Next year’s Formula 1 grid could include a pair of cars wearing Aston Martin logos. According to a recent report, the British carmaker, which last competed in F1 in 1960, is reportedly planning to return to the sport in a tie-up with one of the existing teams. Aston Martin, which has had discussions with two teams, would not become an engine supplier, but just a brand partner with one of the squads currently using Mercedes-AMG engines.
In a report published late last week, Autosport said the company was looking to enter a partnership with Red Bull Racing, which would receive Mercedes engines as part of the deal between the Germans and Aston Martin. As you may recall, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer owns five percent of Aston Martin and will supply its future road cars with AMG engines. The scenario was quickly denied by Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, in an interview with Motorsport.
However, Autosport returned today to claim that Aston Martin has had discussions with Williams and Force India, two of the four teams using Mercedes power units this season. If such a deal were to happen, Aston Martin would get its logo on the car’s airbox, the report adds.
When contacted, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer provided a vague response, saying that "...if something drops into our lap and if suddenly those stars align, would I consider it? Yes."
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Since the 2016 Aston Martin Vulcan isn’t street legal, and will only be built in very small numbers, there is a limited number of times that most people could reasonably expect to see one up close. Sure, it was shown publicly at the Geneva Motor Show, but seeing it there couldn’t possibly match the experience of seeing it in action. Fortunately, the public had the opportunity to see exactly that at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, as the Vulcan made its public track debut there. And of course, it spent a fair amount of time sitting on display again as well.
The Vulcan, with its 800-horsepower 7.0-liter, naturally aspirated V-12 engine and fully carbon fiber body, is something of an engineering exercise for the company, which has never before made something so powerful or fast. But it is also something of a halo model, having been made with a design language which will trickle down to the rest of Aston’s lineup. While the merits of a halo model which few people will ever see is debatable, the car is very impressive, and Goodwood was an appropriately English setting for its debut.
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When talking about art cars, the BMW Art Car Project is definetely the most iconic example that comes to mind. From the race cars painted by Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol in the 1970s to the most recent M3 GT2 of Jeff Koons, the BMW Art Car Project is proof that cars and art can mix together in a brilliant way. It’s been exactly 40 years since the first art car, Calder’s 3.0 CSL, raced at Le Mans, and the world’s greatest endurance event will see yet another one battle for glory. This time around though, an Aston Martin Vantage GTE is the proud bearer of the art and Tobias Rehberger, the artist that created it.
The car Aston Martin Racing unveiled at the official race instection in the town of Le Mans on June 8th is actually the No. 97 Vantage GTE racing enthusiasts might know for its Gulf livery. However, instead of the usual blue-and-orange suit, the coupe will wear a special livery based on a geometric optical effect pattern during the race. The new paint job was commissioned by the owner of the car, a long-time admirer of German sculptor Tobias Rehberger, who is renowned for his abstract art and optical effects. Much like the rest of Rehberger’s work, the Vantage GTE is about "distorted perception and related phenomena like auto moving patterns, optical effects, camouflage and visual confusion."
The car will be driven by Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Robert Bell in next weekend’s race at Circuit de la Sarthe in the LM GTE Pro class.
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Although many Aston Martin enthusiasts would rather have a DB9 or a Vanquish in their garage, sports car racing aficionados are more likely to go for the Vantage GT4.
Built to FIA GT regulations, which makes it eligible for the GTS class of the Pirelli World Challenge, the Vantage GT4 just got a racing series of its own in North America.
Open to just about anyone who can afford to purchase the sports car and pay the entry fees, the Aston Martin GT4 Challenge of North America will run its inaugural season over seven weekends. The gentleman racers will get a chance to prove their driving skills on famous U.S. track such as Watkins Glen, Laguna Seca, Road America and Sebring, but will also travel to Canada to hoon the GT4 on Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
2014 entrants will include IndyCar and prototype sports car driver Eliseo Salazar, who had driven for TRG-Aston Martin Racing in the past, as well as drivers that have less or no racing experience at all, such as Montreal Aston Martin dealer Joel Segal.
The inaugural Aston Martin GT Challenge of North America will commence on May 16th through 18th at Watkins Glen and will end on November 21st through 23rd at Sebring International Raceway.
Click past the jump to read more about the Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
Tragedy struck the 24 Hours of Le Mans during the weekend after Aston Martin Racing driver, Allan Simonsen, lost his life following a devastating crash while driving the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
The 34-year-old racer was making a pass at the Tertre Rouge when he lost control of the racecar, crashing into the barricades that ultimately cost him his life. Simonsen was pronounced dead due to sustained injuries at the Circuit Medical Centre.
“On behalf of all of us at Aston Martin Racing, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the individuals, and families whose friends or loved ones were involved in today’s terrible tragedy,” Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw said in a statement.
On behalf of everyone here at TopSpeed, we’d like to extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Allan Simonsen. Our words may ring hollow, given the shock of losing Allan, but rest assured, our thoughts are with the family as they try to recover from this devastating news.
