Aston Martin Racing hosted a pre-season test for both the factory team and private teams at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France, following in the footsteps of the first such event that took place last year.
As well as the two-car Gulf factory team of DBR9s that will compete at Le Mans, there were several customer DBR9s on track. The brand new Charouz Racing Systems LMP1 car powered by Aston Martin - which will be driven at Le Mans by Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mucke - also took to the circuit for the two-day test.
Aston Martin's other racecars at Paul Ricard included the new Vantage GT2, along with the DBRS9 GT3 car and several examples of the V8 Vantage N24, which will be competing in the FIA GT4 Championship this year.
Fresh from the Geneva Motorshow, the V12 Vantage RS concept road car also took to the circuit to join its racing stablemates.
The Paul Ricard circuit near Toulon is a former French Grand Prix venue that has been turned into the world's most advanced test track. It is famous for the Mistral straight - at 1.8km is the longest permanent straight in Europe - giving the Aston Martins a flavor of the legendary Mulsanne at Le Mans they will face in June.
Aston Martin Racing fielded two DBR9s in Gulf livery - traditionally numbered 007 and 009 - in order to test the cars for the Le Mans 24 Hours. The drivers were Antonio Garcia, Andrea Piccini, Darren Turner and Karl Wendlinger. Newcomers to the DBR9 were Ryan Dalziel, Robbie Kerr, and former Grand Prix star Heinz-Harald Frentzen.The German driver, winner of three Grands Prix, commented: "I've not driven any sort of racing car for 18 months, so this was a great opportunity for me to get back into action. I really enjoyed the experience of driving the DBR9, and actually found it easy to drive. It was good fun to get behind the wheel of a proper GT car and I've definitely got a taste for it now."
The Gigawave Motorsport, Jetalliance and Strakka Racing teams also tested their DBR9s at Paul Ricard while Hexis Racing tested its DBRS9s in preparation for the forthcoming season.
Aston Martin Chairman David Richards commented: "Just three years ago we didn't have a single Aston Martin racecar, so if you look at how far we have come in that short space of time, it's quite incredible. Now we have cars in every category, from GT1 to GT4. To see all those cars out here together makes me very proud, and it's a valuable opportunity for the whole Aston Martin family to share the circuit and their experiences with the factory Gulf team."