AMR Prodrive
AMR Prodrive

Aston Martin Racing (Prodrive)

(2003 - date) On the 4th December 2003, AML confirmed all those rumours that they would be returning to international motor racing and announced the creation of a new division within the company to be known as Aston Martin Racing. The Aston Martin Racing programme is overseen by Aston Martin’s Product Development & Motor Sport Director, Jeremy Main, and run in conjunction with Prodrive, one of the world’s leading motor sport specialists. Prodrive are responsible for the design and development of the cars as well as overseeing their performance when racing.
AMR Prodrive

Development of the first new race car the DBR9, based on the V12 DB9, began in late 2003 and was first shown to the press in November 2004. In it’s first ever race at the 12 hours of Sebring, car 57 achieved a 1st in the GT class. Then to Silverstone the the Tourist Trophy FIA GT race where the two car team came in both first and second.

Expectations were high for Le Mans and the cars ran strongly at the front of the GT1 field for most of the race. Sadly, with just 90 minutes remaining, both cars hit trouble with car 59 eventually holding third place within the GT1 class and 9th overall.

A second race car, aimed at the GT3 class, the DBRS9, was unveiled at Le Mans 2005. Less extreme than the GT1 car and closely based on the road car, the DBRS9 has sold successfully to private teams around the world.

For the 2006 season, privately owned and works supported DBR9’s started racing in the FIA GT1 championship, Le Mans 24 hour race and both the American and European Race Series. For a second year at Le Mans, the works cars fought well but the top place of the podium eluded them. Whilst over the the US, works cars competed against the Corvettes in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

DBRS9’s were also first seen on the race track during 2006 in the FIA GT3 championship competing against the Ferrari F430, Lamborghinis, Corvettes and similar cars. The DBRS9 is also a popular choice for national GT championships on both sides of the Atlantic.

In a surprise announcement, AMR unveiled a V8 Vantage Rally GT in September 2006. Whilst this is not the first Rally Aston Martin (see DB2/4) it is the first purpose built example; Prodrive, partners in AMR have of course extensive experience with Subaru World Rally Cars.

For 2007, the works AMR team concentrated their efforts on Le Mans whereas works supported teams and private teams with DBR9’s competed in the Le Mans series and FIA GT events. At their third attempt, the AMR team finally achieved an historic victory at Le Mans in the GT1 class. Not only this, but all of the six DBR9’s that started the event were classified finishers. This is perhaps the greatest success for a single marque at Le Mans ever.

2008 and Aston Martin had cars competing in all classes of sportscar racing with the introduction of the GT V12 engine to a Lola LMP1 closed prototype and the unveiling of a GT2 version of the V8 Vantage, seen racing in the ALMS during the latter half of the season. At Le Mans, the works cars in distinctive and iconic Gulf livery again too overall honours in the GT1 class.

2009, the Works team has moved fully into LMP1 with the Golf liveried Lola Aston Martin. Early success in the LMS and AMR are aiming for an overall win in the 24 Heures du Mans in June – the 50th Anniversary of the only overall win by the DBR1 back in 1959. A sole private DBR9 is to compete in the GT1 class together with a V8 Vantage in GT2. AM’s are represented in 3 of the 4 classes at Le Mans

The Aston Martin N24 (GT4) is featured in the section for Gaydon cars since it was initially built at Gaydon by Special Vehicle Operations. I believe that construction of the N24 has recently transferred to the Banbury based Aston Martin Racing in partnership with Prodrive. For 2009, the car was renamed as the GT4 with the arrival of the uprated 4.7 litre V8 engine. The car has been successful for the past 3 years in the 24 hour race at the Nürburgring, being joined by a sole V12 Vantage in 2009.