Rising to the challenge
MOTORSPORT HAS ALWAYS BEEN an integral part of what Aston Martin is about. Indeed, it was success at the Aston Hill Climb near Aston Clinton in leafy Buckinghamshire that inspired founders Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford to name their nascent car company Aston Martin.
Of the marque’s racing activities over the past century or so, endurance racing – and Le Mans in particular – sits at the core. With famously fluctuating finances, Aston has never had the cash or resources to commit to a sustained large-scale effort in the manner of, say, Porsche. Yet whenever Astons go racing, they capture the imagination and punch above their weight. Sometimes they reign supreme.
In this issue of Vantage – published just a few weeks before the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours – we feature two of Aston Martin’s competition heroes: a magnificent DB2 ‘team car‘ from 1951 and the 2016 World Endurance Championship class-winning V8 Vantage GTE. The former is very much a road car optimised for racing, the latter very much a racer loosely based on the road car, yet both exude star quality. The sort that can only be forged in the heat of battle.
Sports cars and motor racing go hand-in-hand, but there’s a less predictable side to Aston Martin. One that reveals a long-established urge to explore new and unconventional avenues. Today that is epitomised by the bold, exciting and controversial DBX SUV set for production in St Athan, Wales, but we’ve dug into the archives to tell the fascinating story of another Aston SUV; a secret, stillborn 4x4 project that dates back to the days of David Brown.
At a time when the car industry is constantly having to adapt to a rapidly changing world, it’s reassuring to know that Aston Martin’s enduring will to win is matched by an appetite for new challenges, wherever they may lie.
The next issue of Vantage will be on sale on September 14, 2017. For subscriptions and back issues visit www.astonmagazine.co.uk