Lola has issued a press release criticising Aston Martin for what Lola describes as ‘misrepresentation’ of its Le Mans effort:
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 CFD 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 re-homologation 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.
This is the extent of the references to Lola in Aston Martin’s press release about its LMP1 campaign:
The new car which is based on the 2008 Charouz Racing System Lola will be powered by the same production-based Aston Martin V12 engine which, last year, helped Aston Martin secure its second successive Le Mans GT1 title with the DBR9. It also powered the Charouz car to a new La Sarthe lap record for a petrol car.
Aston Martin Racing is developing the car in conjunction with Lola, Michelin, Koni and BBS and continues its relationship with major partner Gulf Oil and official clothing partner Hackett. In 2009, the ACO is introducing new regulations aimed at balancing the performance of petrol and diesel engined prototypes making the LMP1 category more appealing and relevant to Aston Martin.
How will Aston Martin react to this apparent broadside by their chassis developers?