Garage 59 has taken a podium finish at the 2020 Nürburgring 24 Hours after battling through constantly changing track conditions at the already challenging Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Alexander West, Chris Goodwin, Darren Turner and Jonny Adam steered the #59 Aston Martin Vantage GT8R to podium success, avoiding the spins and crashes that befell so many of the other competitors.
The weather often has a part to play in this event but this year the pandemic forced it to be moved from its usual early summer date to autumn, which vastly increased the chances of rain interruptions. Little did anyone know that the 24-hour race would have to be red flagged in the night for over nine hours when the combination of darkness, fog and rain became too treacherous for the cars to continue circulating.
The Garage 59 squad had a good start to the race on Saturday, with Aston Martin works driver Darren Turner getting away well and gaining a position, taking the Vantage up to third in class. The team then cycled through the drivers with West up next, followed by Goodwin. The focus was on the tyres as the cold temperatures were playing havoc with grip levels.
When Jonny Adam got in the car, seven hours into the race, the grip level suddenly got a whole lot worse. Just a few minutes into Adam’s run, the race was red flagged. Darkness had fallen but so had a blanket of fog and heavy rain so it was too dangerous to continue. The organisers took the smart decision to stop the race until morning.
At 08:00hrs the race restarted so Adam finally got to do his first stint. Further competitive and trouble-free cycles through all four drivers brought the new Aston Martin Vantage GT8R safely to the chequered flag and to a third place podium finish.
“It feels good to get to the end of a race like that,” said team principal, Andrew Kirkaldy. “We expected bad weather at this time of year but the conditions were very difficult at times. We put a lot of work in to prepare for this event, not least the two NLS races we entered to get invaluable experience of the Nordschleife, so it’s great to come out the other end with a trophy. It was good to see the team and the drivers digging in and battling through this race.”
Aston Martin factory driver, Darren Turner, was pleased with the team’s performance across the board, commenting: “The team was exceptional. They made all the right calls at the right time and we ran an uncomplicated and smooth race. Alex did a great job in really tricky conditions and Chris really drew the short straw with the run into the night and then into the heavy rain in the morning. It was good to race with Jonny again, although you don’t really see much of your team mates during 24-hour races. The Vantage GT8R did exactly what we expected it to do, showing good pace and not missing a beat so despite everything the weather threw at us we were able to come through and take a podium finish.”