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Aston Martin is planning to introduce an all-new DB9 model in 2013 or possibly 2014, with a new look, updated engine and reduced weight. The underlying structure of the car won’t be all-new, however, with Aston recently scrapping a plan to develop all-new chassis – instead opting for a significant refresh to the current lineup. As a result, it is expected that the next DB9 will have the same wheelbase and track, along with similar front and rear overhangs.
Updates to the car are certain to include an all-new body that takes design cues from the One-77 supercar (although not as extreme) as well as from the Rapide. In particular, the next DB9 should imitate a crisp line that runs along the side of the car, originating from the front fender gill – just like on the Rapide. A new interior and added technology are also planned.
Thankfully Aston is already ahead of much of the game in using light-weight aluminum structures for their cars. Unfortunately, they aren’t that light. As a result the British automaker will strive to cut weight in that area, but also look at light weight materials like carbon fiber for the bod panels in a bid t cut 10 percent of the car’s current weight.
As for the engine, updates are planned for the 5.9-liter V12 that would increase power above the 470-hp mark while improving fuel economy. There’s no word on if Aston will switch to an 8-speed transmission – quickly becoming the norm in the industry. Technology for the updated V12 will spill over from Aston’s racing division although the engine is not expected to get direct-injection.
As reported in Autosport Magazine, the two Nissan teams competing in the new FIA GT1 World Championship have threatened to boycott the next round and to launch a protest unless the weight penalty heaped on the GT-R ahead of the Abu Dhabi series opener is removed.
The first race of the season took place last weekend (April 17th/18th) at Abu Dhabi’s F1 masterpiece Yas Marina Circuit, where the FIA held a controversial test session prior to the race in an effort to equalize performance between the varied machinery being campaigned. Former F1 driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen took each of the six types of cars in the series for a few hot laps, but rather than taking the planned 10 to 15 laps in each car it has been reported that he took fewer and that those were unevenly distributed amongst the six types of cars that compete in the series (Nissan GT-R, Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Ford GT, Aston Martin DB9, Maserati MC12, and Lamborghini Murcielago R-SV).
The result of Frenzen’s testing was 66 lbs of penalty weight being added to the Nissan GT-Rs (the stiffest penalty of the bunch, with the Maserati receiving a 55 lb penalty and the Corvette and Lamborghini taking on 22 lb each), which turned out to render them uncompetitive during the season opening race.
Both teams campaigning Nissan GT-Rs argued that the test done by the FIA was unfair, citing the limited time Frentzen spent in each car and the varying track conditions during the tests. There were also allegations of gamesmanship leveled at the Ford, Chevrolet and Aston Martin teams. The Ford GT, which went on to win the main race, apparently did not break the 2-minute 10-second mark during the FIA test and yet lapped in the 2-minute 7- to 8-second range during the race.
GT-R runners The Swiss Racing team stated “We will not go to Silverstone under these conditions. We cannot be a grid filler.” The other GT-R squad, British-based Sumo Power, stated “We have to go to Silverstone because it is our home event. We have tried to argue our car with facts and figures, but we are prepared to put our money down and protest.”
For highlights of the Yas Marina 2010 FIA GT1 Championship opener, watch the video after the jump.