Aston Martin

Carroll Shelby an Aston Martin and Le Mans

Road-going DBs weren’t Sir David Brown’s only achievements as managing director of Aston Martin, and he also brought the British brand back to the race track by launching the DBR series in the early 1950s. More importantly, Brown approved the development of Aston Martin’s only outright Le Mans winner to date.

The specific car is the DBR1, which won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, against stiff competition from V-12 powered Ferraris and Carroll Shelby behind the wheel.

The DBR1 appeared in 1956 at the same time regulations for sportscar racing changed.
It was no longer necessary for race cars to be modified road-legal vehicles.

The DBR1 was fundamentally different from the DB3 and DB3S and loosely based on the DB2 coupe.

Back to Shelby; A man who often described himself as a failed chicken farmer, Shelby had been one of the first Americans to race profitably in Europe, winning Le Mans in 1959 with Roy Salvadori in the Aston Martin DBR1.

After ten years of trying and three second- places. Owner David Brown was determined to win one of sportscar racing’s most significant events, the Le Mans 24 Hours.

In 1959 the number five DBR1 crossed the line after 24 hours to complete 323 laps, one more than its sister car, to secure Aston Martin’s first. Only 13 of the 53 starters finished the fatiguing contest.

The DBR1 was entered in 73 races, scoring nine outright wins. Notable drivers included Roy Salvadori, Tony Brooks, Stirling Moss, Graham Whitehead, Carroll Shelby, Jim Clark, and Jack Brabham.

A heart condition forced Carroll Shelby to retire after the 1960 season.

He then moved to Southern California to pursue his dream; producing sports cars powered by an American V8 engine.

The rest is history.