The 60th anniversary of the 1959 Le Mans victory for Aston Martin and Avon Tyres (the first ever World Sports Car Championship win by a British team), will be marked with a fabulous display of cars during the eighth Castle Combe Autumn Classic on Saturday 5 October.
Avon Tyres and the Aston Martin Owners Club, as well as the Aston Martin Heritage Trust, are teaming up to show a range of classic Aston Martins in an Avon-branded marquee to celebrate the long and successful relationship between Avon and Aston Martin. In the 1959 Le Mans 24-Hours, Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby headed an Aston Martin and Avon one-two in their DBR1. It is very probable that the cars and tyres were tested at Castle Combe in the build up to the 24-hour race.
The special Le Mans-themed display will he headlined by DBR1/4, the car that finished second at Le Mans in 1959 when driven by Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frere. The story then comes into the 1980s with an example of the Aston Martin Nimrod, the Group C project that started in 1982 with Le Mans as its target. Sadly, the Nimrod project folded in 1984 when both cars were badly damaged in a fiery accident at Le Mans. On show at Castle Combe will be one of the surviving cars from the five originally built.
Other stunning Aston Martins are expected to feature in the display, including examples of the DB2, DB2/4 & DB4.
Through the 1950s, Aston Martins featured regularly at Castle Combe, starting at the circuit’s first public race meeting in October 1950, when Captain Ernest Stapleton raced a 1936 ‘Spa Special’ Speed Model. Later Le Mans winner Roy Salvadori, Reg Parnell and Graham Whitehead all raced Aston Martins at Castle Combe.
Avon started producing tyres in 1885 and has been closely associated with Castle Combe since the early days of the track. A formal relationship started in 1952 when the Wiltshire tyre company started using the circuit for tyre testing. The famous Avon Bridge at the paddock exit at Camp Corner was first built later that year and in 1981 the fast approach to Quarry Corner was named Avon Rise.
For more details about the Castle Combe Autumn Classic, head over to www.autumnclassic.co.uk.