The design of the first true Aston Martin prototype for more than 20 years is under way.
Aston Martin Racing, which this year ran a factory programme with highly-modified Lola coupés, has been working on the new LMP1 contender for two months. The aim is for the car to be on the grid for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours.
It will be the first Aston prototype since the AMR1 built by Proteus Engineering for the 1989 World Sports-Prototype Championship.
Aston Martin chairman David Richards, whose Prodrive firm runs AMR, pushed the green light on the project earlier in the summer. It was decided that it should not race until 2011 when the Automobile Club de l’Ouest firmed up its engine rules for next season in August.
“We have made no secret of the fact that we want to build a complete car ourselves, but we want to do it properly so we need a proper plan,” Richards said. “That is one of the reasons why we are looking at 2011.”
Richards explained that AMR had brought in new designers to bolster its engineering capabilities and insisted that finance for the project was already in place.
The car will be powered by an all-new bespoke racing engine developed by AMR in conjunction with Aston Martin.
Richards went public on the plans for a new car at the Le Mans Series finale. AMR clinched the drivers’ and teams’ LMP1 crowns at the Silverstone event.
AMR has yet to work out its plans for 2010. Richards explained that his favoured scenario was to sell the existing fleet of Lola-Astons to customers to enable his team to “focus on the new car”.