Here is an official statement that has just appeared in my inbox. It's from Lola and is entitled “Lola sets the record straight with Aston Martin”.
“Following a number of inaccurate and misleading quotes given by the Aston Martin Chairman David Richards, regarding the supply of the Lola LMP1 chassis to Aston Martin Racing for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours and Le Mans Series programme, Lola has decided to set the record straight.
“The Lola Aston Martin is a Lola designed and built car. It is not a ‘radical re-design’ as stated by Aston Martin Racing. Aston Martin has undertaken some body styling cues that required some (Computational Fluid Dynamics) work to try to reinstate the Lola Aero performance and minor bespoke mechanical changes to accommodate the styling changes.
“Lola has spent over two and a half years in the research and development of this state of the art car costing several millions of pounds. Aston Martin contracted with Lola in December 2008 to buy our cars because they knew that as a result of the 2008 performance that we had the leading LMP1 customer car and Aston Martin didn’t have the time to develop their own car.
“When Aston first mooted rehomologation of the Lola car and was given the cost of their contribution to IPR and R&D the negotiations broke down. It is completely inappropriate that Aston Martin should now attempt to achieve “ownership” through misrepresentation in the media. Lola’s binding contract with Aston Martin is for two cars the nomenclature of which under the contract is that the cars must remain Lola Aston Martin.”
Seems a bit of a pity really because Aston and Le Mans have tended to be a pretty decent combo over the years. I remember having my lungs rattled by the Nimrod way back when and it was fantastic, and of late the DBR9s have been involved in some epic battles with the Corvettes. So even if the "is it a Lola, is an Aston Martin" fails to do much in the top class (which looks increasingly likely given the above) I'll still be rooting for the for the GT1 cars. And the one that uses bio-fuel and is being run by a bloke I used to race TVRs against once upon a time.