Image credits: © Aston Martin.

2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2

Aston Martin Racing reveals Vantage GT2

Aston Martin Racing has revealed the first impressions of its new GT2 racing car.

Known as the Vantage GT2, the new car is based on the V8 engined Aston Martin Vantage road car. The new car will mean Aston Martin is the only manufacturer to offer cars in every GT racing category: GT1 – DBR9; GT2 – Vantage GT2; GT3 – DBRS9; GT4 – Vantage N24.

For the first time, Aston Martin Racing is designing this car to run on either standard race fuel or E85 bio-ethanol (where regulations allow). In 2007, Aston Martin Racing successfully converted a standard DBRS9 to run on E85.

2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2Robin Brundle, Aston Martin Racing's new managing director, said: 'The new Vantage GT2 completes our product portfolio for 2008 wîth competitive cars now available in every category. Thanks to our experience wîth the DBRS9, we have been able to develop a bio-ethanol fuelled version, which will be eligible to compete in an increasing number of series now accommodating this greener fuel, including the American Le Mans Series.'

Aston Martin chairman, David Richards, will be announcing Aston Martin Racing's 2008 plans at the Autosport International show on Thursday 10 January at 10:45 am.

Source - Aston Martin

An exciting partnership, pioneering green technologies for motorsport in 2008

The ÚK's Lord Drayson and his long-term racing partner, multiple British GT and Touring Car title-winning outfit, Barwell Motorsport, have formed a joint venture, Drayson-Barwell (D-B), to enter the 2008 American Le Mans Series. The team is an Official Partner Team of Aston Martin Racing.

As part of this relationship, Drayson-Barwell will compete wîth the first new Aston Martin Vantage GT2 chassis (001) to be built by Aston Martin Racing. The team will run in the distinctive Aston Martin Racing Green colour scheme made popular by the Works outfit, and will work exclusively wîth Aston Martin Racing on the development of the Bio-Ethanol GT2 car. In 2007 Barwell and Paul Drayson successfully pioneered the use of bio-ethanol fuel in the British GT series, and this environmental leadership in motorsport will continue as the Vantage GT2 car will run on the latest ‘2nd Generation' cellulosic E85 Bio-Ethanol fuel in the ALMS.

Drayson-Barwell will also continue to develop and pioneer green technologies for motorsport in 2008, wîth the aim of competing for the inaugural ALMS Green Challenge Trophy taking place at Petit Le Mans on October 4th.

2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2Paul Drayson is a former British Government Minister, who has taken a leave of absence to pursue his dream of competing in Le Mans series competition and ultimately the Le Mans 24 Hours in a ‘Green' race car. Together wîth Barwell Motorsport, he has now formed an alliance that will pursue this common goal over the next three years.

Paul is greatly lòòking forward to making the step to ALMS: 'The ALMS is a serious challenge for both the team and me. 2008 will be a development year for us racing wîth a brand new GT2 car running bio-ethanol fuel. (concept carz) The ALMS is a world-class series and shares our vision for ‘Green Racing'. I'm really lòòking forward to driving this beautiful new Aston Martin Vantage GT2 on some of the most challenging and iconic circuits in the world'.

Vital Stats and Specifications
Vital Stats
Engine : 4.3 L., 8-cylinder

Barwell Motorsport MD, Mark Lemmer, comments: 'Paul and I share the same vision, to be successful at Le Mans and to be at the forefront of developing ‘Green' technologies within motorsport. Over the last two seasons we have been laying the foundations for our joint venture, and Drayson-Barwell's newly formed partnership wîth AMR allows us to move closer to our combined goal.'

Whilst the team waits for the delivery of its new Aston Martin Vantage GT2, Paul's Aston Martin DBRS9 (FIA GT3-specification) chassis and engine will be used in the first two rounds of the series at Sebring and St.Petersburg. The DBRS9 has been accepted to compete in the IMSA GT2S class of the ALMS at these rounds. These events will provide an ideal platform for the team to learn about the series, before the arrival of the GT2 car for round three at Long Beach on April 19th.

