Famous Aston Martin to Run at Phillip Island


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHILLIP ISLAND – Feb 5, 2013: The centenary of Aston Martin will be marked in historic style at the 2013 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport from March 8-10 with the appearance of one of the British sports car maker’s most famous Post War racing saloons.

One of the rare Le Mans-specification Aston Martin DB2 coupes that formed Briggs Cunningham’s three-car entry in the 1950 Sebring Six-Hour race in the USA will be driven in Regularity events at this year’s Phillip Island Classic by its joint owner, Australia’s first Le Mans 24-Hour race winner, Vern Schuppan.

The famous Aston, chassis LML/50/13, was the first DB2 delivered to Canada and is notable as being the 13th of the first 50 DB2 coupes built.

These early DB2s are visually similar to the class-winning Aston Martin teams cars that competed with distinction at Le Mans in 1949 and 1950 and are instantly recognisable to enthusiasts by their ‘washboard’ ribbed side bonnet vents and distinctive three-piece grille design.

Captivated by North America’s postwar enthusiasm for sports car racing, legendary sportsman Briggs Cunningham fielded a team of three new Aston Martin DB2s at the December 1950 Sam Collier Memorial Grand Prix at Sebring in Florida.

Chassis LML/50/13 was driven from Toronto to Sebring in wintry conditions for the six-hour endurance race, finishing fourth in class and being awarded the Adele Chinetti Cup for the ‘Most Sporting Effort’.

After leading an active historic racing life for many years, LML/50/13 was recently restored to its former glory at an estimated cost of USD $250,000 before being purchased jointly by Schuppan and Queensland enthusiast Peter Harburg at last year’s RM Monterey Auction.

While retaining its original chassis and body panels during the restoration, the Aston’s 2.6-litre W.O.Bentley-designed twin overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine was uprated to 2.9 litre DB3S sports car specification and now develops around 200 horsepower (150kW), giving it very spirited performance – something Schuppan is looking forward to.

“As I already own a similar but road-going DB2, I have followed this famous car for many years,” said Schuppan, whose 1983 Le Mans victory for the Rothmans Team Porsche in one of their 956 sports cars was a highlight of his long Formula 1, Indianapolis and sports car endurance racing career.

“It’s a great car and as it is fully track prepared I’m really looking forward to experiencing it on a circuit like Phillip Island, where I can really open it up over the weekend.

“Other than when I practiced a DB4 for the Goodwood Revival one year, it will be the first Aston I have driven on a racing circuit.”

Schuppan’s DB2 is one of more than 450 special vehicles – 36 of them from overseas – taking part in the 2013 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport from Friday March 8-Sunday March 10.

The highlight of the meeting will be the International Sportscar Challenge for ‘big banger’ sports cars from the 1960s-1980s, with two rolling start races for a full grid of cars on the Saturday and a half hour mini-enduro as a feature of Sunday’s program.

The 24th annual Phillip Island Classic is being staged by the Victorian Historic Racing Register and is supported by Shannons, CoolDrive, Penrite and Bosch, with race officials supplied by the Victorian Mini Club.

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