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Aston bids for Le Mans repeat 50 years later


British sports car maker, Aston Martin, won Le Mans 50 years ago, and will try to repeat the feat this June 13-14 with two works LMP1 coupes wearing Gulf Oil’s iconic blue and orange livery.

Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori won the 1959 Le Mans in an open-topped DBR-1 sports racing car. Pictured competing in a modern historic sports car race is a DBR-1 like the one Salvadori and Shelby drove.

Aston Martin chairman, David Richards, says 2009 is a “hugely significant year for Aston Martin at Le Mans and the challenge of reclaiming victory in this famous race for Aston Martin and Great Britain was simply too great to ignore.”

Richards says he has no illusions about what lies ahead. “While we’ve won the GT1 class for the last two years, competing against the proven speed and endurance of the diesel-powered (Audis and Peugeots) with all their years of winning the prototype class, will be a massive undertaking.”

Aston’s Le Mans challenger is based on the 2008 Charouz Racing System Lola and will be powered by the same production-based V12 engine used in the GT1-winning DBR9.  The V12 also powered the Charouz to a new Le Mans lap record for a petrol car. 

For 2009, Le Mans organisers are introducing new regulations to balance the performance of petrol and diesel-engined prototypes.

The Aston Martin LMP1 car will also contest the 2009 Le Mans Series (LMS) which opens with the 1000 km de Catalunya on April 5. 

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