Aston Martin is developing a LMP1 racer to take on Peugeot and Audi at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. The car is based on 2008 Lola Charouz Racing car which used Aston’s V12 engine last season, so the car is basically the same but aerodynamics are heavily revised along with a new styling. Unlike the main rivals, this car runs on petrol. Its first public appearance could be at a test in Paul Ricard on March 8 and racing debut will be at Catalunya on April 5, beginning of LMES season, ahead of the 24 Hours in June.
Aston Martin chairman David Richards admitted that the company’s sights were set on victory, with this year marking the 50th anniversary of his company’s only previous triumph in the event.
“How on earth did we get here? How could Aston Martin be so audacious as to go to Le Mans and challenge the benchmark teams with their turbo-diesel engines and the record of experience that they have had over the last years?” said Richards.
“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. It’s a leap of faith and a step into the unknown for us, it really is a David and Goliath exercise, but it is that British fighting spirit that we are going to give it a try and see what we can do.
“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. But one thing is for certain that unless you give it a go, you are not going to achieve anything.”
The Charouz driving squad of Stefan Mucke, Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge will be retained by Aston Martin Racing for the Le Mans effort and a full LMS campaign.
The trio will also be joined by Briton Darren Turner, who has won the GT1 class with Aston Martin Racing for the last two years, and Harold Primat. A sixth driver is expected to be announced shortly.
Richards added that AMR have filed three entries for the 24 Hours, but that plans for a third car are far from finalised.
“We have the first test at Paul Ricard at the beginning of March, we will enter two cars in each of the Le Mans rounds, and we will have a test programme throughout the year,” he said.
“There is the hope that we will run a third car at Le Mans, and we have actually entered three cars, but the third car is not yet a certainty.”
via : Autosport