Geely reportedly eyes Aston Martin stake

Aston Martin ended 2019 with declining sales and profits and now faces an ambitious product expansion ahead. The steep challenge is reflected in the automaker’s share price which sunk below 4 British pounds (approximately $5.20) for the first time last week, a far cry from the 19 British pounds when shares were first listed in 2018.
Aston Martin’s solution is to seek outside help. The automaker confirmed last month it is in talks with potential investors, one of them thought to be a consortium led by Lawrence Stroll, the billionaire backer of the Racing Point Formula One team. Another could be China’s Geely.
The Financial Times (subscription required), citing people familiar with the matter, reported Friday that Geely is looking to buy a stake in Aston Martin and is already conducting due diligence. We’ll remind you that Geely has plenty of experience investing in and turning around established car brands, with the likes of Volvo, Smart, Proton, Polestar and Lotus all under its control. Geely also owns 10 percent of Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler.
There are potential synergies to be realized by Geely should it be successful in gaining a controlling stake in Aston Martin. Most obvious is joint development of sports cars between the Aston Martin and Lotus brands. Both brands are also looking to launch high-performance SUVs, which Aston Martin will do so shortly with the DBX going on sale later this year.
Aston Martin and Geely are also both investing heavily in electric cars. However, it isn’t clear if the reported talks between the two have anything to do with rumors last week that Aston Martin’s first EV, the Rapide E, has been canceled.
What also isn’t clear is whether any deal with Geely would preclude Stroll from investing in Aston Martin. Should Stroll be successful in his bid, we could potentially see Racing Point become the factory team of Aston Martin. Stay tuned.
Source: MotorAuthority.com

Electric Aston Martin Rapide E reportedly canceled

It was nearly fully baked, and now it might not happen at all.
Autocar reported on Friday that the plug has been pulled on the all-electric Aston Martin Rapide E sport sedan.
Aston Martin spokesman Nathan Hoyt would not confirm the program’s demise to Motor Authority and said the automaker doesn’t comment on future product speculation.
Autocar reported the car will now become a research project to further Aston Martin’s electrification program.
The Aston Martin Rapide E was revealed in production trim at the 2019 Shanghai auto show in April. It made a dynamic appearance at the 2019 Formula E Monaco ePrix a month later. There, it turned two laps at speed, seeming to prove development of the all-electric sport sedan was nearly complete.
Aston Martin was slated to build only 155 Rapide E sedans, and only a few slots remained available as of May 2019. Production was supposed to begin at the end of 2019 at the automaker’s new plant in St. Athans, Whales. It didn’t.
The location was set to become the British automaker’s new electrification hub and later the home of the revived, now all-electric, Lagonda brand. It’s unclear what remains of the all-electric Lagonda revival plans, or what will happen to those who placed orders for the Rapide E.
2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
The all-electric Rapide E was set to swap the Rapide’s V-12 engine, transmission, and fuel tank for a rather small 65-kwh battery pack with more than 5,600 individual 18650-format lithium-ion cylindrical cells. The cells were to be arranged in a carbon-fiber and Kevlar battery pack.
It was all to be run through an 800-volt electrical system, which would enable fast-charging rates that most of today’s electric cars, outside of the Porsche Taycan, can’t match. Aston Martin said it would be able to charge to 80 percent in as little as 15 minutes with about 200 miles of range. Notably, other vehicles with battery packs sized at around 95 kwh have only delivered about 200 miles of range, so that 200-mile figure seems overly optimistic.
A pair of electric motors was set to create a total of 601 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque and feed the power through a limited-slip differential to the rear wheels. Quoted performance were respectable, but not mind blowing, with a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. Aston Martin also claimed it would blast from 50 to 70 mph in just 1.5 seconds.
The powertrain was co-developed with Williams Advanced Engineering, an offshoot of the Williams Formula 1 team.
The Rapide E wasn’t the future of Aston Martin, but it was poised to set the stage for the future. The Rapide line was scheduled to be discontinued after the 155-car run. Now it looks like it won’t exist at all.
Source: MotorAuthority.com

