Aston Martin Racing has taken the wraps off its all-new 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours challenger. The new LMP1 car, known as the AMR-One, is a ground-up design built in-house by the Prodrive-run AMR organization and powered by a custom turbocharged gasoline engine.
The car and powerplant are the result of an intense design process that began in earnest last September when AMR received guarantees of parity between gas- and diesel-powered machinery. The aerodynamics of the open-top design include, according to AMR team principal George Howard-Chappell, "a number of interesting solutions." He said that AMR had opted for a two-liter straight-six turbo engine because it offered "the best potential within the petrol regulations."
Six AMR-One chassis will be built over the next two years. Five of the cars have already been pre-sold to collectors and customer teams, one of the means by which the project has been financed. The new car, which replaces the Lola-based AMR contender powered by an Aston V12, will race for the first time in the opening round of the Le Mans Series at Paul Ricard on April 3. Plans to take the car to the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup opener at Sebring later this month for what Howard-Chappell described as "a test race" were abandoned this week.
AMR has a mixed program for the remainder of the 2011 season. It will field two cars at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, at least one car in all other ILMC events and is expected on the grid for a short program of American Le Mans Series races in the second half of the season.
The driver lineup is largely unchanged from last season. Factory drivers Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke will share the lead car with an as-yet-unsigned teammate, while the second entry will be raced by Adrian Fernandez, Harold Primat and Andy Meyrick, who joins the team full time after a successful tryout at the Silverstone Le Mans Series race last September.
Plans to run the AMR-One for the first time this week were set back when it was decided not to abandon plans to race it at Sebring. The car is now scheduled for a shakedown in the "next week or so," according to an Aston Martin spokesman.