1920’s Le Mans Aston Martin LM2
We recently had the pleasure of lining this set of brand-new brake shoes in our competition friction material “MBL450”.
The material was professionally bonded to the brake shoes, with oversized thickness and then our expert machinists mounted the shoes to the back plates provided. We then turned the shoes to fit the beautifully produced new brake drums for this 1920’s Le Mans Aston Martin LM2. This should see LM2 ready for some more competition in the near future.
Here follows a brief history of the car and its importance to the Aston Martin brand and their future racing programme.
LM2 and its sister car LM1 were the first two cars that Aston Martin (or Renwick & Bertelli as it was then) took to Le Mans in 1928. Bertelli was extremely keen for his Aston Martin’s to prove themselves in competition. In this way, lessons learned on the racetrack could be quickly incorporated onto the production cars. Also, competition success would reflect well on the cars and encourage more to be sold, and Le Mans was most prestigious European race in which to showcase any new race car of the period. Renwick & Bertelli wanted to offer a vehicle which could be driven straight to France and complete the Le Mans race without any further special preparation. Pre 1940, there were no transportation vehicles to speak of and it was common practice for every competitor to drive their race car to the event beforehand. The 1928 journey wasn’t without incident and just outside Le Mans itself both LM1 and LM2’s axles collapsed. Quick repairs were carried out but sadly both cars retired. The Team were awarded the special Rudge -Whitworth prize of 1,000 Francs for having the fastest 1½ litre cars in the first 20 laps. This was no small achievement for the new company’s first venture into racing.
In 1929, LM1 & LM2 were entered for the new Double Twelve race at Brooklands. It is worth appreciating the differences between restrictions on racing in the UK compared to those in Europe. Unlike in Europe, the UK did not permit public road races, nor did it allow road closures for the purposes of racing, and 24-hour races were not allowed. Brooklands is important and prestigious here because it was the World’s first purpose-built racetrack, and permitted race Teams to compete on British soil rather than having to travel overseas. The Double Twelve was a 24-hour race split into two 12-hour races to work around this rule! Both this, and the Le Mans races, were very prestigious. Sadly again, LM2 retired but history had been made and is today what Aston Martin can trace its racing roots to.
LM2 has a comprehensive racing history continuing right through too today. It was last on track in September 2020 and was driven by pro-driver Richard Bradley who won the Le Mans LMP2 class in 2015. This most recent race was a mixed marque pre-war race which included some bigger beasts including some 4½ litre Bentleys. Richard put LM2 through its paces and finished a close second place overall to one such Bentley. Just prior to this though, the current owner of LM2 drove it all the way down to Brescia in Italy before completing the 1000 km route on the Nuvolari Rally. After this, LM2 was driven home to the UK once again and then prepped for the races at Silverstone.
Many thanks to Ecurie Bertelli for the history on the car and who keep the car in its competitive state.
Also, credit to Adam Gompertz for the Silverstone shots.
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