• Sep 12th 2010 at 6:34PM
  • 11
Aston Martin's 2011 LMP1 challenger for the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Click above to enlarge image

The Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), which oversees various Le Mans series in Europe and elsewhere, laid out a number of changes to the 2011 LMP1-class cars, aiming to equalize performance between diesel- and gasoline-engined cars. Sniffing a chance to not only steal some thunder, but perhaps beat Audi and Peugeot over the head with it, Aston Martin plans a brand-new LMP1 entrant for 2011 to go for overall Le Mans victory.

An open cockpit, monococque single-seater with a new engine, it would be the first racing Aston developed entirely in-house in fifty years. The biggest X factor is whether, and how much, the regulations will actually work to close the diesel/gas disparity. If it's close, Aston Martin Chairman Dave Richards believes his company is in with a shout. Follow the jump for the press release.

[Source: Aston Martin]
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Silverstone, 11 September 2010. Aston Martin will return to the legendary Le Mans 24 Hour race in 2011 with a new LMP1 race car designed to compete for top honours.

The new Gulf Oil liveried car is being designed from the ground up with an Aston Martin open cockpit monocoque chassis and a new purpose-designed race engine.

Under the new Automobile Club De L'Ouest (ACO) technical regulations for 2011, Aston Martin now believes it has the opportunity to compete for top honours at the 24 Hour race against tough competition including the diesel-engined competitors. As with all Aston Martins, the new LMP1 will be petrol-powered and designed to make the best use of the ACO's stringent regulations.

Aston Martin Chairman, David Richards said: "Having won the GT category twice at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008 and the Le Mans Series outright in 2009, we still want to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the 24 Hour race overall to bring the title back to Britain.

"In recent years, it has been impossible for petrol cars to compete on equal terms with the diesels. However, we now have assurances from the ACO that, with the adoption of the 2011 regulations, they will properly balance the performance of these new cars. Under these circumstances we have been prepared to develop Aston Martin's first purpose-built racing chassis and engine for more than 50 years.

"Even with this new car, it will still be a 'David and Goliath' fight against the massive resources of our competitors, but we have become accustomed to this and relish the challenge."

Work on the new chassis and engine has been progressing for several months at Aston Martin Racing's headquarters in Banbury, UK and the first of a limited number of six cars will run in early 2011.

Dr. Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin said: "Racing is a fundamental part of Aston Martin's heritage and Le Mans is the race that every true sports car maker aspires to win. While every aspect of this new LMP1 car has been built purely for racing, we also remain committed to developing race-winning GT cars based on our road cars. We are the only manufacturer to offer a race car for every category from GT1 to GT4."

Aston Martin's first and only outright victory at Le Mans was in 1959 with the DBR1 of Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby. Aston Martin Racing has been at the pinnacle of endurance racing since it was founded in 2004 with multiple factory and customer wins across the globe including two GT1 class victories at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008, and an overall Le Mans series win in 2009.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's too bad they're switching to an open-top design, especially with Audi rumored to go with a coupe for next year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah I'm with you here. I still don't understand the logic in racing an open cockpit car considering the increased drag... You can't gain THAT much time in driver changes....

        F1 and other open-wheel series do the open cockpit thing, lets keep LeMans a race that is based primarily on production vehicles...
      • 5 Years Ago
      good, as beautiful as their cars are they are starting to be undeveloped when compared to other cars in the same class. they need a new motor/transmission lineup especially.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Next year could be the great equalizer as V10s and V12s are no longer eligible in LMP1, Audi and Peugeot will have all new cars as well, and from what I've been hearing, 2010 could be the end of diesel's dominance. Aston's budget is still much smaller than the other two, but I think they could be closer than they have been in the past.
      • 5 Years Ago
      With this race season starting to come to a close, I truly look forward to seeing the Aston brand compete on the LMP stage next year.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice homage to the original DBR in the extractor vents behind the front wheels

      • 5 Years Ago
      Wait, what happened to the required closed-cockpit designs for all teams? Is that not in 2011? Is that ever going to happen?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Don't think so...
        I wonder though, with the speed the currents cars are picking up it would make more sense to require that the LMP cars are open cockpit as to limit the top speed somewhat.
      • 5 Years Ago
      wonderfull news!
      would be awesome to see those fightin with the diesels.
      bring it on!
      • 5 Years Ago
      loving the livery
        • 5 Years Ago
        I love that DBR1-ish vent. Though I honestly cant tell if that's part of the livery or an actual vent. I guess I'll find out soon enough.
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