Tag Archives: Le Mans

Lord Drayson Is Your New Master, Bow Down On To The Electrified Ground Beneath His Feet.

By Tim Smith

Lord Drayson (of much EV racing car and Electric Land Speed Record fame), has announced, together with Imperial Innovations plc, the formation of a new company, Drayson Wireless.

You may remember Drayson from him leaving a high placed government defence procurement position to go and take part in Le Mans. You may also remember him from this Chris Harris video. If none of these ring a bell, then maybe, in the coming years you’ll remember him because his name might just be stickered over everything that carries and moves in London.

Drayson in the middle. Some famous bloke on the right.

Drayson in the middle. Some famous bloke on the right.

The new company will work on the application of wireless charging technologies over the coming years. It’s a fair bet that vehicles with predictable patterns of use such as busses, taxis and delivery vehicles will be the first to take advantage of the technology.

Indeed Qualcomm (a tech company that part of Drayson’s team have taken experience from) already have a foothold in this area.

The other half of the partnership, Imperial Innovations, is a technology company specialising in the transfer of high-end new technologies in both the bio and mechanical sectors. In 2005 they signed a deal with Imperial College London to commercialise technology derived from the research that takes place there.

Make no mistake, this is a major move on a future large scale that could see Lord Drayson secure a monopoly on an emerging and potentially enormous market.

It is nice to think, though, that parts of London may become hushed and somewhat (for London, at least) calm.

 

 

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Aston Martin Racing Is Ten Years Old

By Tim Smith

It may be slightly odd that a company like Aston Martin should choose to go racing. The fact is, AM make large, heavy, Grand Touring cars, that, given some time on the track, may amuse, but ultimately would never quite hold together the qualities of a great ‘track car’.

Racing, though, is as varied as the manufacturers that take part. Where you have a horse, you are bound to find a course.

Looking to promote the then new DB9, AM decided they should send it racing. After all, AM had some history in distance racing, and, to a certain extent, what better grand tour to test your cars on than a race that lasts for 24 hours.

DBR9_Le Mans_2008_01

So, 2004, AM send a race homologated DB9 into the maelstrom. The DBR9 wins its first race at the Sebring 12 hours. A famously punishing track, located on an old US Army Air Force base, combining surface changes and rough, difficult corners, this was no small achievement.

The following races, were less than smooth, though. The DBR9 suffered fuelling problems that saw them consistently over come by that all American middle-class hero, the Corvette.

As with all things, though, the key to success was perseverance. In 2007, the DBR9, after grinding away, moving up the ranks and securing points, took a class win at that most important of endurance races, Le Mans.

DBR9_Le Mans_2008_03

It repeated the success the following year. More importantly, every privateer with a DBR9 managed to finish the race distance.

Looking for an outright Le Mans win, AM, in partnership with Lola, constructed an LMP1 car, the B09/60 or, as the PR people would have it, the DBR1-2.

During a year when both Peugeot and Audi were fielding mighty diesel-powered LMP1’s with greater range and better torque, the B09/60 finished highest in among the petrol driven cars.

DBR1-2_Nurburgring_2009_01

There in, lay the problem, though. The B09/60 ran an evolution of the DBR9’s V12, itself based on the production V12’s that rumble around the moneyed streets of towns and cities around the world. It was becoming obvious that to win, you’d need either a diesel or some very expensive looking hybrid technology. AM didn’t and don’t produce a diesel engine, have no plan to, nor, for the time being at least, do they have access to a competitive hybrid program. So they pulled out.

It makes sense for AM to concentrate on production based racing. they are small. Teams like Audi and Porsche are part of enormous country class business’ but it is also important to remember that they hail from the same continent class business.

Maybe, just maybe, with the new deal that *seems* to be going through with AMG we might just see an AM prototype again, and, perhaps, the fight could be taken right to VW’s enormous door.

In the mean-time raise whatever beverage you have to hand to ten years of Aston Martin Racing, and ten more years of success for one of the hardest working teams in the world.

10 years of AMR

 

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