Start frei für den Aston Martin GT4 #177 gefolgt vom Werks Aston Martin Rapide Hydrogen Wasserstoff

The weather forecast for the third VLN race did not look good. 90% rain probability for both days is not what you’re looking for driving the most difficult track on earth. This race weekend we had the first six guest of our season. They were part of the team on Saturday for the race and guests on the passenger seat in the training on Friday. On Friday afternoon dark clouds covered the sky and it started to rain. We fitted rain tires on the Aston and our guests received racing suits and helmets for the exciting wet ride through the ‘green hell’, as for the Nürburgring’s nick name given by Jackie Stewart. The temperatures were around 5 degrees with heavy rain and it was difficult to get the tires up to temperature. The guest taxi ride in the cold wet was around thirteen minutes long instead of the usual ten minutes per lap. After ninety minutes we drove all guest fast and safely around the track and were ready for the group shot you see here with seven happy faces. Now it was time to get the car to the technical check for the race the day after.

Unsere Gäste zur Taxi Fahrt im Aston Martin GT4 Rennwagen

On Saturday morning for the qualifying the weather had not improved. We decided to do only two laps per driver to keep the car safe and undamaged for the race. Both Andy and Ronny completed the two laps without issues. Two hours later for the start procedure it was communicated that two introduction laps instead of one will be driven. The temperature was still at five degrees and it rained. Furthermore it had fog on different parts of the track to block visibility.

Already the introduction laps posed a difficulty to some drivers. Ronny noted a badly damaged Peugeot 308 and less damaged Mercedes SLS and Porsche 911 cup. After these two very slow laps the race was released. “I was astonished how well the drivers behaved on the track and looked after each other, as I’ve rarely had a yellow phase in the first seven laps”, said Ronny after his first stint. It was Ronny’s first real wet race and therefore he took it on carefully. “It was very difficult for me to drive the car faster in the wet. I was just lacking the grip needed. We need to work on the setup of the car for these conditions to improve our lap times”, said Ronny after the race.

Fahrerwechsel Aston Martin GT4 #177

After seven laps Ronny handed the Aston to Andy who should drive the middle stint. “After one wet lap the track quickly dried and I improved my lap time by one minute. After the start finish line the steering suddenly became stiff and I spun on the GP track. I noticed that something is wrong and carefully finished the lap and drove into the pit”, said Andy Sammers after three laps. The problem was identified but it was not possible to exchange the part quickly during the race. The servo pump failed to operate and without the servo it was not possible to complete the race. “We have a great deal of work ahead of us, luckily we have almost eight weeks between now and the next race due to the 24 hours race”, so the conclusion of Andy Sammers.

Aston Martin GT4 Rennwagen #177 im Karusell Nürburgring

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©  2013 ARED Motorsport, Photo: Marc Weichert Fotografie and Julius van Ommen



A  new season brings us a new race car, our Aston Martin GT4. This weekend we participated at the first VLN race of this year. Because of the bad weather the last few weeks, we did not have any chances to test the car previous to this race.



The Eifel region meant well and we were welcomed by sunshine on Saturday morning. Competitors on our car this race were Ronny Tobler and Andy Sammers. During qualifying the track dried and was ready for the race start at noon. The grid was very large with over 200 competing cars.  The start is a flying start and the grid is separated into three staring groups.  The three groups are led onto the track with a time delay to evenly spread the cars on the 25 kilometre long circuit. Ronny was the starting driver, in his rear view mirror the mighty Aston Martin Rapide S Hydrogen. The start including the first lap went without issues. “The Aston Martin GT4 gives its driver a lot of confidence from the start and is very easy to handle even when things get a bit unstable”, says Ronny Tobler after his first stint. At the end of the first lap at break point on the start/finish straight the car was wobbly. Two curves later in the Mercedes Arena the tire separated from the rim. Ronny drove slowly into the pit. The analysis from Pirelli showed that we had a puncture. Below 1.2 bar the tire separates from the rim.  After a seven minute delay the Aston #177 could re-join the race with a set of new tires.


Already in lap 2 there were accidents happening that resulted into many yellow and double yellow flag situations. Double yellow means that the drivers have to reduce their speed to 60km/h. The actual doing is verified by GPSAuge, a GPS and mobile data system, that tracks the cars location and speed and feeds the information back into the pit. “Because of the new penalty system the drivers break very hard when yellow flags are shown. This resulted in many ‘almost accidents’ in front of me”, Ronny Tobler quoted after the first stint. After 6 laps Ronny came in and handed #177 over to Andy Sammers, who drove his first VLN race with us. Also Andys path led him to many yellow flags, but after three laps he found his rhythm and continuously improved his lap times. “It was incredible fun out there but at the same time worrying how much crashes happened in this race”, said Andy Sammers after his first stint. “We can be very happy about what we achieved and I very much look forward to the next race in two weeks time”.

After Andys stint, Ronny took over for a second time to carry the Aston over the finish line. Also in the last stint many accidents happened what made fast laps difficult. Ronny also continuously improved his lap times and brought the Aston safely into Parc Fermé, the locked down area, where cars have to wait for possible objections from other drivers or teams.

“For a first test and race we achieved the maximum possible. Without the tire damage in lap 2 we might have reached a podium finish which are promising perspectives. Many thanks belong to the team which made this event possible, thanks to Oliver Uhlmann, Walle Bresin and Jörg van Ommen Autosport for a fantastic preparation and care during the race”, says Ronny Tobler after the race.

In two weeks time we start into the second race of the VLN season on April 27th 2013. A summary TV show is broadcasted by Sport1 and will be shown on TV Saturday April 20th at 10:45.

This season we publish our photos on Facebook in an Album per Race (Link).

© ARED Motorsport, Photos: Marc Weichert Foto and Julius van Ommen. All rights reserved.


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