Aston Martin is looking to put the LMP1 programme of 2011 behind it with an assault on the GTE title
Before Aston Martin departed for the start of its new GT World Endurance Championship campaign, commencing with the Sebring 12 Hours on March 17, it launched its new V8 Vantage GTE car in London.
Many believe that GT racing is where Aston Martin belongs, especially after its disastrous attempt at building its own LMP1 car – the AMR-One – for the 2011 season. Hopefully its LMP campaign will be better remembered for the Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 that won the 2009 Le Mans Series.
“The foray into LMP racing was exciting for the period that we were there,” the chairman of Aston Martin, David Richards, told me. “But we always felt that we were there with one hand tied behind our back against the diesels. We seemed to constantly be fighting a political battle.
“Obviously we made our own mistakes as well, but that’s by the by. To go back to GT racing in a straight fight against cars that are our competitors in the market place – with racers based on the cars that we sell – is a very exciting prospect.”
Darren Turner, who has been an Aston Martin works driver since 2005, is equally excited about returning to the GT category, where he won the GT1 class in both the 2007 and 2008 Le Mans 24 Hours. “I really liked the challenge of LMP racing, but it’s more about finesse when it comes to the driving style. With GTs you have to grab hold of them and make them work for you. I’ve always enjoyed that type of driving!
“We had some really good years with the Lola-Aston Martin and we were always one of the top petrol teams. Last year the result at the Le Mans 24 Hours [when both cars completed a combined total of six laps] was not the result that any of us could have imagined.”
Here’s hoping that Aston Martin puts 2011 behind it with a proper challenge for the GTE Pro title in the 2012 WEC.