Grand Throwback #3 - Aston Martin DBRS9
The fat-free DBR9 for GT3 competition...
If we think about GT3 today, it's full of purpose-built racers that manufactures spend ages designing and testing to make sure they are the best they can be. However, things used to be very different in the early days of GT3. Namely, 2005.
Cast your mind back to 2005, Batman Begins was in the cinema and The Killers were in your CD player (remember those!), and the guys and girls at Aston Martin Racing were wondering what other motorsport they could go into now that they had had enough of GT1. The only logical course of action was GT3, but what car were they going to use? Well... they did have those GT1 DBR9s lying around.
The DBR9 was the basis of the GT3 spec DBRS9.
So with classic British optimism AMR set about making a DBR9 slower. Not a particularly tricky job, but it had to be done. Gone was the DBR9's 625HP 6.0L V12, and a 5.9L V12 producing 550HP put in. On top of this, the bodywork was altered and 60Kg extra was dumped in the car to make it comply with the GT3 regulations. The DBRS9 really was a slightly detuned LMGT1 racer. Unlike the DBR9, the GT3 counterpart was available with either a 6-speed manual -as in 3 pedals and some heel and toe action - or an Xtrac 6-speed sequential from its bigger GT1 brother.
Inside the DBRS9.
What the DBRS9 did well was approachability, this was a car designed for top level GT racing, but you could start it with a key and just drive. No need to plug a laptop in, or heat up the oil. The car just worked. As is to be expected, the DBRS9 was a hit in GT3. 26 race-prepped versions were sold in total, which was good going for a GT3 car in the series' early years. Now it was time to go racing!
BMS Scuderia Italia's DBRS9 - Credit: Motorpsort.com
So how did the DBRS9 do on the track? Well, it was actually pretty good. 2006 was the Aston's debut year, and boy did it hit the groud running. For the FIA GT3 European Championship the two teams running the DBRS9 were BMS Scuderia Italia and Barwell Motorsport. Barwell's campaign is best left forgotten, but the BMS effort was a much more interesting story. Having not scored any points in the first 3 races, BMS weren't the favourites heading into the fourth round. However, they pulled it out the bag and got the DBRS9 its first win. Not bad for a detuned DBR9, eh? The final result for the BMS team in the championship was fourth, and the Barwell team were joint last.
Barwell Motorsport's Aston
As much as the Barwell team didn't have great success in the FIA GT3 Euro Championship, British GT was a much better place for them in 2006. After a consistent season, the squad achieved a 3rd place finish in the championship.
The following year the DBRS9 finished runner-up in the FIA GT3 Euro Championship under the supervision of BMS Scuderia Italia, and 2008 saw the DBRS9 finish 3rd in the standings of the ADAC GT Masters series.
Overall, the DBRS9 was a lukewarm success achieving multiple wins and some other good results along the way. It didn't set the world on fire, but it wasn't as bad as the Maserati Coupe Grand Sportif Light. What the DBRS9 did show was that even an afterthought of a GT3 car could do well given the right circumstances. Not many people remember the DBRS9, but the ones that do, know how special it is...
Other Parts In The Series:
A historically significant car for GT3 racing, but not for the right reason