December will see the vehicle dynamics team at Aston Martin Lagonda (AML) change address to somewhere rather special: Silverstone. The site, known as the ‘home of British motor racing’ and located alongside the famous Stowe Circuit, will provide a permanent base for the luxury carmaker’s test and development programs, as well as performance benchmarking, durability testing and powertrain systems development.
The facilities should be put to good use, as Aston Martin intends to launch a completely new car every year, such as the Rapide E, an SUV, mid-engined sports cars, as well as Lagonda models and multiple special editions. Keeping up with this output means the vehicle dynamics team will have a busy program of prototype vehicle testing, aided by access to Silverstone’s choice of circuits and dynamic handling areas for chassis dynamics work and high-speed handling development. The site will also boast a state-of-the-art workshop with dedicated technicians on-site.
Aston Martin’s chief engineer for vehicle engineering, Matt Becker said, “The new base at Silverstone will provide us with a reference circuit upon which to develop the next generation of Aston Martins. Silverstone is a fantastic place for us to practice the dark art of vehicle dynamics, the fine tuning that takes place to turn a good car into a great car. Our talented team of engineers and our high-performance test drivers now have a racing circuit right outside the door.”
A good example of the benefits of this convenience is with ride tuning. At present the team carries out ride tuning work in the UK and then travels to circuits across Europe to evaluate the high-speed ride, handling and steering. Indeed most of Aston Martin’s stability control (ESP) development is done on a test track in Europe, so having this new UK base will be a real advantage to the team.
Senior manager of vehicle engineering, Ian Hartley added, “As our cars become even more high performance, our dependency on track development becomes greater. Having the Stowe circuit and regular access to the remaining Silverstone circuits will be a great development advantage. It will allow us to refine the ride and steering attributes on the road and then very quickly evaluate the handling characteristics before making changes with the tuneables.”