Electric Aston Martin Rapide E reportedly cancelled

It was nearly fully baked, and now it might not happen at all.
Autocar reported on Friday that the plug has been pulled on the all-electric Aston Martin Rapide E sport sedan.
Aston Martin spokesman Nathan Hoyt would not confirm the program’s demise to Motor Authority and said the automaker doesn’t comment on future product speculation.
Autocar reported the car will now become a research project to further Aston Martin’s electrification program.
The Aston Martin Rapide E was revealed in production trim at the 2019 Shanghai auto show in April. It made a dynamic appearance at the 2019 Formula E Monaco ePrix a month later. There, it turned two laps at speed, seeming to prove development of the all-electric sport sedan was nearly complete.
Aston Martin was slated to build only 155 Rapide E sedans, and only a few slots remained available as of May 2019. Production was supposed to begin at the end of 2019 at the automaker’s new plant in St. Athans, Whales. It didn’t.
The location was set to become the British automaker’s new electrification hub and later the home of the revived, now all-electric, Lagonda brand. It’s unclear what remains of the all-electric Lagonda revival plans, or what will happen to those who placed orders for the Rapide E.
2020 Aston Martin Rapide E
The all-electric Rapide E was set to swap the Rapide’s V-12 engine, transmission, and fuel tank for a rather small 65-kwh battery pack with more than 5,600 individual 18650-format lithium-ion cylindrical cells. The cells were to be arranged in a carbon-fiber and Kevlar battery pack.
It was all to be run through an 800-volt electrical system, which would enable fast-charging rates that most of today’s electric cars, outside of the Porsche Taycan, can’t match. Aston Martin said it would be able to charge to 80 percent in as little as 15 minutes with about 200 miles of range. Notably, other vehicles with battery packs sized at around 95 kwh have only delivered about 200 miles of range, so that 200-mile figure seems overly optimistic.
A pair of electric motors was set to create a total of 601 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque and feed the power through a limited-slip differential to the rear wheels. Quoted performance were respectable, but not mind blowing, with a 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. Aston Martin also claimed it would blast from 50 to 70 mph in just 1.5 seconds.
The powertrain was co-developed with Williams Advanced Engineering, an offshoot of the Williams Formula 1 team.
The Rapide E wasn’t the future of Aston Martin, but it was poised to set the stage for the future. The Rapide line was scheduled to be discontinued after the 155-car run. Now it looks like it won’t exist at all.
Source: MotorAuthority.com

Ex-Ford drivers Tincknell, Westbrook get Aston Martin Le Mans seats

Ford refugees Harry Tincknell and Richard Westbrook will fill the vacant seats in Aston Martin Racing’s 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours GTE Pro line-up. The pair have been snapped up by the British manufacturer for the 2019/20 World Endurance Championship finale on June 13/14 after the end of the Ford GT programme last year. Tincknell, who was part of the Multimatic-run Ford WEC squad in from 2016-2019, will drive the #97 Vantage GTE alongside Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin. Westbrook, who raced a Ganassi Ford GT in the IMSA SportsCar Championship and at Le Mans in 2016-2019, will share the #95 Vantage GTE with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. The pair replace Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, who respectively drove in the #95 and #97 cars at Le Mans in 2018 and ’19. AMR team principal John Gaw said that Aston had the “pick of the bunch” of available GTE Pro drivers after the end of the Ford programme and BMW’s withdrawal from the WEC. “We wanted drivers with good GTE experience who would fit in with the team,” he told Autosport. “We sat down with existing our drivers and asked them who they wanted, because the chemistry in the team is important. “It helped that Richard and Harry are British, but that wasn’t fundamental in the decision.”AMR president David King added: “Every team wants to put itself in the strongest position to be competitive for Le Mans, and signing Harry and Richard is a big step in that direction.”Mazda IMSA driver Tincknell, who is close friends with Lynn, said: “To be honest I was quite flattered when I got the call. “I was second in class with Ford at Le Mans in 2017 and would very much like to win it, especially because I don’t think anyone else has won both LMP2 [which Tincknell did in ’14] and GTE Pro. “I’ve raced together with Alex on and off since Formula Renault in 2010, so it will be nice to finally join up together.” Westbrook described signing for Aston as “a proud moment for a Brit”. “It’s a good time to be driving for Aston, because it will be the third Le Mans for the new Vantage and the car has shown itself to be competitive on all tracks in the WEC so far this season,” he added. Westbrook explained that he was looking forward to renewing a driving partnership with Thiim, with whom he raced at the Nurburgring 24 Hours aboard an Abt Audi in 2014. “We worked well together and wanted the same things from the car,” he said. “He left a good impression on me and I’m sure vice versa — I know he recommended me.” Aston has stated that it currently has no plans for Westbrook or Tincknell to race at any of the WEC rounds leading up to Le Mans by way of preparation. Both drivers have yet to test the Vantage GTE, although Westbrook was given a try-out in the GT3 version of the car at Snetterton before Christmas. Turner and Adam will remain with their Aston GTE Am WEC teams for the French endurance race.
Source: AutoSport.com

