Aston Martin Racing was launched in 2004 with the superb V12-engined DBR9 GT1 car but the end of the Works programme for that model in 2008 paved the way for the Vantage V8 customer car programme. Although slow-starting (from a sales point of view) the Vantage V8 became the backbone of the successful AMR project that continues to the present day.
JMW Motorsport is a small but well-respected sports car team owned by Jim McWhirter and run by Tim Sugden. The team has won many international driver and team championships over the last ten years.
Although long-term Ferrari customers, in 2010 JMW decided to run a new Vantage V8 GT2 car in their bold Dunlop livery in the Le Mans Series. That car (chassis 006) is for sale today as it finished the 2010 season after just five LMS races plus the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Chassis number: 006
Engine: 4.5-litre 8-cylinder 90 degree vee
Gearbox: 6-speed sequential manual
Colour: JMW Motorsport / Dunlop
Designed for both the FIA and ACO GT2 categories, the Vantage GT2 became the mainstay of the Works racing team effort from 2012 to 2017, famously winning the GTE-Pro category of the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours race on the final lap, in the hands of Jonny Adam, Darren Turner and Daniel Serra.
The Vantage GT2 / GTE design was also used by Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorenson to win the World Endurance GT Drivers’ Championship in 2016, as well as the Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am Drivers in 2013, 2014 and 2016, the LMGTE Pro Team Trophy in 2016 and the LMGTE Am Team Trophy in 2014 and 2017.
The car is a pure build GT racing car incorporating many of the learnings from the 5 year DBR9 programme. The 4.3 litre engine of the road car was expanded to 4.5 litres with an estimated output of 475 bhp while gearbox, bodywork, suspension and brakes were all designed from the outset to be able to compete with the best in class.
Chassis 006 is one of 10 Vantage V8 GT2 chassis made by Prodrive Motorsport Limited under the Aston Martin Racing banner (including the test car, X2). It was purchased new by JMW Motorsport in the closed season of 2009 / 2010 and the programme, with sponsorship by Dunlop, was announced at the Autosport International Show at the Birmingham NEC in January 2010 (albeit using chassis 003 for photos).
JMW ran the car on the following occasions with the following results:
8 March Le Mans Series tests Paul Ricard Sugden / Bell / Turner
11 April Le Castellet 8 Hours (LMS) Bell / Turner
qualified 31st (P5 GT2) / DNF (fuel pump)
9 May Spa 1,000 Kilometres (LMS) Bell / Turner
qualified 40th (P10 GT2) / race 40th (P15 GT2)
13 June Le Mans 24 Hours Sugden / Bell / Miller
qualified 52nd (P10 GT2) / race DNF (accident)
17 July Algarve 1,000 Kilometres (LMS) Bell / Turner
qualified 27th (P6 GT2) / race 11th (P4 GT2)
22 August Hungaroring 1,000 Kilometres (LMS) Bell / Turner
qualified 28th (P5 GT2) / race 15th (P6 GT2)
12 September Silverstone 1,000 Kilometres (LMS / ILMC) Bell / Turner
qualified 29th (P1 GT2) / race 25th (P3 GT2)
After finishing on a high note with pole position and a podium at the very competitive Intercontinental Le Mans Cup round at Silverstone, JMW were classified 10th in the GT2 class of the 2010 Le Mans Series. The team reverted to a Ferrari in 2011, finishing 2nd in the GTE category in the Le Mans Series, before winning the GTE-Pro category in 2012.
The car is still in its unique Dunlop Racing livery from 2010. JMW had a tradition of holding a competition with Dunlop for a member of the public to win the rights to design the livery – a practice that continued for several years afterwards and resulted in some famous liveries, of which this is one.
The car was sold to the current collector owner directly by JMW in 2017, and he immediately commissioned a full engine and gearbox rebuild from Aston Martin Racing, at a total cost of £80,000. The car has done limited, but reliable, running since.
The owner used the car in the Global Endurance Legends demonstration at Spa in 2018 and then in the Aston Martin Racing Festival, qualifying 10th out of 41 cars and finishing 6th in the race, with a lap time of 4.09 (fifth fastest lap overall).
The car is ready to go and ‘on the button’. As you would expect from a car with this provenance, the car is supplied with copious spares (an extensive list is available) and all the operating manuals to run the car.
Under the leadership of both Peter Auto and the Masters Series, both the Global Endurance Legends series and the Masters Endurance Legends race series have caught the imagination of the historic racing fraternity. The value of these cars relative to their exalted recent history plus the inherent safety of their manufacture to modern safety standards is attractive.
With grids set to increase in 2019, this Aston Martin in its unique livery is a competitive and unusual proposition. With a fresh engine, a newly rebuilt gearbox and a huge quantity of spares, plus a clear and unquestioned race history, it surely represents a great opportunity to join this in-demand series.
Aside from the obvious exception of the later factory cars, it is hard to think of a Vantage V8 GT2 with a better pedigree, making the car a valuable part of the history of Aston Martin Racing.