1963 Aston Martin DP215 GTC Prototype

1963 Aston Martin DP215 Grand Touring Competition Prototype


It was the Works entry for the 1963 Le Mans Prototype Class that truly set the bar for what the Aston Martin engineers could do in regard to aerodynamics, size, weight and horsepower. A wholly unique competition car, the Aston Martin Design Project known as DP215 was to become the last racing car built by the factory, and the ultimate evolution of the Aston Martin GT racers. It was ordered by John Wyer, designed by Ted Cutting, had an engine from Tadek Marek, and was driven by Phil Hill – the great names associated with DP215.

Though very similar in looks to the two prior DP214s, DP215 is a very different car under the skin. Originally created as a vehicle for Tadek Marek’s yet-to-be developed V8, for the 1963 season, DP215 was equipped with a four-liter version of the DP212 six-cylinder twin plug engine – although 400/215/1 was fitted with a dry sump oil system. Modifications to the steel box-frame chassis included allowing for the engine to be fitted a full 10 inches further back than in DP212, as well as independent rear suspension. Ted Cutting was focused on improving balance and aerodynamics – the culmination of years of wind-tunnel testing at MIRA in response to driver complaints of rear lift at high speed.

Just two short months after John Wyer’s memo, Phil Hill and Lucien Bianchi drove DP215 in the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans. It recorded at 198.6 mph along the Mulsanne Straight . . . and had not even reached top speed yet! Indeed in practice, the car became the first car to officially break the 300 kph barrier. Its lap time put it in amongst the Ferrari rear-engined prototypes. It was six seconds a lap faster than the Ferrari 330 LMB running in the same class and 12 seconds a lap faster than the Ferrari 250 GTOs in the GT class. DP215 looked to be a sure winner. Unfortunately, the DBR1-type CG537 gearbox failed due to the high torque of the four-liter engine, and DP215 retired after two hours.

As for the digital restyling? Modern wheels, tires and brakes. Enlarged wheel openings and resetting the chassis height. I’m amazed with just these two changes alone in how this now looks the Cobra Daytona Coupe project that won the FIA Championship just after this time frame…

This is another example of digital restyling and design by ModenaWest