Aston Martin EMKA
The Aston Martin EMKA was the product of Michael Cain Racing on behalf of Steve O'Rourke, manager of the the Pink Floyd rock group, so as to able to compete in Group C of the World Sportscar Championship during the 1983 season. The origin of the name 'EMKA' comes from the first two letters of O'Rorkes daughters names, Emma and Katherine. The advanced chassis was designed by Len Bailey of Ford GT40 fame: a neat aluminium monocoque with a flat bottom and air tunnels to provide some primitive ground effect. The normally aspirated V8 engine was especially developed by Aston Martin Tickford Ltd and was rated at 570bhp. This was attached directly to the rear bulkhead and acted as a fully stressed member. The car featured a distinctive 'cab forward' driving position.
The red car (chassis #001), debuted at the Silverstone 1000km race in 1983, but unfortunately retired on the last lap whilst in unlucky 13th place with a rear wheel bearing failure.
During Le Mans in 1983, a race dominated by turbo Porsches, with the driver line-up of Steve O'Rourke, Tif Needell and Nick Faure, the car came 17th, the first British car home and winner of the Motor Trophy.
The team withdrew from racing in 1984, partly due to lack of sponsorship and partly because of a new rule in Group C to limit fuel consumption by 15% - a rule later abandoned. This allowed time for substantial design changes with revised rear suspension, larger hubs, new bodywork and a deletion of the ground effect. In effect, they partly cloned the red car (chassis #001) into the newer white, blue and black 'Dow Corning' car (plated and entered as chassis #002). The Dow Corning car debuted in the Silverstone 1000km race in 1985 but again the car failed to finish as a rear bottom wishbone failed after 70 laps. Le Mans of 1985 was a different story as the EMKA actually lead the race just after the one hour mark for a whole 9 minutes - the result of a clever refuelling schedule! With the same driver line-up as 1983, the EMKA eventually finished 11th, and again was the first British car home.
Some considerable time after 1985, chassis #001 was reassembled, which as a result of the development of chassis #002, had ended up as a number of disparate parts. Now both cars can be seen competing in the Historic Group C championship. The photograph at the top of this page is of chassis #002, the 'Dow Corning' car, taken during the AMOC Group C Invitation race, Donnington Park, May 2000.