Aston Martin DBR9

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The Aston Martin DB9 is a thoroughbred sports car with GT levels of comfort and refinement. Combining Aston Martin’s unique character with an uncompromising design philosophy, the DB9 was borne out of a synthesis of traditional craftsmanship, high-tech manufacturing, modern components and use of the finest materials.

The DB9 is both a full-blooded sports car and a hugely capable grand tourer. Whether in Coupe or Volante form, it offers a supreme combination of driver involvement, character, luxury and refinement.aston-martin-dbr9-009-copy.jpg

With a rigid chassis, lightweight materials, optimum weight distribution and a powerful Aston Martin 6.0 litre, normally aspirated V12 engine, the road going DB9 is an excellent starting point for the production of the DBR9.

The name DBR9 is derived from the original Le Mans-winning DBR1 car, which not only won the 24 Hour race in 1959 but the World Sportscar title too. Aston Martin Racing have built a number of DBR9s, which are run by Works and customer teams in the major international GT series around the world.

The DBR9 uses the DB9 road car’s aluminium chassis and uses the V12 engine’s cylinder block and heads to develop the race unit. After this the car is re-engineered for competition use.

The gearbox on the DBR9 is a 6-speed sequential unit. The double wishbone suspension is purpose-built and there are large diameter carbon brakes front and rear. The wheels have also been specially designed for the car by OZ Racing and are made from forged magnesium.

In the cockpit, a carbon composite dashboard, lightweight racing seat and the driver’s instrument panels, have replaced all the original car’s trim.

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The aerodynamic package of the car has been developed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). Combined with the desire to follow the same lines as the DB9 road car, this has helped define the overall body shape. All the panels have been specifically hand crafted to fit the DBR9, and, to save weight, are all manufactured in carbon fibre composite (except the roof). The large rear wing is also made from carbon fibre, while to complete the aero package, the under side of the car is flat from the front to the rear diffuser.

The result is a GT racing car with outstanding performance but with the beauty and integrity of an Aston Martin.

Based on the Aston Martin DB9 road car, the DBR9 retains the chassis, and the cylinder block and heads of the road car’s V12 engine. The rest of the car is re-engineered for high performance competition use. The DBR9’s bodywork is a blend of optimum aerodynamic performance and the styling of the DB9 road car. All the body panels are constructed from carbon fibre composite (except the roof) to minimize the weight of the car. To complete the aerodynamic body, the bottom of the car is flat all the way from the front to the rear diffuser. To optimise rear downforce a carbon fibre wing has been added. The car goes from 0-60 mph in 3.4 seconds.

For the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans, Prodrive made modifications to the DBR9 design in order to not only improve performance, but also to increase driver comfort in the cockpit. Due to new regulations put into place by Le Mans organizers, the DBR9 required the installation of an air conditioning unit in order to prevent overstressing drivers. Prodrive went further by putting a heat-resistant white roof on all new cars to assist in keeping cockpit temperatures down. Performance modifications included the removal of two cooling vents from the bonnet of the car due to no longer being necessary.

The DBR9 won the Sebring 12 Hours for its LMGT1 category in 2005, but came third in Le Mans 24 Hour behind arch-rivals Corvette Racing due to fuel problems. In 2006, the DBR9 was unable to repeat its success at Sebring, finishing second behind a Corvette. A similar situation occurred at Le Mans as well. Despite not winning Sebring and Le Mans, Aston Martin Racing regularly challenged Corvette Racing for victory in the rest of the American Le Mans Series schedule, with victories at Lime Rock Park, Miller Motorsports Park, Mosport, Petit Le Mans, and Laguna Seca. Aston Martin capped their 2006 ALMS season by finishing second in the GT1 Manufacturer’s Championship, earning the factory team an automatic entry to the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In the Le Mans Endurance Series, the Larbre Compétition took the Team’s Championship, with victories at the 1000 Kilometres of Istanbul and 1000 Kilometres of the Nurburgring, a second place finish at the 1000 Kilometres of Jarama, and a fifth place finish at the 1000 Kilometres of Donington.

The DBR9 came into the 2006 FIA GT Championship being title contender favourites, but the season was somewhat lacklustre with only two victories at Mugello and Dubai. The Phoenix Racing Aston Martin DBR9 narrowly missed out on victory at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. BMS Scuderia Italia cited a problem with finding the right tyre compound with their Pirellis as the factor for their lack of success.

For 2007, Aston Martin was finally able to overcome their woes at Le Mans, securing the GT1 class victory for the #009 Aston Martin Racing DBR9. Larbre’s DBR9 would also manage third place in class. The teams running DBR9s managed to finish every car entered.

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Later in 2007, Aston Martin will launch the limited edition (300 units expected) DBS road car which has many styling cues taken from the DBR9 in conjunction with the James Bond film Casino Royale. Aston Martin Racing’s DBR9s raced 2006 and 2007 under the numbers 007 and 009, in honor of James Bond.

For 2008, while Larbre and Scuderia Italia have moved on from Aston Martin, Prodrive will continue to field a factory team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The two-car team will gain a new paint scheme, using the blue and orange colors of Gulf.

The Aston Martin DBR9 is currently run by three factory teams and has been sold to customers for private use in various racing series, such as the American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, FIA GT Championship, and FFSA GT Championship.

It was announced prior to the 2008 season that Larbre Competition will replace their DBR9’s with Saleen S7Rs, while Scuderia Italia will move onto Ferrari F430s. This leaves Prodrive as the only factory team. Customer teams will continue to race as well.

Scribbled on March 16th 2008 in Aston Martin, Aston Martin DBR9
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