It’s going to be one of motorsports’ greatest weekends. We say that every June, when the clock strikes the appointed hour and the flag goes up at the Sarthe circuit, where the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been contested since 1923. One of the more esteemed manufacturer’s names that will be taking part is the fabled English make Aston Martin, which can trace its roots to 1913 but was run from 1947 to 1990 by David Brown, who had bought the financially ailing firm for a bit more than 20,000 pounds Sterling. It was under his tutelage that Aston Martin, which had a long history of racing, scored its only outright, overall victory at Le Mans. That came in 1959 when a pre-Cobra Carroll Shelby and Briton Roy Salvadori teamed up aboard a works DBR roadster. This will mark the 60th anniversary of that historic win.
Aston Martin has been actively participating in production and GT racing at Le Mans for some time now, having stages some epic battles with factory Chevrolet Corvettes for class wins. Today, Aston Martin competes in the GTE Pro class of the FIA’s World Endurance Championship, using a trio of works V8 Vantage GTEs, which, like the DBR after the Shelby-Salavadori triumph, will be retired from competition following this year’s race. Most recently, the racing Vantages scored victories in China and at Spa-Francorchamps. At Le Mans, the first Vantage GTE will team Nikki Thiim, Marco Sorenson and Darren Turner. In the second car are Paul Dalla Lana, Matthias Lauda and Pedro Lamy. A third car will be shared by Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Euan Alers-Hankey. The V8 Vantage GTEs come to the Sarthe with a revised aero package, and were equal enough in testing that all three Astons lapped the eight-mile-plus circuit within 0.7 seconds of one another.