Aston Martin Racing (AMR) was formed in 2003 and is a long term joint venture between Aston Martin Lagonda and Prodrive, one of the world’s leading motorsport and automotive technology specialists. AMR was established specifically to design, build and compete with Aston Martin race cars in events and championships around the world; it is based at Prodrive’s headquarters in Banbury, Oxfordshire a few miles from the AML headquarters at Gaydon, Warwickshire. As well as being a works race team in its own right, competing in the most prestigious international sportscar races, AMR also provides cars to partner teams and sells them to private customers.
The first car created by AMR was the DBR9, based on the DB9 road car and designed to compete in the GT1 class where the cars are highly modified versions of production road cars. The team's first race with an Aston Martin was the opening round of the American Le Mans Series at Sebring in 2005, where it scored a spectacular GT1 class victory. The team went on to win the RAC TT race at Silverstone and achieved a podium finish in the GT1 class at the Le Mans 24 hour race in the same year.
From 2006, the DBR9 was run by the works team, private teams and AMR partner (semi works) teams around the world and in 2010 was still homologated to compete by the FIA and ACO. The works AMR team achieved a class victory at Le Mans in 2007 with cars painted in traditional AM Racing Green. The result was repeated in 2008 with the cars in the blue and orange colours of Gulf Oil.
In 2005, AMR unveiled the DBRS9, a less extreme race car than the DBR9, designed for the more affordable GT3 class of sportscar racing. The DBRS9 has been a great success with many private teams worldwide.
The highly competitive GT2 class was joined by a newcomer in 2008 with the announcement of the V8 Vantage GT2. Positioned between the DBR9 and DBRS9, the Vantage has been sold to private teams as an alternative to the Porsche 911 and Ferrari 430.
The most affordable offering from AMR has been the V8 Vantage N24, a car created and initially produced at Gaydon but transferred to AMR after the first 14 had been built. Designed for the GT4 class of sportscar racing, the N24 has been the most successful product of AMR and is suitable for club racing, 24 hour endurance events, and FIA GT4. There have also been AMR organised championships in Asia and Europe specifically for the N24. In late 2008, the N24 was developed into the GT4, with a race version of the 4.7 litre V8 engine. With the introduction of the V8 Vantage GT4, Aston Martin Racing is the only manufacturer to offer cars in every GT racing category.
Despite great success with the DBR9 in the GT1 class of racing, such a car could never gain an overall win in the Le Mans 24 hour race against purpose built racing sportscars. In 2009, AMR created the bespoke LMP1 closed coupe race car (known as the DBR1-2) by using a chassis from Lola mated to a V12 DBR9 engine and painted in the distinctive blue and orange livery of Gulf Oil. Raced at Le Mans and other ACO endurance races during 2009 and 2010, the LMP1 car has consistently been the fastest petrol engined car, but has often been outperformed by the diesel powered cars which appear to be favoured by the regulations. In 2011, AMR will return to sportscar racing with an in house LMP1 design with an open cockpit and bespoke racing engine. The goal, as ever, is overall victory at Le Mans.