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FEBRUARY 26, 2002

Aston Martin to fund Le Mans project

JAGUAR's sister company Aston Martin is to have its own Le Mans 24 Hour program, according to reports in The Financial Times in London. The Ford offshoot wants to promote the Aston Martin image as a maker of top class automobiles and success at Le Mans is seen as the best way of achieving that goal.

The company is currently being shaken up by a team led by Ulrich Bez, who is best known in F1 circles as the Porsche executive who was in charge of the abortive F1 program with Arrows in 1991. Bez, a big fan of using motorsport to promote sales, went on to help build up Korea's Daewoo before moving to Aston Martin in 2000.

The program will include relocating all Aston Martin production to Gaydon, a hike in the number of cars being built and a new model which will be in direct competition to Ferrari, Porsche and top-end Mercedes-Benz machinery.