Aston Martin to return to sportscar racing

The Aston Martin name could return to motor racing in the next few years, and a car is already being designed, according to a story in this week's Autosport magazine

Aston Martin to return to sportscar racing

The new, hi-tech Vanquish model, due for launch early next year, could form the basis of a GTS class car, which would take on the Chrysler Viper and GM Corvette. The car is set to be the flagship of the Ford Motor Company's range, and is intended as a technological showcase.

A spokesman for the FMC's Premier Automotive Group affirmed this, saying "Le Mans makes sense for Aston Martin." Aston Martin won the Le Mans 24 Hours and the World Sportscar Championship, in 1959, and subsequently won the Monza 1000kms with the DB4GT Zagato, the car which the Vanquish can be said to represent the spiritual heir to.

The Vanquish will make extensive use of space-age materials and design techniques, and would be a natural starting point for a GTS car, especially bearing in mind the current success of 'big-banger' front-engined models in the class. The Vanquish will retain the marque's traditional layout, with a new six-litre V12.

However, the ultra modern nature of the car may well give it an advantage against more traditional designs such as the Viper. Every effort has been made to keep the weight low in the road car, with an aluminium chassis foremost in reducing the mass of the car. This should enable the 1100kg class minimum weight to be achieved with comparative ease.

To prove its seriousness, Aston Martin has hired the designer of the BMW V12LMR which won the Le Mans 24 hours in 1999. Graham Humphreys has apparently been conducting a feasibility study on the race car since the beginning of July.

The car would be eligible for the GTS class of Le Mans and the American Le Mans Series, and the FIA GT championship.

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