Finally, someone is racing a track-day special.
A couple of months ago we ran a feature looking at what it would look like if track day special supercars were actually entered into races.
Well, it looks like Aston Martin paid attention, because its bonkers track-only toy, the Vulcan, will be making its race debut at Le Mans next month. The car will compete in the Aston Martin Festival race on Saturday morning ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Only a handful of the 820-hp car were delivered, but none were built to specific race regulations, and as such haven't competed yet. Instead, they've been used exclusively in Aston Martin-organised track day events.
It was originally supposed to make its competitive debut in July 2016 at an Aston Martin Owners Club race at Snetterton but despite plans to run "one or two," none entered the club event.
"We've been running the track day program with our customers for a while now and there is a small element wanting to race them," said Aston Martin Racing president David King. "The cars are built to a full-race specification in terms of safety, so we are happy to give them that chance."
Three Vulcans will take part in the event which will also likely include GT1-spec Aston Martin DBR9s, Vantage GT2s, GT3s, and GT4s, and well as their recently-replaced Vantage GTE.
A number of high-profile drivers have already signed up to the race, including former Aston Martin chairman David Richards, whose Prodrive organization has run the company's racing activities since 2005.
TV personality Paul Hollywood, Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy, and ex-F1 race Martin Brundle will also take part in the event.
As well those celebrity pilots, there will be a handful of drivers with connections to the factory team. Lasse Sorensen and Benny Simonsen – the younger brothers of Marco Sorensen and Allan Simonsen, who died at Le Mans in 2013 driving an Aston Martin – and Aston racer Alex Lynn's father Shaun are other names signed up for the race.
Source: Aston Martin
Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro
- Sky F1TM commentator Martin Brundle and Sir Chris Hoy head star-filled line-up
- Aston Martin Vulcan makes competition debut at La Sarthe
- Michelin-sponsored event sees 38 entries for third Le Mans Festival race
Friday 18 May, Banbury: The hugely popular Michelin Aston Martin Racing Festival will return to Le Mans on 16 June, 2018 with a packed 38-car entry and a star-filled line-up that includes Sky F1TM commentator and former Le Mans winner Martin Brundle and his co-driver, the multiple Olympic gold medal winner, Sir Chris Hoy.
The 45-minute race takes place on the same day as the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the full circuit at La Sarthe, and will be filled with cars from all corners of the Aston Martin universe. And, for the first time ever, will include two of the awe-inspiring 7-litre, V12-powered Aston Martin Vulcans – entered by the newly-opened AMR Performance Centre, based at the Nürburgring in Germany.
“I’d never miss a chance to race on the full Le Mans circuit, I love that track,” said Brundle, whose Vantage GT4 will also be entered by the AMR Performance Centre. “This will be particularly special partnering Sir Chris Hoy in a beautiful Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Chris is a good friend and handy on the pedals in every respect.
“The competition looks strong so I’ll be seeking plenty of advice from my son Alex who also races an iconic Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 around Europe.”
Included among the other GT4 celebrity drivers are Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer, ‘Bake-Off’ television presenter Paul Hollywood, Prodrive chairman David Richards (who will race alongside Aston Martin customer team owner Andrew Howard in a Beachdean AMR-entered car), and Jamie Chadwick who became the youngest driver to contest the Nürburgring 24 Hours in May.
The race will feature a wide variety of Aston Martin machinery, including a number of examples of the company’s most successful racing car – the V12 Vantage GT3 – entered by, among others Jetstream Motorsport, TF Sport and Young Driver AMR, whose car will be driven by team owner Jan Struve and Aston Martin Racing Managing Director John Gaw. There are also older Vantage GT1s, GT2s and even the 2016 FIA-World Endurance Championship-winning #95 Danetrain V8 Vantage GTE driven by Marco Sørensen’s brother Lasse on the entry list.
Aston Martin Racing’s Head of Customer Racing Huw Tasker said: “I am very excited to welcome our AMR customers to Le Mans. What GT driver doesn’t aspire to be a part of the biggest racing event in motorsport? So to be able to make this happen for our customers is very special. We have AMR cars of all varieties, from different eras, showcasing the pedigree of the cars which AMR has designed, developed and raced over many years.
“We are also very grateful to Michelin for their support with this event, which following on from their renewed technical partnership of our FIA WEC race programmes underpins a vital relationship that we intend to build on moving forward.”
Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, summed up: “Having taken part in this event in 2015, I can say first-hand it will be a tremendous experience. Moreover, this is a wonderful celebration of all that Aston Martin Racing has achieved since we returned to the sport as a manufacturer. To be able to display so many different iconic Aston Martin racing cars, as well as the stunning Vulcan, in front of 250,000 fans is a testament to the durability of our brand.”
The race will take place on 16 June, at 1015 CET. For more information follow AMR_Official, via the hashtag #AstonMartinFestival on Twitter, or via media.astonmartin.com.
Provisional Entry List:
GT3 #32 22GT Racing Tom Alexander/Adrian Willmott
GT3 #3 Aston Martin Racing Ross Gunn
GT3 #77 Backbox Racing & R Motorsport Alexander Lienau
GT3 #47 Jetstream Motorsport Graham Davison
GT3 MB Racing Mike Brown/Paul Cripps
GT3 #11 TF Sport Mark Farmer
GT3 #59 Young Driver AMR Jan Struve/John Gaw
GT4 #9 22GT Racing Dean Gibbs/Richard Marsh
GT4 #88 22GT Racing Martin Buckland
GT4 #61 Academy Motorsport JM Littman/Rik Breukers
GT4 #62 Academy Motorsport Fiona James
GT4 #63 Academy Motorsport Steven Davison/Steve Phillips
GT4 #4 Aston Martin Belgium Arnold Herreman
GT4 #19 Aston Martin Belgium Jean-Paul Herreman
GT4 #97 Aston Martin Performance Centre Jurgen Kroner/Wolfgang Schuhbauer
GT4 Aston Martin Performance Centre Andrew Palmer/Peter Cate
GT4 Aston Martin Performance Centre Jamie Chadwick/Paul Hollywood
GT4 Aston Martin Performance Centre Martin Brundle/Chris Hoy
GT4 #1 Beechdean AMR Andrew Howard/David Richards
GT4 #10 EDF Motorsports Malcolm Sandford
GT4 #44 Generation AMR Super Racing James Holder/Matthew George
GT4 #33 R-Motorsport Joshua Reynolds/Markus Lungstrass
GT4 #69 Speedworks Motorsport Piers Johnson
GT4 #7 Street Art Racing Jean Marc Bourdouch/Albert Bloem
GT4 #60 Stratton Motorsport Robin Marriott
GT4 #71 Stratton Motorsport David Tinn
GT4 #66 Stratton Motor Co / TRG Jeff Huber
GT4 #68 Team BRIT Warren McKinlay/Jamie Falvey
GT4 #91 Weathertech Stephen Archer/Felix Archer
GT4 #57 Whitebridge AMR Chris Murphy/Barry McMahon
GT4 #15 Whitebridge AMR Bonamy Grimes
Vulcan #8 Aston Martin Performance Centre Akinari Miura/Toro Nakano
Vulcan #6 Aston Martin Performance Centre Gleb Stepanov/Stephen Tomkins
GT2 Motohistorics Shaun Lynn
GT1 #94 Sporting and Historic Cars Nikolas Ditting
GT1 #100 Sporting and Historic Cars Dieter Roschmann/Dominik Roschmann
GTE #95 Young Driver AMR Benny Simonsen/Lasse Sorensen
INV Aston Passion Vincent Bialostotski/Bernard Pascal