Aston Martin V12 Speedster honors brand’s past for 88 customers

Aston Martin’s next limited-edition car looks to the past as the brand enters the future.
On Tuesday, the British automaker announced the Aston Martin V12 Speedster, a limited-edition topless supercar that will make its formal debut later in 2020.
Designed in-house by Aston Martin’s personalization division known as Q by Aston Martin, the V12 Speedster is said to be a driver-oriented two-seat open cockpit sports car. Its design will honor the the 1959 Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1 and the CC100 Speedster centenary concept car from 2013.
The teaser image doesn’t give away much, but there’s clearly a duckbill spoiler, deep sculpting on the sides with large strakes from the front wheel wells into the door panels. A large front splitter juts out from the front bumper, which has a concave lower portion.
The V12 Speedster will be powered by a twin-turbocharged 5.2-liter V-12 with 690 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. An 8-speed automatic transmission will be mounted toward the rear of the car, likely as a transaxle, and power will be sent to the rear wheels.
Aston Martin said it took its design team and the Q by Aston Martin team more than 12 months to design and plan the V12 Speedster. The automaker has also been finishing up development of its first crossover SUV, the 2021 DBX, along with its Valkyrie hypercar. The 2020 Vantage AMR launched at the end of 2019 with a manual transmission, while everyone waits with bated breath for updates on the upcoming AM-RB 003 hypercar and the reborn Vanquish. A Lagonda SUV is in the works for 2022 as well.
Only 88 V12 Speedsters will be built. While order books are open now, the car won’t be shown until later in 2020 with deliveries expected to begin in the first quarter of 2021. As for price, well, if you have to ask…
Source: MotorAuthority.com

Camera system that eliminates blind spots previewed on Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

Digital rearview mirrors that stream video from from a rear-facing camera have been around for a while. Now, Zeeland, Michigan-based Gentex is ready to showcase a potential evolution for the technology.
Gentex is a company that specializes in auto-dimming rearview mirrors, and at the upcoming 2020 Consumer Electronics Show it will present a new digital rearview camera that integrates video from two cameras covering a vehicle’s blind spots.
2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera fitted with Gentex blind spot camera system
It means that instead of a warning light that current blind spot monitors provide, the Gentex system shows video of the actual road—and whatever objects that might be there—that is blocked by the blind spot. Gentex’s system uses three cameras, one mounted to each of the side mirrors and a third at the rear edge of the roof. It is being demonstrated on an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera.
The system features an auto-adjust element that alters the video feeds from the cameras at each of the side mirrors should a driver adjust the mirror position. And while all of the information in the rearview mirror will probably take some getting used to, there’s the option to switch it off, in which case the rearview mirror behaves like a standard auto-dimming mirror.
2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera fitted with Gentex blind spot camera system
Gentex points out that since the system retains the standard side mirrors, it meets all existing safety regulations—unlike systems that completely replace the side mirrors with cameras. In addition, the system can be tuned to meet various regulatory field-of-view requirements around the world with simple alterations to the video viewing modes, the company said.
Gentex hasn’t announced production plans yet but Aston Martin has praised the technology and has hinted that the system might eventually feature in its cars.
2019 Aston Martin DBS Superleggera fitted with Gentex blind spot camera system
“The goal of this development program with Gentex is to ultimately implement a unique (camera monitoring system) solution that enriches the Aston Martin driving experience for our customers around the world,” Aston Martin Chief Marketing Officer Simon Sproule said in a statement.
CES runs from January 7-10 in Las Vegas. For our full coverage on the event, head to our dedicated hub.
Source: MotorAuthority.com