Source - Drayson-Barwell Racing

Drayson-Barwell makes a point at Mid-Ohio with 10th place finish

After a week of turmoil and a drama-filled race, the Drayson-Barwell ALMS team came through to finish 10th in GT2 and score their first championship point at Mid-Ohio on Saturday. This was an incredible triumph over adversity for the hard working British team, and was just rewards for some gritty performances from drivers Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker, and a great all-round team effort.

After an engine failure on their Aston Martin Vantage GT2 curtailed the proceedings at the last round at Lime Rock just one week ago, the Drayson-Barwell crew were burning the midnight oil during the Mid-Ohio race week as they had to swap the engine out of the spare car into the race car.

The E85 (2nd Generation) Bio-Ethanol fuelled car then suffered further engine problems during Friday's first practice session at Mid-Ohio. Fortunately we had arranged for Aston Martin Racing to fly out the engine from their test and development car as a ‘new' spare, and this arrived in the Mid-Ohio paddock first thing Friday morning. It didn't sit around for long (!), and the crew thus had to carry out another engine change on Friday, and Paul and Jonny were forced to sit out the official qualifying session.

2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2On top of all this we were waging a constant battle against the Ohio summer heatwave, which was turning our car into a furnace and cooking the drivers inside. We had to wrap as much of the car and pipework as possible in heat reflective material, as driver cooling was a major issue without the benefit of the air conditioning system which broke at Lime Rock. Whilst the exact cause of the breakage is under investigation, it was too risky to run a patched up system in case it broke again during this race. If this wasn't enough work, we also had to find a solution to stop the drivers having to brace their left foot on the clutch which was causing severe clutch wear in a short timespan. The tight confines of the Vantage GT2 cockpit meant that this was no easy task.

Paul thus started from the back of the grid in Saturday's 2 hour 45 minute race, which was held in front of a capacity Mid-Ohio crowd, and was immersed in drama early on when he received a heavy side-swipe from an LMP2 prototype car on lap three. Fortunately the Vantage GT2 is a tough little beauty and the LMP2 car came off a lot worse, and so Paul was able to carry on and started to put in some strong lap times despite the intense heat of the Ohio summer. Whilst his cool suit managed to keep his upper body cool, however, the exhaust pipes in front of the pedal footwell did their best to fry his feet and lower legs!

If this didn't make life hard enough, about half way through his stint the gear lever broke in half as he was changing down through the gears for a corner! This left him wîth about a three-inch jagged piece of metal to use as a gearstick, but he completed his hour-long stint and handed the car over to Jonny in 12th place out of the 14 GT2s.

Jonny thus had to endure this hot and difficult car for the next hour and a half, and considering the handicaps he had to deal wîth he put in some incredible lap times to keep the car in the hunt for the all-important last point-scoring 10th position. He handed back to Paul wîth 15 minutes to go, after a determined and gritty performance, and had moved up to 11th spot but was nearly two laps behind the Robertson Racing Ford GT.

Then wîth a little over five minutes remaining the Ford suffered a problem and lost a wheel at the far side of the track. It made it back to the pits on three wheels a few seconds still in front of us, but was powerless to resist Paul sweeping by to take 10th place. To cap off our most successful event of the year so far, Paul also achieved third place in the ‘Founders Cup' for amateur privateer drivers. This is an award based on how close on average lap times in the race the amateur drivers in all classes get to the pole position lap time of their specific class. This result was thus rewarded wîth our first trophy of the season!

Source - Drayson-Barwell

No joy for Drayson-Barwell at Lime Rock

The Drayson-Barwell American Le Mans Series team re-commenced its season last weekend, after the June ‘Le Mans' break. Round 5 of the ALMS championship was held at the beautiful Lime Rock track in the Connecticut countryside, where the fast and narrow 1.5 mile circuit presents the drivers and teams wîth some unique challenges.

