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Two Astons set to appear at test

Lola-Aston Martins in the Prodrive factoryAston Martin Racing are striving to have two of their new Le Mans coupes ready in time for next weekend's all-important Paul Ricard test.

The team had originally planned to field just one of the Lola-based LMP1s in the official Le Mans Series test on March 8-9, but the Prodrive-run team are now battling against time to ready the two Gulf-backed cars that will contest the five-race European championship.

George Howard-Chappell, team principal at AMR, said: "We had initially said we'd go with one, but we are now aiming to have two and we are just about on schedule. The plan is to try to shake down the first car [in England] next week even if it is not quite complete."

The roll-out is likely to take place at either the MIRA proving ground in Warwickshire or Prodrive's own test facility near Warwick.

Prodrive boss and Aston Martin chairman David Richards explained that AMR has been working within a "an impossible timeframe" to build what was "effectively an Aston Martin".

"The perception is that we have dusted off a couple of old Lolas, but this is a radical redesign," said Richards, who explained that the programme did not get the go-ahead until early December. "The tub and the crash structure is Lola, but everything else is ours."

The car that appears on the Le Mans entry list as a Lola-Aston Martin will be given its own type number by the British manufacturer. Richards said he was "sure the public will know the car by its Aston name".

The Prodrive boss added that plans to run a third Gulf-liviered car, which has gained a Le Mans entry under the AMR Eastern Europe banner, had yet to be set in stone. This car is due to be delivered to the team next week.

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