Aston Martin’s resurgence on the motorsport scene in 2005 was brought with great trepidation amongst fans after the marque’s 46 year absence. To see the DBR9 take a spectacular victory in the GT1 class at Sebring was unexpected, but it was the continued development that saw the car take victory at Le Mans in 2006 and 2007 along with significant prowess in the GT1 championship.
Prodrive’s forged partnership with Aston Martin and the subsequent formation of Aston Martin Racing had been developed from a proven track record. Having developed the 550 Prodrive race cars without input from Ferrari, the DBR9s had been engineered under the same premise; no financial support from then owners of Aston Martin, Ford.
In 2008, Aston Martin Racing broadened their horizons with the introduction of the customer GT2 specification Vantage. The fourth car to be introduced, the Vantage GT2 completed the AMR portfolio of GT cars for each of the four race categories; GT1, GT2, GT3 and GT4. The Vantage GT2 was primarily based on the road-going variant whilst being designed to compete in the FIA GT series, Japanese GT, European Open GT, Le Mans 24hr and both European and American Le Mans series.
Aston Martin Racing gently increased the capacity of the engine from the 4.3-litre displacement of the road car powerplant to a 4.5-litre unit. This increase was introduced to better pair the intake restrictor to the characteristics of the engine, likely to produce around 480 bhp.
The GT2 specification cars saw the same bonded aluminium chassis instead clad with carbon fibre panels and a comprehensive aero package, comprising of a flat floor, front splitter and rear diffuser as well as a prominent CFD-designed rear wing. In Le Mans trim, the car weighed just 1175kg. The GT2 cars were fitted with a six-speed sequential gearbox and uprated Brembo callipers. The double wishbone suspension design is similar to the road car setup, introducing revised geometry to accommodate wider tyres.
Just 9 examples were built plus the prototype were built.
In 2009, British businessman, racing driver and most notably, Labour politician Lord Paul Drayson was required to ask then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, for special permission to pursue his dream of racing at the 24hrs of Le Mans. Permission granted, he began his unconventional journey to participate in the fabled event.
Blind in one eye, the ACO(Automobile Club de l'Ouest) would not permit Drayson a Le Mans entry. In order to fulfil his motorsport dreams, he set about a rather elaborate workaround, by first proving his competition prowess in the USA where the rules were more relaxed. As such, in 2008 the British businessman entered the American Le Mans Series to demonstrate his talent and gain his Le Mans entry.
In order to race, Drayson was required to take a break from his political career and seat in the House of Lords. On accepting his leave of service, the Prime Minister stipulated two conditions; that Lord Drayson drive a British car and secondly, that he try to showcase a British innovation. The choice was a logical one and Drayson immediately ordered the first two examples (of only 9 built); Aston Martin's new GT2 contender, the V8 Vantage GT2. Both were to be supplied in an identical and suitably patriotic livery and with their engines specified to run on BioFuel.
With the help of co-driver 2004 British GT-winner Jonny Cocker and Aston Martin legend Darren Turner, he proved both his own ability and the ability of the Aston GT2 chassis. In 2009, he was eligible to compete in the European Le Mans series and therefore Le Mans 24 Hours.
Both cars were retained by Drayson until 2022 at which point they were sold as a pair into the care of their current custodian, Pursuit Racing, in order to totally restore to the highest standard making them ready for their second custodian to immediately compete. Included in the purchase were all of the spares that Drayson Racing had accumulated when running the pair. As a result, a considerable running spares package accompanies each car.
The restorations of both were extensive and not without hurdles, notably reconfiguring both cars to run on conventional race fuel. In order to preserve these wholly original racers to the highest degree, both cars were supplied with new engines, the originals are retained and stored by Prodrive. Other works included crack testing, gearbox rebuilds, new fuel tanks and lines as well as recalibration to suit.
In April 2023 the car received a full shakedown post restoration at the hands of Darren Turner at Silverstone and are now eligible for both Peter Auto’s Endurance Racing Legends and the Masters Endurance Legends series.
GT2/001 Race History
GT2/002 Race History