In 2007 and 2008 Aston Martin Racing triumphed at Le Mans in the GT1 class. In 2009 Aston Martin Racing moved up to the LMP1 class, finishing fourth overall and taking the honour of the best placed petrol- powered car. In 2011, Aston Martin now believe they can have a significant advantage and be competitive in the 24 Hour race against tough competition including the dieselengined competitors. As with all Aston Martins, the new
LMP1 will be petrol-powered and designed to make the best use of the ACO’s stringent regulations using a unique Aston Martin carbon monocoque and chassis.
The endurance classic takes place on 11-12 June and Aston Martin will once again return to Le Mans with two works cars bearing the iconic blue and orange livery of Gulf Oil. In addition, two customer teams will represent Aston Martin in the GT2 class. Aston Martin’s first and only outright victory at Le Mans was in 1959 with the DBR1 of Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby.
The race is organised by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and runs on the Circuit de la Sarthe, a circuit containing a mix of closed public roads and specialist motor racing circuit that are meant not only to test a car and driver’s ability to be quick, but also to last over a 24 hour period.
The race is held near the height of the European summer in June, leading at times to very hot weather conditions for the drivers, particularly in closed roof vehicles whose cabins can heat up to uncomfortably hot temperatures with generally poor ventilation; rain, however, is not uncommon. The race begins in mid-afternoon, racing through the night and following morning before finishing at the same time the race started, the following day.
Over the 24 hour period modern competitors will complete race distances well over 5000 kilometres.
The present record is 5410 kilometres, recorded in the 2010 race. It is a distance over six times longer than the Indianapolis 500, or approximately 18 times longer than a Formula One Grand Prix.