No stranger to the Nurburgring, Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez has competed at the legendary racetrack since 2006, but this weekend’s event was different. That’s because Bez wasn’t behind the wheel of an Aston Martin, but a race-prepped Lexus LFA.
Bez and Toyota President Akio Toyoda swapped rides for the ninth round of the 2011 VLN series race, with Toyoda piloting Aston’s new V12 Zagato.
“Other company bosses meet on the golf course, we race together,” says Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez.
Rather than a PR stunt, both Bez and Toyota describe the ride swap as result of their friendship, which has developed over the years at the Nurburgring. With up to 200 cars competing on track and a limited number of pit stalls, teams at the Nurburgring are forced to share space with their competitors. Both Aston Martin and Toyota’s Gazoo Racing have done so several times in the past.
“As I learnt that our teams would share a garage once again I renewed my invitation to Akio Toyoda to drive an Aston Martin race car and I was delighted to accept his offer in return”, said Dr. Bez. “We have raced side by side regularly since the 2008 24 hour race here at the Nurburgring. Since then a personal friendship has developed into this decision to experience each other’s race cars.”
Competing in the SP8 class both executives started in their own cars and almost didn’t get the chance to make the switch when the #114 Aston Matin was struck by another car and forced to pit for significant repairs. Back on track before the end of the race, the LFA and V12 Zagato crossed the finish line side-by-side, with Bez in the Lexus and Toyoda in the Aston Martin.