Aston Martin CEO DR.Ulrich Bez wanted to return to motorsport to further develop the brand of the luxury sports car maker. The glamorous world of sports car racing was the ideal category to show off related road cars, and sell racing cars developed as part of the programme.
The new car would be named the Aston Martin DBR9, echoing the name of the 1956 Le Mans winning DBR1. While the Aston Martin Nimrod raced at Le Mans in 1982; the return to the sports car category was the first since the DP cars were forced to retire in 1962.
DBR9 & Prodrive
The DB9 would provide the basis of the new racing car, with Prodrive brought in to design and manage the racing programme. It seemed like the perfect match – Prodrive had helped a privateer transform the Ferrari 550 Maranello into a class winner at Le Mans in 2003.
Prodrive used the aluminium chassis and roof, together with the V12 cylinder block from the road car. Other than that it is completely re-engineered. The body work is made from carbon fibre composite, computer designed for maximum aerodynamic effect. Inside, a steel roll cage is fitted for safety. The car is so that much lighter that it has almost twice the power to weight ratio of the standard DB9 road car. It does 0-60mph (0-100km/h) in just over three seconds.
Aston Martin’s works team DBR9s made their debut at the 2005 Sebring 12 hour race, followed by the Silverstone Tourist Trophy race where they took 1st and 2nd places.
DBR9 Top Gear Lap Time
Return To Le Mans
At Le Mans, the DBR9 won the GT1 class in 2007 and 2008. 2008 would mark the end of the factory sponsored racing for the DBR9.
In 2009 some privately entered DBR9s appeared at Le Mans, but the factory now focused on the Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 in the sports prototype category, where cars 008 and 009 were entered.
With support from Prodrive, the DBR9 had successfully taken the famous brand back into the world of sports car racing.
The car pictured is chassis DBR9/101 and is the first privately raced model. Delivered to its owner in July 2005, it initially raced under different colours and had its first outing at the Silverstone 1000km race.
In 2006, it was transferred to Team Modena and, over the next three seasons, raced in the FIA GT series, European Le Mans Series and the American Le Mans Series. At Le Mans in 2006, it finished 9th place overall and 4th in class, with drivers David Brabham, Nelson Piquet Jnr and Antonio Garcia.
DBR9/101 is regarded as the most successful DBR9 and the most successful privately owned racing car in Aston Martin’s history. A very special example of a car that took Aston Martin racing again.
I'm fortunate enough to drive classic cars and speak with owners, designers and engineers. This has given me both inspiration and stories to share. I write stories that interest me, from the E-Type replacement that formed the basis of the Aston Martin DB7, to the missing Metro Cooper and the truth behind the Rover 220s nickname. In addition to attending car shows, track days and other informal automotive events for the last 20 years, I have planned & driven various road trips. I once drove to the Nurburgring and back in a day, went karting in Montenegro and also drove through the Florida keys in a Mustang GT. The blog is a passion project so any support is appreciated; whether that is by sharing on social media or buying me a coffee!