Aston boss wants changes at Le Mans
In spite of the Lola B09/60-Aston Martins taking top spot among the petrol cars during qualifying for this year's Le Mans, boss David Richards wants to be competing for more at the 24 Hours.
Autoblog caught up with the man at the centre of the British-based team to find out more.Autoblog: Aston Martin have got a fantastic record at Le Mans built over many years. How frustrating is it now to be fighting for top petrol honours rather than being able to take the battle to the diesels for overall victory?
David Richards: It's frustrating for us but it's a question you'd have to ask the ACO, you know. Wouldn't it be better for them to have great brands like Aston Martin competing on a equal playing field with the Audis and Peugeot diesel cars.
Have you approached the ACO about the regulations?
They've constantly said that this is their goal but it's like poachers and gamekeepers - the poachers keep moving faster than the gamekeepers can keep up. I give them credit for their intentions but they've really got to make it stick.
The regulations for next year don't appear to make the situation any better regarding competitiveness. How do you see your future involvement at Le Mans?
The hybrid situation complicates things for us now. It's not a technology that interests us, we're more interested in lightweight structures, the evolution of the [Aston Martin] road cars will go far more towards lightweight structures in the future. We'd like to see that introduced in racing and allow us to build lighter weight race cars. We think we should be allowed to do that and Audi share our view on that as well.
Do you see any prospect of Aston Martin beating the diesel cars?
We have to be realistic and the achieveable goal is to be the top petrol car. After all, sportscars are petrol cars - do you know many diesel sports cars? We're going to be the top proper sports car here and that will be a great accolade to the team, they'll have done a fantastic job.
The Aston Martin Racing Young Driver teams is on pole in the GT1 category. With the GT categories combining next year, how do you see that unfolding?
Well, we have a great GT2 car anyway, we just haven't had enough exposure to it and we haven't had enough cars out there. We will put in a number of developments we want to introduce.
Is it a good idea?
It's a great idea, absolutely the right way to go. Handicap racing with balance and performance is one thing but when you can get them on the grid all in a single category then that is a good starting point.
Will all the cars be appearing at Goodwood [Festival of Speed] after Le Mans?
I believe we will be coming to Goodwood, we always love going there, it's a great chance to get close to all our fans in England, so I'm pretty sure we'll be there.