Part of Aston Martin's centenary celebrations included a parade lap around the Le Mans circuit in front of 250,000 spectators. 

It might sound like a relatively straightforward undertaking, a simple cruise around the track, but what I hadn't realised was that there was 100 Aston Martins set to take part.

That would no doubt prove to be quite a logistical challenge, lining up the cars between the events on track and getting them all out on time and in the right order.

With the parade due to take part at 10:55AM, we met at a pre-arranged point just next to the circuit at 9AM, where Aston officials began tagging and organising the rapidly accumulating queue of cars.

Our DB9 Volante transpired to be car number 16. We'd be following another DB9 Volante, which Stan Papior, our photographer, would be riding along in to take pictures. Behind us was yet another DB9, driven by PistonHead's Dan Trent and Stuart Forrest. 

We were slowly led out on to an unused section of track, and parked up while we waited for the historic racers to finish their competitive session on the circuit. Rain intermittently fell but nothing could dampen the spirits of the owners and officials, who bustled around ensuring everything was in order. 

Nor was the rain going to stop me from dropping the hood on the Volante, in order to really find out what that V12 sounded like at full chat on the Mulsanne straight. 

Prior to the drive we'd been given instructions on how to behave and, as you'd expect, it was all pretty much par for the course for a display run. No overtaking, no showboating, no driver swaps on the circuit and so on. Basically, apply a modicum of common sense and don't race.

It was rumoured that the event had been brought forwards, so the officials redoubled their efforts to get everyone in the right place. Fortunately, it turned out that the lap wouldn't take place until its allotted time anyway, so we waited until the green light was given.

Straight six, V8 and V12 engines barked and coughed in to life as the drivers of Astons new and old sensed our imminent release on to the track. There were Astons of all types taking part, including the One-77. Leading the pack would be the CC100, driven by Aston Martin's CEO, Dr Ulrich Bez.

Further up front, the change in engine notes suggested that the parade had begun. I hit the 'Sport' button, sharpening the Aston's responses and - more importantly - opening the exhaust valves for a louder exhaust note.

As we turned from the staging area on to the entrance of the first corner, the Aston's tail stepped sideways momentarily. I made a mental note to be tentative with the throttle through the bends, as the track was much slicker than I'd expected it to be.

Visions of ending up in a gravel trap or facing the wrong way, definitely not the done thing on a gentle parade lap, flashed through my mind, serving as further mental caution.

As we rounded the first corner and started building up some speed, a wave of euphoria swept over me. 100 years of engineering, design and manufacturer had bought Aston to this point, and here we were, driving one of its more recent cars among its elder brethren at one of the most historic racing events in the world.

With the crowds cheering and cameras flashing, we ran round the circuit, slowing to a crawl then accelerating at various points, the spectators revelling in the sights and sounds of 10 decades of history in motion.

It was only a shame that, about half way into the lap, the CC100 dropped out due to reputed electrical failures. Aston didn't seem particularly happy about it getting wet the day before, so maybe it suffered some water ingress. 

Regardless, taking part in the parade was a memorable and intoxicating experience. Driving on the track itself, seeing that many Astons on the move, the crowds, the marshals, the cackle of the DB9's exhaust and seeing the speedo flick into triple figures as the trees flashed past on the Mulsanne straight are all memories that are now permanently engrained in my mind.

For me, the most memorable part was no doubt turning the last corner and spotting the finishing straight ahead. Lord knows what seeing that line, after 24 hours of flat-out racing, must feel like. I can only imagine that it must be a heady concoction of relief, satisfaction and ecstasy.

It struck me, as we finally came to a halt, that the lap had been a particularly fitting way to commemorate the brand, with the cars being used as intended in a location where they've been racing since 1928. A suitable tribute, I think you'll agree, particularly as the vast majority of the Astons had been driven there by their owners.

After all, Aston Martins are designed to offer the maximum of luxury and refinement as well as the ultimate in road performance. To see them being used for long-distance touring and track driving suggests to me that, for many, they deliver just that.

Here's to the next 100 years of Aston Martin.