On the 50th anniversary of its outright win at Le Mans, Aston Martin will return to La Sarthe with two Works LMP1 cars bearing the iconic blue and orange livery of Gulf Oil.
In an ambitious attempt to emulate the legendary achievements of the 1959 DBR1 driven by Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori, Aston Martin will endeavour to bring the Le Mans title back to Britain.
'2009 is a hugely significant year for Aston Martin at Le Mans and the challenge of reclaiming victory in this famous race for Aston Martin and Great Britain was simply too great to ignore,' said Aston Martin Chairman, David Richards. 'However, we do not underestimate the task. While we have won the GT1 class for the last two years, competing against the proven speed and endurance of the diesel-powered cars with all their years of winning the prototype class, will be a massive undertaking. Nonetheless, I see this as a great opportunity to showcase the ingenuity of British engineering talent.'
Dr Úlrich Bez, Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer commented: 'Racing has been, and still is at the heart of Aston Martin. Our cars today are subtle, elegant and handcrafted but they still have the genes for competition. I am happy that we have found partners who, with their support, will enable us to compete at the highest level of endurance racing. We will put all our heart and skill behind this project to demonstrate the essence of Aston Martin: Power Beauty and Soul.'
The new car which is based on the 2008 Charouz Racing System Lola will be powered by the same production-based Aston Martin V12 engine which, last year, helped Aston Martin secure its second successive Le Mans GT1 title with the DBR9. It also powered the Charouz car to a new La Sarthe lap record for a petrol car.
Aston Martin Racing is developing the car in conjunction with Lola, Michelin, Koni and BBS and continues its relationship with major partner Gulf Oil and official clothing partner Hackett. In 2009, the ACO is introducing new regulations aimed at balancing the performance of petrol and diesel engined prototypes making the LMP1 category more appealing and relevant to Aston Martin.
Signalling ongoing commitment to motorsport, in addition to the Le Mans 24 hour race, the team will also compete throughout the year in the Le Mans Series (LMS), which opens with the 1000 km de Catalunya on the 5th of April.
Aston Martin Racing Works drivers, Jan Charouz (CZ), Tomas Enge (CZ), and Stefan Mücke (DE), who raced the Charouz car last year will renew their relationship with the team along with Darren Turner (GB) who was part of the winning DBR9 GT1 crew in 2007 and 2008. Harold Primat (CH) joins the team for the first time in 2009 with the remaining driver to be announced imminently.
To focus maximum energy on the LMP1 programme, the Works team will not defend its GT1 title at Le Mans. However, Aston Martin Racing will support any of its official partner teams and customers competing at the race.
Aston Martin Racing partner, Drayson Racing, has expressed its desire to compete at Le Mans with the new Vantage GT2. This follows confirmation of the team's LMS entry and American Le Mans Series programme with a bio-ethanol powered Vantage GT2. Further announcements are expected in the weeks ahead as other Aston Martin Racing partner teams and customers confirm their plans for racing in the GT1, GT2, GT3 and GT4 classes of national and international racing series.
The Le Mans 24 hour race will be held over the weekend of 13-14 June.Source - Aston Martin
LOLA LMP1 CHOSEN BY ASTON MARTIN FOR 2009 SPORTSCAR PROGRAMME
LOLA MOST POPÚLAR SPORTSCAR IN ENDÚRANCE RACING Lola will supply LMP1 sportscars to Aston Martin Racing for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours and Le Mans Series. The Huntingdon-designed and built cars will be powered by a production-based V12 Aston Martin engine and race in the evocative blue and orange livery of Gulf Oil.
For Lola the Aston Martin LMP programme confirms yet another partnership with a major manufacturer, adding to previous collaborations with General Motors, Nissan and MG.
Martin Birrane, Executive Chairman of Lola Group commented: 'Lola's first collaboration with Aston Martin was 40 years ago with John Surtees racing the iconic Lola T70 MkIIIB with an Aston Martin engine. I am very pleased that Lola and Aston Martin Racing are competing together again, as the joining of these two great brands in 2008 proved to be very effective. I am hopeful that this partnership will be even more successful during the 2009 season'.