The biggest challenge that drivers Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker faced was dealing wîth the LMP prototype cars trying to squeeze past them at regular intervals. Even on this small track there was nearly 10 seconds a lap difference between the fastest LMP cars and the GT2s, and on the Friday practice day there were numerous clashes between the two classes, one of which sadly put the Robertson Ford GT out of action for the weekend. Our Aston Martin Vantage GT2 survived a couple of skirmishes, but this was a big problem for everyone at Lime Rock.

During the break from action since the last round in May, Aston Martin Racing had carried out some productive engine development work to our V8 4.2 litre powerplant, and Paul reported better straight line performance as soon as he got out in the car. Únfortunately our chassis engineers had virtually no chance to work on the handling of the car during practice, as there were so many stoppages to the track sessions due to accidents that no really meaningful running was done. Jonny did a good job in the circumstances to qualify the car 9th in GT2, and the pit crew performed an absolute magic trick by changing a broken power §teering belt during the official qualifying session – a task akin to putting a toy ship inside a bottle !

2008 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2The 2 hour 45 minute race was held in absolutely blistering heat on Saturday, wîth over-heating drivers being a major concern for the day. Paul made a good start and held his place over the opening few laps, as he hung on to the main GT2 pack. Soon, however, he came on the radio reporting that he was having problems stopping the car for the corners. This problem persisted and after a few off-course excursions, Paul had to really cut his pace in order to deal wîth the problem. He hung on gamely for 23 laps but then said that he really felt the car was unsafe to drive and came into the pits. During the stop we checked externally for any signs of brake or suspension problems, but couldn't see anything after an initial inspection.

We therefore put Jonny in the car to see what he felt, and immediately he reported the same problem and said that he had a sticking throttle. He returned to the pits straight away and the crew took the cover off the top of the engine, where part of the throttle system was found to be broken. This had been the cause of Paul's problems from early on in the race, and meant that the throttle was staying on even when he had lifted his foot off the accelerator pedal. Sadly there was no way of fixing this problem quickly and safely and the number 007 Drayson-Barwell Aston Martin was out of the race.

This was another tough break for the hard-working Drayson-Barwell team, who have undoubtedly taken on an enormous challenge this year by competing wîth the new bio-fuelled Aston Martin Vantage GT2 in the ALMS.

Fortunately for us, the level of this challenge, and the fighting spirit and commitment shown by our team is fully appreciated by the people at the highest level of the ALMS and IMSA organizations: 'The Drayson-Barwell team have chosen to take on the most challenging set of circumstances in sportscar racing,' said American Le Mans Series and IMSA Chief Operating Officer and Race Director Tim Mayer. 'Not only have they chosen to take on some of the world's best sportscar teams, not only are they racing on wholly new and incredibly challenging circuits unlike anything in Europe, not only are they taking on the challenge of a new fuel type, but they have also taken on the challenge of developing a totally new race car. In spite of these challenges, they have shown themselves to be relentless competitors, wîth a great attitude and fantastic spirit.

'Paul Drayson faced a doubly challenging race at Lime Rock Park this past weekend. The tight nature of the circuit means that the cars are racing within inches of each other constantly. It was clear to us from race control that he was facing car control issues right from the start, so he had our full attention, as there is no room for error at Lime Rock. As we learned later, his throttle was intermittently sticking open, which presents the driver wîth frightening and very challenging circumstances. In spite of all of this, while clearly having a very rough ride for himself, he managed to control the car to the extent that other cars were able to race next to him, and when the car did take him off, he had the presence of mind to drive to the outside line, to the track's safe zones.

'From the perspective of the Race Director, for a Gentleman driver to be able to demonstrate such presence of mind and car control in these circumstances gives me great confidence that Lord Drayson is both amply suited for the series, which is blessed wîth some of the greatest professional sportscar drivers in the world, and will ultimately become an excellent competitor in the GT2 ranks.'

Source - Drayson-Barwell
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