Aston Martin's New Le Mans 24 Hour Race Contender

Meet Aston Martin's new LMP1 racer with which the British firm plans to compete in the 2011 edition of the famed Le Mans 24 Hour race. Pictured here in a teaser sketch dressed in Gulf Oil livery, the new race car is being designed from the ground up with an Aston Martin open cockpit monocoque chassis and a new purpose-built race gasoline engine.

The automaker said work on the new chassis and powerplant has been progressing for several months at Aston Martin Racing's headquarters in Banbury, UK and the first of a limited number of six cars will hit the tarmac in early 2011.

Aston Martin Chairman, David Richards said:

"Having won the GT category twice at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008 and the Le Mans Series outright in 2009, we still want to achieve our ultimate goal of winning the 24 Hour race overall to bring the title back to Britain."

"In recent years, it has been impossible for petrol cars to compete on equal terms with the diesels. However, we now have assurances from the ACO [Automobile Club De L'Oues] that, with the adoption of the 2011 regulations, they will properly balance the performance of these new cars. Under these circumstances we have been prepared to develop Aston Martin's first purpose-built racing chassis and engine for more than 50 years."

"Even with this new car, it will still be a 'David and Goliath' fight against the massive resources of our competitors, but we have become accustomed to this and relish the challenge."

The first and only time Aston Martin won the Le Mans was in 1959 with the DBR1 of Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby. However, the British firm has had two GT1 class victories at Le Mans in 2007 and 2008, and an overall Le Mans series win in 2009.