Click past the jump to read about Allan Simonsen’s racing career and Aston Mastin’s press release of the driver’s tragic passing
Evanta Motor Company has made itself a nice niche in the automotive realm by manufacturing extremely accurate reproductions of some of the rarest Aston Martins in the world. The latest model it is selling is likely one of the most unique models to date.
Not only is this a model of the famed DRB1 that Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori piloted, but it is a full-size model. On the surface that sounds normal, but when we say “model,” we mean that as in the type you bought in the toy store as a kid... Yup, this model is a disassembled “AirFix” type model.
If you don’t recall, these are the types of models where the pieces are molded into square frames and you have to twist the pieces from the frames to separate them. This model includes all of the basics you would see in the standard “AirFix” model, including: race-ready seats, fiberglass body panels draped in Aston Martin Californian Sage Green, grille, wheels and tires, steering wheel, dashboard, gear shifter, and even a replica of the 1959 Le Mans trophy.
No, you can’t whip out the superglue and throw this bad boy together. This 20- by 10-foot beast is intended to sit in a rather spacious collection and be viewed by awe-struck onlookers. Everything in this kit is 100 percent identical to the model that won the 1959 Le Mans and to make it even more desirable, Evanta is including an Aston Martin baseball cap signed by Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori, both of whom past away earlier this year.
You can catch a glimpse of this massive dedicatory piece at the Goodwood Revival Car Show, which kicks off on September 14th and lasts through the 16th. If you have some extra scratch laying around, you can also snag up this one-off piece, as Bonhams will be auctioning it off at the Revival Car Show. Unfortunately, no estimated pricing was given, but we are certain it’ll fetch in the $100,000 range.
Click past the jump to read Evantra’s official press release.
Carroll Shelby touched the lives of many people in the automotive world. During his racing career, he greatly changed the fortunes of Aston Martin by helping the British automaker take home a 1st place overall finish in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. Shelby was not alone in this victory, as his co-driver, Roy Salvatori, and the car’s chief engineer, Ted Cutting both had heavy influence on this notorious victory.
Sadly, the automotive world has lost all three of these men this year, all within a handful of weeks of each other. First came Cutting’s death on March 22nd, then Shelby’s passing on May 10th, and finally capping off with Salvatori’s passing on June 3rd. Aston Martin feels that all three men deserve the proper send off and what’s better than bringing the car that all three of these men had a hand in to the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Unfortunately, it appears as if this 1959 Aston Martin DBR1 will not be making a tribute run around the course, but it will be present for the pre-race festivities. While this is not quite on the scale of the thousands of cars that gave Mr. Shelby a moment of noise in tribute, it is still a gesture that proves Aston Martin truly feels that Carroll Shelby, Ted Cutting, and Roy Salvatori are extremely important to its storied racing history.
Our hats have to go off to Aston Martin for rolling out the old DBR1, we are very curious to see what kind of condition it is in. We are willing to bet it is exactly as it was the day it pull out of Le Mans boasting the checkered flag on June 21, 1959.
Aston Martin Vs. Skater Race
There are some “versus” videos that we come across that once we read the titles we simply just keep moving. Things like “Dodge Viper vs. Tomahawk Superbike” come to mind. C’mon, same engine but the bike weighs over 1,000 pounds less. Yeah, no need to watch that one. Other times titles are so intriguing we cannot pass them up, regardless of how obvious they seem.
In a day’s work, we came across this gem titled “Aston Martin vs. Inline Skater” and thought “what the…” Thinking it was going to be some sort of goofy prank, we almost skimmed right past it, but figured watching it wouldn’t hurt.
To our surprise this is a legit video of a German man racing an Aston Martin Vantage, from what we can tell. You may be wondering how the man on the skates plans to keep up with the Aston Martin, which has about 400+ horsepower. Well, he specially fitted three miniature jet engines, which produce 300 horsepower, onto a suit and used them to propel him down a 1/4-mile straight. According to the driver of the car, the skater claims that he has reached upwards of 120 mph and had no objections after finding out the Aston Martin could clear a 1/4-mile in 13 seconds.
You might still think there’s no chance for the inline skater, but you may be shocked to see just how fast those inline skates will go. Plus you can get a good laugh at the driver of the Aston Martin as he is more impressed with the speed of the skater than trying to win the race.
Sit back and enjoy the video above. Oops, we almost forgot, don’t try this at home.
The year 2012 will mark Aston Martin’s return to the FIA World Endurance Championship with the Vantage GTE entering in the GTE Pro category. A second car will join in the third round at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The cars will be driven by Darren Turner (GBR), Stefan Mücke (D), and Adrian Fernandez (MX).
The new Vantage GTE is based on the Vantage GT2, but improved upon with significant additions to all areas including the engine, drivetrain, and suspension. The new GTE will be powered by the same 4.7 V8 engine found in the production version, but with significant changes made to the cylinder heads, connecting rods, valves, and camshafts. The engine is coupled to a racing system and a six-speed semi-automatic sequential transmission with competition clutch.
