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In 2019, British marque Aston Martin, a brand whose racing history is as old as the company itself, celebrates two significant anniversaries – 60 years since its iconic 1-2 win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 70 years since the company first raced at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. When Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford formed Aston Martin 106 years ago, it was created to support their joint passion for motorsport. The Aston Martin brand then changed hands in 1946 and was led by David Brown, who pushed to create the DBR1 and thus an iconic racer was born. Hence, this year’s Festival of Speed celebrates the famous British marque’s long-term love affair with motorsport with a remarkable Central Feature – a 30-metre-high swoop of steel with the Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1 racing towards the sky on a never-ending race track – created by artist and designer Gerry Judah.
To complement the Central Feature, ‘Q by Aston Martin’ – the luxury brand’s bespoke personalisation service – has also designed six unique Vantages, each honouring a famous race car from the company’s long and prestigious history. The Vantage was the obvious starting point for the project as Aston Martin’s modern race car. Each of the six Vantages will be displayed under the Central Feature at Goodwood Festival of Speed for every day of the festival.
Speaking about the Central Feature, Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda president and group CEO called it a great honour to be celebrated at Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, and emphasised on racing being a crucial component in the brand’s DNA and something that has been pursued since its inception more than 100 years ago and has remained the same since their first race on Aston Hill.
To additionally commemorate the occasion, Aston Martin will make 60 ‘Vantage Heritage Racing Editions’ with customers able to choose one of the six liveries. The collection also introduces a new aero kit developed by Aston Martin’s aerodynamics team that adds a staggering 194kg of downforce at 305kmph, supplementing the already impressive performance of the two-seater sportscar.
The addition of a carbon fibre rear wing, dive planes and extended front splitter increase downforce while maintaining the balance of the original design. All six Vantage specifications also feature lightweight wheels, the Sports Plus pack and carbonfibre interior details for further weight reduction.
The oldest racing car to provide inspiration for the series was the ‘Record Breaker’ Razor Blade that set two class records in the 1500CC light car class at the Brooklands racetrack in 1923. To create the design, ‘Q by Aston Martin’ matched the green on ‘The Record Breaker’ to be identical to that on the original chassis, with the silver acknowledging the aluminium streamlined body constructed by aircraft manufacturer De Havilland.
‘The Italian Progettista’ pays homage to Aston Martin’s most iconic pre-war racing model, the Ulster, which finished third overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1935, winning its class and placing fourth in the RAC Tourist Trophy Race. The red of the bodywork matches the original team colour scheme and the Aston Martin badging on the side gill resembles the distinctive, hand-painted script that used to be on the bonnets of the team cars.
The DB3S has inspired the David Brown-era Vantage. Aston Martin used different colours on individual race cars to help identify them during the races. The yellow and green DB3S has become one of the most iconic liveries making it the perfect choice for the project.
Also celebrated is the ‘The Group C Monster’ AMR1. The original, developed in 1989 to participate in the Group C racing series, bristled with new tech including a kevlar/carbon-fibre monocoque chassis, almost unheard of at the time. Recognised for the distinctive white, blue and red livery, the colour was tirelessly matched with the original palette to create the striking design.
A nod to the endurance racing series that Aston Martin has been competing in since 1928 is ‘The Le Mans Winner’ Vantage DBR9, Aston Martin’s challenge to the GT class, that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in both 2007 and 2008 making it back-to-back class wins for Aston Martin. The Gulf (blue and orange) livery is one of the best-known designs in motorsport and so it was vital that it matched the original perfectly.
Finally, the collection concludes with the ‘The Next Generation’, honouring the modern racing Vantage GTE. Inspired by Aston Martin’s current offering to the world of motorsport, the Lime Essence and Stirling Green body panels of the official race car replicated the racer that currently competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).