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Aston Martin AMR-One (2011) Le Mans racer

By Ben Pulman

First Official Pictures

02 March 2011 00:01

This is the incredible Aston Martin AMR-One racer. Built to the latest Le Mans regulations by Aston Martin Racing, the LMP1-spec AMR-One features an open-cockpit chassis design and a 2.0-litre straight six engine.

Hang on! This Aston Martin AMR-One LMP1 racer car has a 2.0-litre engine?

That’s right. New-for-2011 rules from the Le Mans governing body, the ACO, have focussed on smaller, more efficient engines; Audi has downsized from a V10 diesel to a V6 diesel, and Aston has made an even bigger step from a naturally aspirated 6.0-litre V12 to a direct injection and turbocharged 2.0-litre straight six. It’s a bespoke engine for the AMR-One racer, and produces around 540bhp – last year’s V12 had at least 600bhp. The new engine is mid-mounted in the new chassis (on a steel frame for rigidity) and drives the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential Xtrac gearbox.

'We have chosen to run with a six cylinder turbocharged engine because we believe this offers the best potential within the petrol engine regulations,' explained Aston Martin Racing’s team principal George Howard-Chappell. 'With the ACO’s commitment to effectively balance the performance of petrol and diesel Le Mans entrants, our hopes are high that we’ll see the closest racing yet in the premiere LMP1 category.' In other words, Aston might finally have a chance against the previously dominant Audis and Peugeots. 

And this new chassis – wasn’t Aston Martin previous Le Mans car a closed-cockpit racer?

It was, and just as Audi has switched from an open- to closed-cockpit design, Aston has done the reverse and the new AMR-One is now open. The huge ‘shark fin’ is mandated by the ACO to improve stability and prevent the LMP1 cars flipping, and beneath the bodywork is a new carbonfibre chassis.

The suspension is double wishbones all round with pushrod Koni dampers, the carbon brakes are by Brembo (six-pot calipers all round, with 380mm front and 355mm rear discs), and the 18in Michelin tyres wrap forged magnesium wheels. All in, the AMR-One tips the scales at the ACO-mandated minimum of 900kg. 

So it Le Mans the Aston Martin AMR-One’s first race?

No, there’s lots of testing and racing to be done before then. The AMR-One should be testing for the very first time any day now, and after that the plan is for it to contest most of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. The AMR-One won't be at the opening race at the 59th Twelve Hours of Sebring on 16-19 March 2011, but should contest Petit Le Mans, a round at Spa, the Le Mans 24hrs, and further races at Imola, Silverstone and the final round in China. Aston will build a total of six AMR-Ones, with one car competing in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, and two cars being fielded for Le Mans and other selected events.

At Le Mans Brit Darren Turner, along with Stefan Mücke and a yet-to-be-named driver will race the 007 car, while another British driver, Andy Meyrick, along with Adrian Fernandez and Harold Primat, will pilot the 009 car. 

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