It has become evident that Lola sportscars are the design to have in global endurance competition. This season Lola will build on the success of 2008, which saw the Lola LMP1 Coupe score notable results at the Barcelona 1000kms with a debut podium finish, as well as an excellent 2nd place at the Silverstone Le Mans Series race. At the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Charouz entered Lola out-qualified one of the Audi R10 diesel entries and then went on to set the fastest lap of the race for a petrol engined car.
2009 will be a bumper year for Lola in all categories of endurance sportscar racing. Last year the Le Mans 24 Hours saw the Huntingdon constructor field the most cars on the grid. It was the largest entry for Lola since 1979. For this season Lola has high hopes that this particular record can be beaten with yet more LMP cars starting the world's greatest race.
The 77th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours take place over the weekend of 13-14 June.
LOLA LMP2 CAR TO SET THE PACE IN 2009 Lola Cars International Ltd today reveal the 2009 development updates to its LMP2 Coupe sportscar, which will see significant performance gains for this already successful design.
During the winter Lola has sold more LMP cars than any other constructor. The Lola designs are constantly evolving and for 2009 the LMP2 will see major revisions to the rear bodywork and undertray, developments that will give its customers significant performance gains. Lola engineers have also exploited a recent upgrade in its CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) capabilities, contributing greatly to the new look cars.
Commenting on the changes to the LMP2 design, Lola Managing Director, Robin Brundle said: 'Our engineers in Huntingdon have been working tirelessly in the on-site 50% scale windtunnel, honing new and innovative aerodynamic designs for the LMP2. As a company we are determined to prove that our customer sportscars are the fastest and most reliable on the grid. 2009 will see the hard work come to fruition and add more success to the Lola brand's rich heritage of winning in endurance racing.'
In the American Le Mans Series, Lola are supplying two cars to the Dyson Racing who will compete for the LMP2 crown with Mazda power. This combination got off to a flying start during the official pre-season test at Sebring in Florida last week.
Chris Dyson, driver and Team Principal for the Dyson Racing team said: 'I could not be happier to be behind the wheel of the latest Lola. The car is fundamentally very good and has a huge amount of potential. The engine is strong and the car's feedback gives the driver a lot of confidence.'
In Europe, Paul Ricard will be the venue for the traditional pre-season Le Mans Series test on March 8-9. Lola are set to have 8 LMP cars in action this season in the 5 round series, three in LMP1 (2 x Aston Martin Racing entries as well as the Speedy Sebah B08/60 car) and five in LMP2 (2 for Racing Box and one entry each for RML, Kruse-Schiller and Speedy Sebah).Source - Lola
Aston Martin Racing debuts new LMP1 car at Paul Ricard Test
Following weeks of intense preparation Aston Martin Racing ran its new LMP1 cars for the first time at the Le Mans Series test held at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France on 8/9 March.Car numbers 007 and 009 resplendent in their Gulf Oil International orange and blue livery took to the French circuit on Sunday morning. All six of the team's drivers, Jan Charouz (CZ), Tomas Enge (CZ), Stefan Mücke (DE), Harold Primat (CH), Miguel Ramos (PT) and Darren Turner (GB) got an opportunity to test the new cars.Members of the public were granted access to the Paul Ricard Test Track for the first time in 10 years and 3,500 spectators arrived on Sunday to view the on-track action from the newly installed grandstands. In total 28 of the 50 cars that will compete in the Le Mans Series took part in the official test with the Aston Martins taking centre stage.The team was encouraged by the performance and reliability over the course of the test and encountered no significant issues despite the cars having barely turned a wheel prior to the start of the test.The team suffered a setback on the afternoon of day one when the 007 car suffered an accident with Czech driver Tomas Enge at the wheel. Although the car sustained heavy damage, Enge walked away uninjured from the accident.Also taking part in the test was Official Partner Team of Aston Martin Racing - Drayson Racing with their No. 87 Aston Martin Vantage GT2. Drivers Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker used the test to benchmark the off-season improvements the team has made to the V8-powered machine. The results were encouraging as the Vantage GT2 performed well on its new Michelin tyres.The Le Mans Series consists of five 1,000km races, the first of which is the 1,000km of Catalunya which will take place on 5 April at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain. The other races take place at Spa in Belgium, at the new Algarve circuit in Portugal and at the Nürburgring in Germany where Aston Martin has its Test Centre facility. The series finale takes place on the team's home turf of Silverstone in the ÚK.In addition to the Le Mans Series, Aston Martin Racing will compete in the Le Mans 24 hour race which takes place on 13/14 June 2009.Quotes George Howard-Chappell Team Principal 'It's a credit to the team that both of our cars have run so reliably after such an intense and tiring build period. For a first test with two brand new cars we have run very successfully. Obviously the accident has set us back to a degree but as always we will recover and we will be in Barcelona with two race-ready cars. I am pleased that the new drivers are getting to grips with the car and are integrating well with the team and the ‘old hands' are also performing well.'Car 007
'The first impression of the car is that it looks stunning. I didn't get to do many laps, just 10, but the car was very stable and quick and we didn't experience any technical difficulties which was great as it is a completely new car. I'm looking forward to the first race to see how we compare to the competition.'Tomas Enge
'Considering how short a time the team had to build up the two cars we were running really well without any major problems. Únfortunately because of my error the test was compromised but prior to the accident the car was good and I believe that we will be even stronger than we were last year.'
