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Click above for a high-res image of the 2009 Aston Martin LeMans Works LMP1

Aston Martin is ready to tackle the 2009 24 Hours of LeMans in a pair of Gulf-liveried LMP1 vehicles on the 50th anniversary of its only overall win in the Franco enduro. The two coupes are based on the 2008 Charouz Racing System Lola and will be powered by the same production-based V12 found in the LeMans GT1 DBR9. Development was performed by Lola, Michelin, Koni and BBS, along with Aston's largest partner, Gulf Oil. Driving duties will be handled by Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mücke, along with Darren Turner who was part of the team that campaigned the DBR9 GT1 crew in 2007 and 2008. Harold Primat is the newest addition to the team and one other driver will be announced shortly. Unfortunately, Aston won't be campaigning in the GT1 class in bid to focus all its efforts on LMP1 program. It's going to be an exciting year and we're hoping to bring it to you live the weekend of June 13 and 14. All the details are available in the press release below the fold.


Aston Martin to challenge for overall Le Mans win

Gaydon, 27 January 2009. 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 Ulrich 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.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      @AZZO45 b- I hope they will get a good risult at race.
      • 6 Years Ago
      No offense to Aston Martin, I am a HUGE fan of Aston's road cars, they are simply the most beautiful cars in the world, along with the Alfa 8c. But i don't think Aston has the engineering chops to run up there with the big guys.

      Audi has been in the LeMans business for a long time and has been dominating; just look at their many titles, Peugeot has had experience and sufficient financial banking, Honda with HPD has much experience with motorsports, Honda/Acura has the most financial backing and arguably the most engineering know-how out of the group.

      Astons have always been the best looking, most passionate cars on the road, but engineering marvels they are not.
        • 6 Years Ago

        You probably forgot the fact that Aston Martin's chairman is the mastermind of Prodrive, and Prodrive certainly knows a thing or two about race car engineering.

        Now whether Aston Martin has the "financial chops" to sustain the development in this racing series would be a different case.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Lola is probably doing all of the chassis development so you don't have to worry too much there. Those guys have been in motorsports for a while; in fact they used to make carbon fiber chariots for Ceasar.
      • 6 Years Ago
      P1 is going to get extremely exciting this year.

      I still think the Peugeot 908 is the best looking out of all the prototypes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That "nose" is why I love how the 908 looks, like a squat eagle flying at supersonic speeds. Much like the SR-71 Blackbird, looks as fast as it goes.

        About the Audi, I always prefer the looks of the R8R instead of the R10, it just looks more lean and agile. However I can't wait to see how the R15 looks.

        Seems like going to France this year won't happen to me financially speaking. Let's hope SpeedTV will cover the entire 24 hours this time, not like previous years where they typically slotted in couple hours of Nascar in between.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Unfortunately for us in the USA the P1 class will be Acura & privateers. The ELMS will get a private run R10 & the 908s.

        A good year to get to France to watch the LeMans 24 (where ALL these cars (except the new P1 Acura will be running...)
        • 6 Years Ago
        I like parts of the 908 (the nose is downright odd in looks & proportion), but my favorite was the Audi R10... stunning car. Hopefully the R15 will look as good only smaller (as they are dropping the V12 TDI).
      • 6 Years Ago
      They need to come to Sebring and Petit LeMans!!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Simply fantastic
      • 6 Years Ago
      Love the Gulf colors, reminds me of a time when LeMans was not the sanitized circuit it is today. If Mulsanne was returned to it's original 3 mile long configuration, imagine the decisions teams would need to make on how much downforce and thus drag to run. Cars topped out there around 250 mph as long ago as 1971 (Porsche 917 LH).
        • 6 Years Ago
        @So Slow, that is not saying much since the best circuits are no longer used or have been neutered. A short list, The Nurburgring (all of it), Monza, Spa, Targa Florio ( true road race ), Mille Miglia ( true road race ). But then again, my favorite motorsport is true motorcycle road racing such as the Isle of Man TT and the Northwest 200, so I guess my imagination is capitvated by truly difficult and dangerous circuits.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ So Slow, You are right on about Spa, it used to be a place that separated the men from the boys. It's just those chicanes along Mulsanne that just seem so wrong. I am not saying I will not watch though...last year was incredible!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am probably alone but it reminds me of the old Lola T-600's http://www.johnstarkeycars.com/images/articles/T600/T600_3x.jpg
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, you are alone!!! :) :) AM-Lola: No aero skirts over rear wheels, much wider, & no mickey mouse "ears" as air intakes for the engine. No exotic front aero blending into curvy carbon fiber undertray either. Sorry, I don't see much carry-over... other than they are both race cars.

        Lola was nice for its day... but modern prototypes have become OW cars with wind tunnel tweaked bodywork. They have their own unique "look" IMO.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Obviously the actual car won't look quite like the one pictured. This one doesn't seem to have any space for the front suspension arms as the top of the bodywork between the nose and the fenders is much lower than the front wheel center line. I hope they find a way to incorporate the Aston grille in the front as they did in the conceptual drawing but if they want an honest chance at winning overall, they'll probably have to come up with a front end that looks more like the Peugeot 908 or the Acura ARX-02a.

      I could be wrong though. Maybe super low-mounted A-arms and a gaping front grille can me overcome with quirky British engineering.

      I hope this thing beats the pants off the R15 at Le Sarthe and embarrasses Audi Sport into running full season efforts with Joest and Champion for 2010.
        • 6 Years Ago
        To me it looks like pretty detailed render. Not an early illustration or sketch. It's only two months before the car is already supposed to be testing and have it's first race soon after that.

        But it does look surprisingly simplistic... even compared to the Lola B08/60 chassis. Could it be nice looking and fast at the same time? Compared to the now extremely radical, but ugly, Acura ARX-02.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This car looks greater then the sum of it's parts.

      • 6 Years Ago
      This car MUST win.

      It looks too great and carries too much history to lose.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks nice, but only a major failure by the Audi R15 or the Peugeot 908 gets this Aston-Lola a P1 win @ LeMans
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Acura will not be entered @ the 2009 LeMans
        • 6 Years Ago
        Damn that sucks :(

        Maybe next year, and hopefully I have enough money by then to plan a trip to France on that Le Mans weekend.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good god this season is going to be awesome.
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