Sam Philip21 May 2009

Three Astons for Le Mans

British race team readies a trio of LMP1 cars for June’s big endurance race

Aston Martin Le Mans

This year's 24 Hours of Le Mans just got 50 per cent better. Aston Martin has announced that it will run three LMP1 cars in this year's endurance race, which kicks off on June 13.

Three cars. We knew Aston would run a pair of cars at Le Mans, but the arrival of a third car is the orange icing on the Gulf blue cake.

It'll be numbered 009 – the other two cars are numbered 007 (which is apparently significant for some reason) and 008 – and driven by Anthony Davidson, Stuart Hall and Jos Verstappen.

That's a tidy driving line-up – Davidson is a former F1 racer who you might have heard doing Grand Prix commentary on Radio Five Live,  while Verstappen a veteran of over 100 Grands Prix and the most successful Dutch F1 driver in history. OK, that success was limited to a brace of podiums back in 1994, but hey, let’s not spoil the happy vibes.

Aston's early season form looks promising for Le Mans. The LMP1 car scored victory in Barcelona last month, admittedly against a field conspicuously lacking in diesel-powered Audis or Peugeots.

Ominously, both those teams have been right on the pace, too. Peugeot took victory in the Spa 1,000km race a week ago, while Audi’s R15 took the chequered flag at the Sebring 12 Hours.

Can the petrol-powered Aston dish out a thoroughly British kicking to the French and Germans? Top Gear will be in Le Mans to find out. Anyone joining us?

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