Aston Martin takes to the skies with ACH130 helicopter

Aston Martin is the latest automaker to lend its name to a vehicle designed for the sky.
The British firm on Friday revealed the ACH130 Aston Martin Edition helicopter at a ceremony in Courchevel in the French Alps.
The “ACH” in the name indicates that the helicopter comes from Airbus Corporate Helicopters; Aston Martin and Airbus formed a partnership in December that will see Aston Martin’s designers help craft exterior and interior elements of Airbus’ helicopters. The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is just the first fruit of the partnership.
There are four liveries for the helicopter, with the highlight being a combination of silver and British racing green. Each livery also has a complementary interior design. For example, the silver and green livery has a cabin lined in saddle brown leather.
2020 ACH130 Aston Martin Edition
A number of Aston Martin winged logos can be found throughout, including on a special plaque on the instrument panel. This panel also bares a unique serial number and, as an option, the owner’s name.
Aston Martin is no stranger to ultra-high luxury collaborations. In 2018, it launched a similar program with Triton Submarines to design Project Neptune, a submersible that could dive to more than 1,500 feet and travel underwater at a speed of 5 knots. The automaker also has a luxury high-rise tower in Miami and a motorcycle developed with Brough Superior.
“We have our own set of automotive design principles but in recent years we have been learning how to apply our principles to other areas of design, such as architecture, motorcycles and now helicopters,” said Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s vice president and chief creative officer.
The ACH130 Aston Martin Edition is available for order and will commence deliveries in the first quarter of 2020.
Source: MotorAuthority.com

Promoted: Jack Butel keen to learn from 2019 British GT campaign

Aston Martin driver Jack Butel believes the experiences he has taken away from his maiden British GT campaign will serve him well in the future as he prepares for his next challenge in 2020.The 23-year-old had a baptism of fire in his first season racing in one of the UK’s top championships with Optimum Motorsport last year.Alongside team-mate Connor O’Brien the pair took a best result of sixth place in class from both races at the season-opening Oulton Park round.The Silver-Silver pairing secured further points finishes with 10th at Snetterton, seventh at the three-hour Silverstone race and a further 10th in class at Brand Hatch, meaning the duo ended the season equal 12th in the GT4 Silver standings with 27.5 points.”I think it was a learning year but I wouldn’t have changed it and I’ve got to look forward now,” said Butel, who prior to British GT competed in the LMP3 Cup.”I think what I learnt the most was the endurance side of British GT, doing three hours at Silverstone I never really did that in LMP3.”Despite the British GT season finishing in September, Butel was back behind the wheel before the end of the year after contesting the Super Trofeo Europe Series finale at Jerez in a Lamborghini Huracan.Having made his debut in the series at the Nurburgring earlier in 2019, Butel once again joined Artline Technology Racing and managed to take a class podium alongside team-mate, Steven Liquorish.”I got to go back in the car and learn more about it than I did last time when I was at the Nurburgring,” added Butel.”I loved it, it was a quick flowing track but it’s pretty hard to overtake so I had to study them [opponents] and having not been to the track before it was knowing where the best places to overtake were.”I think we struggled a bit on the Wednesday and Thursday testing as we were just understanding the car set-up but I think we had a good base set-up for the Friday race.”Butel is now preparing to contest the Dubai 24 Hours on January 10-11, also with Artline in the Huracan, after finishing last year with first in class and eighth overall in the Gulf 12 Hours at the Yas Marina Circuit.It is not the first time the Jerseyman has contested the 24-hour race, having driven an Optimum-run Ginetta G55 GT4 at the start of 2019.
Source: AutoSport.com

