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  Aston Martin DBR9
 

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Country of origin:Great Britain
Introduced in:2005
Numbers built:12 works and 20 customer cars (proposed)
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:June 13, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionMotor racing heritage is an important part of the Aston Martin heritage, even though the last real success dates back to 1959 when Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby scored the marque's only overall victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Between then and now a number of attempts to return to the forefront were made at least once every decade, some more successful then others. The most competitive attempt was the well prepared Group C effort in 1989 with the meticulous AMR1, but it was abandoned after Ford feared it would interfere too much with Jaguar's racing efforts.

In the following years Aston Martin concentrated on modernizing their line-up, which came to full completion with the all aluminium Aston Martin DB9 coupe and convertible, which entered production in 2004. Almost ten years had passed since someone last attempted to race an Aston, so statistically it was time for a new effort. The British manufacturer teamed up with Prodrive to form Aston Martin Racing and set out to construct a racing version of the DB9. Prodrive had earlier in the decade constructed a highly successful racing version of the Ferrari 550 Maranello, which secured a Le Mans class win in 2003.

In November 2004 Aston Martin racing took the wraps off the DBR9 racer at the company's Gaydon headquarters. Like the Aston racers of the 1950s it was painted bright metallic green with bright yellow accents. In its construction the new GT-racer is similar to the DB9, but a lot of excess weight is stripped off and most of the suspension parts are strengthened. The output of the V12 engine is increased from 450 bhp to 600 bhp, despite breathing through restrictors. An extensive bodykit with a big splitter and diffuser is rounded off by a rear wing big enough to iron a pair of pants on.

Aston Martin Racing intended to use the 2005 season for development by a two car works team. From 2006 privateers can take delivery of a customer version, which would be of the identical specification of the works racers. At the teams racing debut at the Sebring 12 Hours, it was immediately obvious that much more development was required; the DBR9 scored its first class victory in a very strong field. The team's main aim for the season was the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and in preparation for the 'Big One', the cars raced just once more, scoring a one-two victory in the Silverstone round of the FIA GT championship.

On June 5th the two DBR9s lined up for the test day of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Both the front bodykit and the rear wing were of a slightly different design than used in the previous outings. For class honours the Aston Martins were faced with strong competition from the new Corvette C6.R and the old 550 Maranello; the other Prodrive product. The return of Aston Martin to the legendary French track was followed with a lot of interest by the gathered press and spectators. The British team did not disappoint and concluded the nine hour test in the top two places in class.

Featured are the two DBR9 Le Mans entries, pictured at the test day. The starting numbers can't be accidental, and underlines Aston Martin's desire to secure the biggest victory since the '59 win.

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  Article Image gallery (206) Specifications User Comments (2)