Aston Martin in Sportscar Racing

Aston Martin are a name synonomous with Sportcar racing, but their day of glory was way back in 1959, when their DBR3 won Le Mans and the World Sportscar championship.

Since then, they've never quite reached the level they seemed destined for. In the 70's a heavily modified V8 ran (slowly and unreliably) at Le Mans, but the arrival of Group C in the early 80s saw a return of the Aston name to happy hunting grounds.

EMKA and Tiga Turbo

The EMKA passes the Tiga Cosworth turbo at Brands Hatch

EMKA in the country at Brands

The EMKA in the country at Brands Hatch

With the Aston engined Cheetah and the Michael Cane run EMKA, the V8 was a favourite with small manufacturers, but it wasn't until the Nimrod project that Aston had an semi-official presence.

Nimrod at Le Mans 1983

The Nimrod project was run by Victor Gauntlet, then boss of Aston, as a seperate project and had a fairly good first Le Mans in 1983. The second generation Nimrod was lighter and stiffer and ran well. However, the Nimrod project died after a freak accident eliminated both cars on the Mulsanne straight in 1984.

Aston Martin Nimrod at  Brands 1983

With the end of the Nimrod project, it wasn't until the AMR1 that Aston returned, but, despite positive showings, the AMR1 was killed by Ford, who by then owned both Jaguar and Aston and saw little value in two Ford companies fighting each other in Group C.

Aston AMR1 at Le Mans 1989

In 2004, Aston announced their return to Sportscar racing, finally getting clearance from the Ford parent. The format was to be the FIA and ALMS GT series, with the new DBR9 GT racer.

In fact the Prodrive developed Astons proved very effective at GT1 runners. They run very competitively in the FIA GT series and the Le Mans series races.

Aston at Le Mans 2006
Aston at Le Mans 2006

Le Mans 2005, 2006 and 2007 saw titanic battles between the factory Chevrolet Corvette and Aston DBR9 teams, with Aston finally winning in 2007.

This success led to Aston installing one of their V12 engines in a Lola LMP1 prototype for the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours, with a view to a works entry in 2009.

Aston powered LMP at Le Mans 2008
Lola Aston finished 9th at Le Mans 2008

Their return was highly successful with a 4th place at La Sarthe (best petrol engined finisher, behind two Peugeots and an Audi) and the team also took the LMS series title, 50 years after their victory in the World Sportscar Championship.

Works Lola Aston at Silverstone, 2009
Lola Aston won Le Man Series 50 years after World Championship title

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