely slow –how it’s faster than the outer line for most racecars I don’t know… But I’d like to find out for myself next time.

Still the crowds loomed out of the forest, a sea of flags, faces and beers as we traversed the graffiti-covered course.

All too soon we reached the final stretch of Döttinge Höhe and the run to the end of the lap. Whilst I took the opportunity of a straight to squeeze out of the window and look back at the stream of Astons behind me…

… Hide was waiting at Tiergarten looking at me!

Dr Bez in the CC100 had the joy of knowing that he’d be soon out on course at racing speed in the 24 Hours itself, driving as part of the crew for the hydrogen-powered Rapide S…

… but even those who had just driven a slow parade lap obviously savoured their experience.

Back in the paddock Daniel Craig took time to look around the cars on show, chatting to Stirling Moss and Dr Bez before heading into the main GP track area for a brief visit.

So the CC100: the traditional Aston Martin styling cues are there, but the width! The length! The super aggressive, lowslung shape! It’s an impressive machine, a beautiful combination of old and new: part DBR1 roadster and part One-77, but all Aston Martin.

The car was designed and built in less than six months, which is testament to the skills of the design team at Aston Martin. The brief was to create a car that bridged from Aston’s history to their future. Quite a challenge, which they seemed to have ticked off nicely with the CC100.

Carbon fibre is extensively used throughout, though that doesn’t necessarily signal a wholesale change away from lightweight aluminium. I interview Aston Head Of Design Marek Reichman recently, and he talked about the fact that the traditional material manufacturers weren’t standing still in the face of the carbon onslaught – we’ll have more on that in a following article.

The Speedster design is certainly striking, and the CC100 must be a blast to drive: just one has been built so far, but there seemed to be hints of a second car also being made.
James Bond, a brand new concept car, 100 Astons on track… and one very happy Speedhunter. Aston Martin managed to stir up a heady cocktail at the Nürburgring. I wonder if the next Bond film might now feature a sequence on the Nordschleife…
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100 year, aston martin

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