AMABA winner Hoggard to make sportscar debut at Daytona 24 Hours

Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year Award winner Johnathan Hoggard will make his sportscar racing debut in an LMP2 car at the Daytona 24 Hours in January.Hoggard’s drive in a Rick Ware Racing Riley Multimatic LMP2 car is his prize for winning the Sunoco Whelen Challenge, eligible to drivers competing in the BRDC British F3 and British GT championships.For the past 11 years the Sunoco Whelen Challenge has come with a seat at Daytona, the opening round of the IMSA Sportscar Championship.The 18-year-old scored a season-high seven victories and pole positions in British F3, as well as eight fastest laps on his way to the runner-up spot behind Clement Novalak, who he beat to the prize drive by having a higher average score across each round.Hoggard’s opportunity with NASCAR squad RWR, which has expanded into prototype racing in the Asian Le Mans Series this year, comes after 2018 BRDC British F3 champion Linus Lundqvist raced a GTD Lamborghini Huracan for the Precision Performance Motorsport team for his prize this year.Previously, British GT champions Seb Morris, Stuart Middleton and Jonny Adam have raced in the top prototype class with Action Express Racing.Hoggard, whose only previous experience in sportscars came when he tested the Ligier JSP3 and Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the AMABA tests, will share with Indianapolis 500 regular James Davison and RWR’s Asian LMS pairing of Cody Ware and Mark Kvamme.IMSA’s LMP2 class was separated from the premier DPi class last year, with the lineups required to include at least one amateur-graded driver and, unlike the manufacturer modified bodywork and powertrains, use the standard Gibson V8 engine and bodywork package.The Riley Multimatic forms the basis for the race-winning Mazda DPi, but has had little success in global LMP2 competition since its introduction in 2017, with ORECA and Ligier largely dominating the market.It’s best result in IMSA to date is the third place scored by the Visit Florida Racing crew at the 24 Hours in 2017.
Source: AutoSport.com

Ex-BMW star Blomqvist joins R-Motorsport Aston Martin for 2020

Tom Blomqvist will join the R-Motorsport Aston Martin GT squad for 2020 after his departure from BMW.Blomqvist, who was released by the German manufacturer this month after five seasons, will race an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for the squad jointly run by the Arden and Jota Sport teams in the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance and Sprint Cups next year.There has so far been no announcement of team-mates for the winner of the Spa 24 Hours in 2018, but R-Motorsport’s two-car campaign on the twin legs of World Challenge Europe is expected to include a number of the drivers who raced for the team in 2019.Blomqvist, son of former World Rally Champion Stig, said: “I’m really looking forward to joining R-Motorsport, which is undoubtedly one of the best teams around in endurance racing.”I’ve competed against them a few times and know just how competitive they are.””The 2020 season promises to be a great year.”R-Motorsport team principal Florian Kamelger added: “Tom combines youth and experience, making him a valuable addition to our team.”Blomqvist also thanked BMW for his time at the marque, during which he raced in the DTM, Formula E, the IMSA SportsCar Championship and the World Endurance Championship.The seat he occupied at the factory Rahal team in the IMSA series last year has been taken by Bruno Spengler after his departure from the DTM.Blomqvist won the the blue-riband Spa round of the World Challenge Europe, then known as the Blancpain GT Series, two years ago aboard a factory-supported Walkenhorst Motorsport M6 GT3 shared with fellow factory drivers Philipp Eng and Christian Krognes.
Source: AutoSport.com