The Aston Martin Vantage GTE’s body is made from lightweight carbon fiber and features an advanced aerodynamic package with a carbon fiber splitter, flat floor and diffuser, and a carbon fiber rear wing designed using the latest computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. Aston Martin has also added a bespoke wishbone suspension and six-piston Brembo racing calipers.
Aston Martin Lagonda Chairman David Richards shared his enthusiasm for the new project: "It’s great to be returning to our core motorsport activity; production-based GT racing. It formed the basis for Aston Martin’s return to competition when the DBR9 GT1-racer was launched in 2004, and it was in GT racing that we achieved our famous victories at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008."
Aston Martin will be going to the races in 2012 with a new Vantage GT3 race car, which was just unveiled by the British automaker. The new model will join the current Aston Martin racing line-up that includes the Vantage GT2, GT4, DBR9 GT1, and AMR-One LMP1.
John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Managing Director said: "The DBRS9 has been a very successful GT3 racing car and, despite being more than six years old, is still competitive today. However, the competition has moved on and we needed to create a new car that combines our six years’ experience in this category with the latest race technology to continue Aston Martin’s success in GT3 for many years to come."
The new Vantage V12 GT3 is based on the V12 Vantage production car that’s already out in showrooms and its addition to the line-up of other Aston Martin race cars makes the British brand the only automaker to have a specific race car for every GT class.
UPDATE 11/21/2011: Aston Martin has announced that it has started testing the new V12 Vantage GT3 3 at Brands Hatch in Kent this week, covering almost 1000 kilometers in just two days with factory driver, Darren Turner, behind the wheel. John Gaw, Aston Martin Racing Managing Director, said: “The testing of the new V12 Vantage GT3 has gone really well. We haven’t had any significant issues with the car, despite having covered close to 1000 kilometers, exceeding all our expectations in the car’s first track test.
UPDATE 11/25/2011: If a few days ago we have reported that Aston Martin started to test the new V12 Vantage GT3 race car, now is time to actually see the car in action. After watching the video we can tell you one thing for sure: that car is fast! See for yourself!
Find out more about the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 after the jump.
Company CEOs usually have a kind of competitive understanding of each other. There’s nothing personal about; it’s just the way business works.
In the case of Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda and his Aston Martin counterpart Ulrich Bez, the truth couldn’t be any further from the truth. After already establishing a mutual working relationship between the two companies - the most recent of which was sharing the Toyota iQ platform with the Aston Martin Cygnet - Toyoda and Bez have become closer to each other than most CEOs that consider themselves competitors, albeit in a slightly stretched manner.
The latest collaboration between the two doesn’t involve a new auto partnership but instead, swapping race cars during the VLN auto series with Toyoda driving the Aston Martin V12 Vantage ’Zig’ and Bez manning the wheels of a Lexus LF-A Gazoo Racing.
Whether this video is merely a publicity stunt or it’s really a genuine show of competitiveness between the two is unknown, but the fact that you have the CEOs of two of the most accomplished auto brands in the country speaks to the ever-growing relationship between Aston Martin and Toyota.
Check out the video to see how the two CEOs fared in riding the race cars of their contemporary.
Are you ready to have your 2011-racing itch finally scratched? With the 2011 Formula One season getting delayed by political unrest in Bahrain, the racing community turns its attention to the opening of the 2011 American Le Mans racing season this weekend with one of the most iconic endurance races in the world, the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Always one of the most eagerly anticipated races of the year, the 12 Hours of Sebring kicks off the 2011 ALMS season in grand fashion with the reigning champs from Peugeot Sport Total ready to defend their 2010 title against a field of heavyweight contenders, including headlined perennial contender, Audi, and last year’s runner-up, Aston Martin.
This year, Peugeot will be bringing the new Peugeot 908 HDi FAP to compete against the likes of the Audi R15+TDI and the Aston Martin Lola B08.
In addition to the top-of-the-field LMP1 class, the 2011 12 Hours of Sebring will also feature races from a number of different classes, including the new LMPC class, led by PR1 Mathiasen M/Sport’s Oreca FLM09, and the always-competitive GT class, which has a formidable entrant in the form of the recently-revealed Risi Competizione’s new Ferrari 458 GTC.
To keep you updated with all of the cars scheduled to participate in all of the weekend’s races, the folks over at SpotterGuides.com have provided everything you need to know about each and every car that will see the green light this weekend. Keep tabs on some of the favorites and be on the look-out for dark horses, because this weekend’s 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race is expected to be one for the books.
If you’re going to keep tabs on all the action from the confines of your own home, you can watch the race in its entirety online on ESPN3.com, or if you have an Xbox, you can catch the action through live streaming. If you miss out on watching the race live, ABC will have a recap from 12:30 – 2:00 pm EST with ESPN2 airing the same recap show next Tuesday, March 22, 2011.