Banbury’s Aston Martin racing team returned to the Hotel de France after more than 50 years on Monday to relive memories from the sportscar manufacturer’s history at the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In the 1950s and 1960s the racing team used the Hotel de France as its base for the 24-hour race.
And this year they returned with three of its 2015 V8 Vantage GTEs and works driver and Chacombe resident Darren Turner, Richie Stanaway and Mathias Lauda.
David Richards, chairman of Aston Martin Racing, said: “The Hotel de France is an important part of Aston Martin’s motorsport heritage, having been the team’s Le Mans base for many years in the 1950s, including 1959 when the team won the 24-hour race.
“This year, we wanted to recreate the nostalgia of those days, when the racing cars had their final preparations alongside the hotel before being driven some 40km to the circuit along public roads.”
Hundreds of people from the area gather in the small French town of Le Mans to catch a glimpse of the cars, and in 1959, the hotel saw its first victory party when the Aston Martin DBR1, driven by Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori, won the race for John Wyer, then Aston Martin’s team manager.
Martin Overington, owner of the Hotel de France, said: “This is one of the biggest events that has been taken place at the hotel. It is literally history repeating itself and we are delighted to be welcoming the racing cars, their drivers and Mr Richards.”
Aston Martin Racing will return to Le Mans’ Circuit de la Sarthe to contest this year’s 24-hour race with its five V8 Vantage GTEs on June 13/14.