'It was the first time for me in the new LMP1 and the first time it has run on a race track. The aerodynamics have changed quite a lot and I was expecting less down-force with the smaller rear wing but actually the car felt really good and the feeling was very close to that of last year's entry so I felt at home after only a couple of laps. The team has changed the exhaust system from last season and the engine note from the V12 is fantastic, especially on the long straight here at Paul Ricard. I am looking forward to the first race; it will be interesting to see where we are against the diesel cars. We had a good result at Barcelona in 2008 so I hope we can repeat this and get another podium this year.'Car 009
'My first test was ok, the car was good out of the box and it was impressive to see that it is running trouble free straight away. The team did a great job of preparing the car. I think the car has got great potential; we tried a few different set-ups finding a good solution for all of the drivers. The aim of the test was to get mileage under our belts, to understand the car and to find ways to improve it which is exactly what we did. My height can cause me trouble as I am pretty tall for a driver but I'm working with the team to improve the comfort.'Miguel Ramos:
'The LMP1 feels great, the speed on corning is great, I'm not yet used to it as I normally drive a GT car but it is getting easier. I am taking everything step by step and I'm trying to understand the car and how it reacts rather than pushing too hard. I'm comparing my lap data with the more experienced drivers and making adjustments each time I drive which means I'm improving every lap. My last lap was my fastest of the two days. The Paul Ricard circuit is really challenging for someone who is just starting out in LMP1 and the g-force is really tough physically.'
'The test has been really good, the car has run like clockwork and it is fitting reward for the guys from Aston Martin Racing who have put so much effort in over the last few weeks that we have managed to complete lots of miles. The main focus right now is to put miles on the new car and to allow me and my team mates to get up to speed. For me it is a big step from the DBR9 to LMP1 but I'm happy that after two days of testing I am starting to feel comfortable and I'm really looking forward to the first race in Barcelona and the rest of the year.'Source - Aston Martin
Ramos Joins Aston Martin Racing
Aston Martin Racing has added Portuguese driver Miguel Ramos to its LMP1 line-up for 2009. Ramos will join Aston Martin Racing Works drivers, Jan Charouz (CZ), Tomas Enge (CZ), Stefan Mücke (DE), Harold Primat (CH) and Darren Turner (GB).
Aston Martin Racing announced in January that it will make the move from GT1 to the LMP1 category and will compete in the full Le Mans Series and at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a two car team.
Ramos began his racing career in 1991 and has competed in the FIA GT Championship for five of the past six years and at Le Mans twice, most recently in 2005. Although new to Aston Martin Racing and the LMP1 category, Ramos drove a DBR9 in 2006 for Aston Martin Racing BMS.
'We are delighted to have Miguel with us this year and look forward to integrating him into the team,' said Team Principal George Howard-Chappell.
'I am pleased to be joining Aston Martin Racing,' said Ramos. 'I'm sure that the new car will be competitive and I am looking forward to the challenge of moving from GT1 to LMP1.'
Source - Aston Martin
Seven Aston Martin Entries for the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours
Following the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) press conference in Paris on 26 February, Aston Martin is delighted to report that seven Aston Martin race cars have been selected to take part in the 2009 Le Mans 24 Hours.
The 77th running of the race will take place on 13/14 June and invitees were selected from one of the largest entry lists in the history of the event. 82 teams entered the French classic hoping to secure one of only 55 places on the starting grid. Ten reserve cars have also been pre-selected should any of the 55 entrants withdraw prior to the race.
