The 24 Heures Du Mans is the world’s toughest endurance race, which has, over recent years, been dominated by the likes of Audi and Peugeot who spend huge amounts of money to ensure a win in this most famous of races in France.
While bespoke English sports car manufacturer, Aston Martin, has performed well in the last two 24 Le Mans races, as well as in the equally competitive Le Mans Series, a podium finish has proved all but out of reach.
The problem for Aston Martin, is that their LMP1 class cars are petrol powered, and while they have consistently been the fastest petrol cars, the diesel entries from Peugeot and Audi have simply been too fast.
But all that’s about to change under the new Automobile Club De L’Ouest (ACO) technical regulations for 2011, and Aston Martin might have shot at a podium finish next year, with or without, the diesel juggernauts.
Aston Martin Chairman, Dave Richards said, “In recent years, it has been impossible for petrol cars to compete on equal terms with the diesels. However, we now have assurances from the ACO that, with the adoption of the 2011 regulations, they will properly balance the performance of these new cars. Under these circumstances we have been prepared to develop Aston Martin’s first purpose built racing chassis and engine for more than 50 years”.
That said Aston won’t be able to come close to the racing budgets of either Peugeot or Audi, but that won’t worry the folks at Gaydon, who seem to relish the underdog status.
The new car looks to be completely different to the current racer, with an open cockpit appearing to be the most obvious difference.
Apparently, work on the chassis and engine has been underway for several months in Banbury in the UK, where up to six cars will run from early in 2011.
It’s a superb looking racer and Aston fans around the world, will be hoping for some close racing with Audi and Peugeot next year.