In under a week, the Aston Martin Racing team will be putting the new ground-up developed AMR-One LMP1 prototype race car through its toughest test yet in front of a 250,000 strong crowd at the Le Mans 24 Hours on 11-12 June.
The British team are returning to La Sarthe to continue the development of the new Aston Martin Racing AMR-One in its inaugural year on the 8.4 mile (13.6km) circuit. 2011 has seen the re-invention of the Aston Martin Le Mans programme with an innovative prototype car designed ultimately to make the best of the new technical regulations balancing the performance between diesel and petrol engine competitors. All that is carried over from 2010’s entry is the iconic orange and blue Gulf Oil livery.
The AMR-One features a new 2.0 litre straight six turbo-charged engine designed and built by Aston Martin Racing. The new open-cockpit car was only given the green light in September 2010 and since then the team has been busy designing, building and developing the car ready for its most demanding challenge yet. The main aim for the team at Le Mans this year will be to accumulate valuable experience and information to support its challenge for top honours later in this ambitious three year programme.
As is tradition, Aston Martin will be running the famous starting numbers of 007 and 009 adorning the two works-entered Gulf liveried AMR-Ones. Driving the 007 car will be Darren Turner (GB) Stefan Mücke (D) and newly joined ex F1 ace, Christian Klien (A). Piloting the 009 car will be Harold Primat (CH), Andy Meyrick (GB) and Adrian Fernandez (MX).
On how the car and the team have been progressing in 2011, Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell said: “Time has not been on our side in the build up to Le Mans, however we have made significant progress since our first outing with the car at Paul Ricard in April. We have recently come back from a test in Monza where the engine has demonstrated better reliability, and our drivers have reported very positively on the car’s balance and handling.”
“We won’t be pushing the car to its maximum potential this weekend, as we need to build up to that. It’s a three year programme; we’re in the early stages of the car’s birth so it will be nice if we can run reliably; the performance will come later.”
The Aston Martin factory team will be joined by three customer teams, Kronos Racing in the LMP1 category with their V12 powered DBR1-2, Jota Sport with their GTE-Pro Vantage and Gulf AMR Middle East with their GTE-AM Vantage.
Howard-Chappell continues: “I am delighted that Kronos, Jota and Gulf AMR Middle East join us this year at Le Mans; I know the fans will be thrilled to watch and hear the V12 and V8 Aston Martins battling it out on the circuit.”
The 24 hour endurance epic begins at 15:00 on Saturday 11 June with live television coverage on Eurosport and commentary via Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com).