Banbury motorsport firm Prodrive is this month celebrating the 10th anniversary of its partnership with Aston Martin to create the Aston Martin Racing team – a relationship that continues to put the town on the global stage.
The relationship between Prodrive and Aston Martin began in April 2004 with a workshop in Banbury creating the DBR9 prototype ‘mule’ car.
By July of that year the DBR9 was unveiled to the world’s media at Aston Martin’s headquarters in Gaydon and 10 years down the line – following numerous success stories on the track – the partnership continues to go from strength to strength.
Prodrive chairman David Richards said: “I have had a great affinity for Aston Martin stretching back to my childhood.
“Just over ten years ago Prodrive was running a very successful private Ferrari GT programme. However, my real desire was to do the same for Aston Martin and following a discussion with Ford, where I agreed to finance the project, Aston Martin Racing was born.”
Prodrive – which employs more than 500 people is Banbury, Warwickshire and Milton Keynes – is fully responsible for all aspects of the Aston Martin Racing programme, from the design and development of race cars to running the works team in sports cars series across the world, including the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The team first competed at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2005 and was victorious on its first outing. The team has since gone on to win the GT1 class at Le Mans 24 Hours on two occasions in 2007 and 2008, both with the DBR9 car.
In 2009 the team won the Le Mans Series with the DBR1-2 LMP1 car and today runs the Vantage GTE in the World Endurance Championship.
Up until the opening race of this year’s World Endurance Championship at Silverstone at the weekend, the works team had competed in 75 events, winning 24 races and finishing on the podium a further 41 times.
Mr Richards said: “The 1950s is, quite rightly, heralded as the most significant period of motorsport success in Aston Martin’s history.
“I wonder if in years to come people will look back on this last decade as being equally important.
“It has certainly been the start of a new and exciting era for Aston Martin Racing.”