1989 Aston-Martin AMR1

Images copyright Alan Lis and Dirk de Jager
Text copyright Michael J. Fuller

The Aston-Martin AMR-1 raced during the heyday of Group C racing, introduced during the 1989 World Championship season.  The AMR1's best finish was a fourth place at Brands Hatch.  The team placed sixth in the Team's Championship behind Team Sauber Mercedes, Joest Racing, Brun Motorsport, and the Silk Cut Jaguars of TWR.  Soon after the project was canned though that probably had more to do with internal Aston-Ford politics than any perceived performance deficit. 
An interesting detail is the front wheel well evacuation, notice how the wheel well exit is completely opened up to allow the high pressure air an avenue of escape. 
The AMR's cooling architecture is very odd.  The water coolers are located at the very rear of the chassis and are fed from ducts very large duct intakes formed in the rear bodywork.  One wonders if airflow to the rear wing (the mounts of which can be seen behind the cooler) was effected by this layout.
The primary inlet for the oil coolers is located just forward of the rear wheel in the sidepod (and can just be seen aft of the door opening in this shot).  This duct here (highlighted) augments the cooling for the engine bay and oil cooler by grabbing the exhausted flow from the front wheel well exit.
Le Mans scrutineering 1989Great pains were taken to reduce the amount of protuberances from the mechanical package into the tunnel section.  The entire drive train and engine were tilted to pick those bits up out of the way of the tunnel. 
The 6.3 liter, 740 hp, Reeves Callaway prepared, normally aspirated V8. 

Costas Los, driver of the AMR1, adds his thoughts, "The Aston had an amazingly torquey engine. It was very well screwed together; it finished its first 24 hour race without a shakedown so to speak, and according to Richard Williams, the gearbox was good enough to stay in the car after Mike Roe, Brian Redman, and myself had finished with it.  I can't comment too much on handling characteristics because we were sent out to finish the 24 hours and not to race (contrary to car 19), so I took it quite easy in that race.  When I shook down the first AMR1 at an airfield in April, I was asked to drive down a long straight, break, turn round and drive back. I had to do this repeatedly for a while, and at one point half way down the straight in top gear, the car took off as if someone had just switched on some sort of after-burner.  When I got to the end of the runway, almost failing to stop in time, I turned round and found the entire rear body had come off. When I got to the pits, I suggested we run without the back cover, the car was so much quicker in a straight line.  The rear wing was attached directly to the gearbox so the characteristic out of control manoeuvre which often comes with a sudden aerodynamic imbalance didn't occur."

©Copyright 2004, Michael J. Fuller
"Its marvelous to go so very fast!"