Under the new Automobile Club De L’Ouest (ACO) technical regulations for 2011, AMR thought it had the ideal opportunity to compete for top honors at the 24 Hour race despite tough competition. The new regulations were designed to properly balance the performance of petrol and diesel powered cars and thus AMR could break the stranglehold of the diesel powered Audi and Peugeot.
Confidence in the new regs was so great that AMR felt able to develop Aston Martin’s first purpose-built racing chassis and racing engine for more than 50 years. The engine was especially daring, a turbocharged straight 6 cylinder and unlike the previous racing V8 and V12’s, was not based on a production power unit. That said, success in the race track could well have lead to a production version being fitted to a future Aston Martin race car.
Work on the new chassis and engine began in early 2010 at the AMR headquarters in Banbury, UK and the first of a planned production run of six cars ran in early 2011. Unlike the leading Audi and Peugeot LMP1 cars, the radical AMR-One had a fully open cockpit. The body was designed to have minimal downforce and various ducts allowed air to pass through the car rather than over it.
The first race for the AMR-One was the 6 hours of Castellet, also the first round of the Le Mans series in April 2011. The single car entry qualified 11th overall behind a number of what should have been slower LMP2 class cars. In the race itself, the car finished 29th but as it had not completed 70% of the race distance was sadly not classified.
AMR decided to pull out of the next round at Spa and continued testing prior to the 2011 Le Mans 24 hours race where two cars were entered. During the race itself, disaster struck. One AMR-One retired after just two laps, the other car officially retired after four hours although almost all of that time it spent in the pit lane after completing only 4 laps. The AMR-One never turned a wheel in anger ever again. By the Silverstone round of the Le Mans series, the previous V12 engined Lola-Aston Martin LMP1 was again pressed into front line service. It turned out that the older car was both faster and more reliable than the newer one.
By the end of 2011, AMR announced that they had decided to discontinue development on the AMR-One and refocus back onto the GT class with the V8 Vantage GTE. AMR sold off the unused chassis to the racing team, Pescarolo and also to the radical DeltaWing project. The first view of an AMR-One following the premature end of it’s short racing life was at the 2013 Aston Martin Centenary Celebration at Kensington Palace now in private ownership.