Aston Martin will be represented in three of the four classes and the split is as follows: 21 cars in LMP1, 12 in LMP2, 8 in GT1 and 14 in GT2.
Following victories in 2007 and 2008 in the GT1 category Aston Martin Racing is moving to the LMP1 class for 2009, a fitting decision 50 years on from Aston Martin's outright win at Le Mans in 1959 with the DBR1. The team was delighted to receive three entries in the LMP1 class in this special year.
Joining Aston Martin Racing in LMP1 is a single car entry for Speedy Racing Team Sebah who will be running a 2008 Lola powered by Aston Martin.
Although the GT1 field has diminished this year with Aston Martin Racing moving up to LMP1, two customer teams, Jetalliance Racing and Gigawave Motorsport have been granted entries for their DBR9s.
In GT2 Aston Martin will be represented by newcomer to Le Mans, Drayson Racing with their Vantage GT2, the only Aston Martin entry in a field of 14 GT2 cars,
The ACO also announced changes to the format of the event for 2009. The test day, traditionally held two weeks before the race has been cancelled and the first qualifying session on Wednesday evening has be changed to a six hour free practice.Source - Aston Martin
Aston Martin claims sixth place at 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours
Le Mans, 13 June 2010. Despite proving to be the fastest petrol-powered car at the Le Mans 24 Hours this year, Aston Martin's hopes of claiming the accolade of top petrol competitor were cruelly dashed by scenes of barely believable drama in the closing hour.
Nonetheless, the Aston Martin Racing team salvaged sixth place overall in the world's toughest endurance race thanks to the 007 line-up of Adrian Fernandez (MEX), Stefan Mücke (D) and Harold Primat (CH).
Aston Martin also claimed a podium in the GT1 class with Official Partner team Young Driver AMR, courtesy of Tomas Enge (CZ), Peter Kox (NL) and Christoffer Nygaard (DK). The team qualified on pole thanks to Enge – who claimed his sixth Le Mans pole in GT1 – and finished 22nd overall, equating to third in class.
Úp until the final hour the 009 car crew of Juan Barazi (DK), Sam Hancock (GB) and Darren Turner (GB), who had never raced together until Le Mans this year, seemed set to repeat Aston Martin Racing's fourth place result of 2009.
But with just 55 minutes of the 24 hours to go, the car slowed dramatically with smoke coming from the rear, finally stopping on its 368th lap near Arnage corner.
The 007 car set the pace among the petrol runners from the very beginning of the race and was at the forefront of the action until Sunday morning, when a gearbox bearing failure caused an unscheduled trip to the pit garage. Despite never having undertaken a gearbox repair of this complexity under race conditions before, the Aston Martin Racing pit crew completed the task in under an hour.
Having fought their way back up from 14th after the bearing problem to sixth, there was a further last-minute drama for the intrepid 007 crew when the Gulf-liveried car picked up a puncture with only 25 minutes to go.
Mücke was able to limp the car back to the pits in order to get the tyres changed, and he finally crossed the line at 3pm on Sunday to seal a bittersweet success for Aston Martin.
The 007 car proved its pace and reliability over 365 laps and more than 5000 kilometres of flat-out competition. Despite the varying weather in the build-up to the race, the Le Mans 24 Hours remained dry.
As well as the dramatic retirement of the 009 car, Aston Martin lost the 008 car run by French team Signature Plus at 10:00 on Sunday morning when Vanina Ickx crashed.
Únfortunately, the JMW Motor sport Vantage GT2 retired on Saturday night after Bryce Miller (ÚSA) crashed on the exit of the Porsche Curves, breaking his car's radiator and suspension uprights. Previously, the experienced Rob Bell (GB) – who started the race – was setting some extremely competitive times.
David Richards, Chairman of Aston Martin said: 'All in all this weekend was a success; we set out to prove that we were the fastest petrol entry here and whilst the result wasn't quite what we were looking for, we certainly proved the performance of the Aston Martins.
'We received such an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm and support from customers and fans alike. The team performed to their usual immaculate standards and I am especially pleased with our Official Partner Team Young Driver AMR who secured a podium. We hope and look forward to the opportunity to challenge for an outright victory in the future.'Source - Aston Martin
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