Aston Martin Racing Unveils New Le Mans Prototype Racer

Meet the 2011 Aston Martin AMR-One race car: the new prototype race car designed for the Le Mans LMP1-spec class, with snazzy Gulf livery, a (very British) 007 racing number, and a 2.0-liter inline-six engine.

Wait, the mighty race car has an engine half the size of a DB9? Well, yes, somehow. Le Mans regulations for 2011 have downsized their engines and increased efficiency; the all-dominating Audi cars have switched from V10 diesels to V6 diesels. Aston Martin’s last LMP race car had a naturally-aspirated 6.0-liter V12; this new engine is far smaller, being a direct-injection, turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-six. And instead of producing 600 horsepower like the V12, this engine produces 10% less, at 540 horsepower, connected to an Xtrac six-speed sequential 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,” says George Howard-Chappell, Aston Martin Racing’s team principal.

Aston Martin has also switched from a closed-cockpit car to an open cockpit, a move done in reverse from Audi. The AMR-One features a double-wishbone suspension on all four corners braced by pushrod Koni dampers, Brembo six-pot carbon brakes, and 18-inch Michelin tires surrounding forged magnesium wheels. And in accordance with regulations, the AMR-One matches the mandated minimum of under 2000 pounds.

“With the ACO’s commitment to effectively balance the performance of petrol and diesel Le Mans entrants,” says Howard-Chappell, “our hopes are high that we’ll see the closest racing yet in the premiere LMP1 category.” Which means: with the smaller engines across the board, Aston Martin will have a far greater chance at taking out Audi’s and Peugeot’s continued dominance.