If you had to name a marque that was totally immersed in racing you might say Ferrari with it’s Formula 1 exploits and F430 racing, or maybe Porsche with its LMP2 car and countless 911 racers. But then there’s Audi, McLaren of course (but I consider this more a racing team than a marque), Mercedes, Audi, Renault, BMW and countless others.
One you may not have considered though is Aston Martin. I only bring this up as I received an email earlier in the week informing me that Aston Martin had competed in the GT1, GT2, GT3, GT4 and LMP1 classes at the weekend between the FIA GT racing at Brno and the 1000km at Silverstone. Not just competed it seems, as they ended up with nine podium finishes and three wins. Not bad for a company that no one wanted to have anything to do with a matter of a decade ago?
Their LMP1 car is getting ever closer to the diesel cars of Audi and Peugeot and no doubt will be hot on their heels once the new rules come in next season, which are hoping to rein the diesel juggernaut in.
Further down the grid at Silverstone were the two DBR9s (which came a convincing first and second in the LMS GT1 Class Championship) and then, making its European debut, James Watt Automotive fielded the new Vantage GT2. Having only received the car on Wednesday and undertaking only one test at Pembrey before practice got underway last weekend, it’s a miracle they not only finished the race, but finished with two points for coming seventh.
I was kindly invited to the race by Total and thanks to a great viewing position on the exit of Bridge, I was in the perfect place to soak up the rumble from the Vantage GT2, the crackle from the DBR9 and the scream from the LMP1 car. What a shame the Peugeots had ‘one of those days’, otherwise it would have gone down to the wire. So why bring all this up? Well it just crossed my mind mid-race a) how much more accessible the racing was compared to Formula 1 and b) how impressive the Aston Martin’s turnaround has been.