The Power of Luxury: Exclusive Car Brands At the Races

11 Jan 2017

Motor racing is as much a competition for drivers as it is for engineers building the cars themselves. The engines provide the power that allows race cars to outrun each other on the racetrack and drivers - or should we call them pilots? - are the ones that provide the brain behind the brawn.

As such, motor racing is not something luxury car brands can ignore. In Formula 1, we have seen Ferrari, McLaren, and other dedicated brands' engines outperform their competition. Due to its F1 performance, Ferrari has become more than just a luxury car brand: a pop culture icon. It has inspired a variety of manufacturers to build Ferrari-themed products, and even gaming venues like the Royal Vegas Casino have their own share of Ferrari games. Not that it would be obvious - the Royal Vegas' "Good to Go" slot machine never mentions Ferrari. The choice of color, in turn, is a strong hint for the game designer's preference. Te game is one of the most-played at the Royal Vegas, showing that many of its players have a weak spot for motor racing.

There are other luxury brands - ones that you might not even expect - building race cars that perform pretty well on the racetrack, some of them with notable results during their career.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin is a pop culture icon in itself, as it provided the world with some of the finest Bond cars of all time. The iconic British car manufacturer is perhaps best-known for these - but its racing cars - especially the Vantage line - have also made a name for themselves.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24 was revealed in 2006, meant to compete in the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race - and its performances were quite notable. Driven by Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez, development engineer Chris Porritt, development driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer and German journalist Horst Graf von Saurma-Jeltsch, the car managed to finish fourth in its class. Other racing versions of the Vantage line include the Vantage GT2 (built to be used in FIA GT Championship, American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, and 24 Hours of Le Mans), the Rally GT (used in the Race of Champions), and the Vantage GT3, scheduled to compete in the FIA GT1 World Championship and the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Lotus Cars

Lotus was another iconic British luxury car brand, known for their uniquely designed supercars. Their engines were quite successful at the races, too. Between 1963 and 1978, Lotus F1 cars were driven by racers like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Mario Andretti. Lotus engines have competed in a series of other categories, including GP2, GP3, and the Indianapolis 500.

Bentley Motors

Bentley is another British car brand, synonymous with luxury. It is a brand with a long history - Bentley Motors has been registered in 1919 - and an equally long rap sheet. While the company hasn't entered any official races on its own for decades, private racers have used their cars to compete ever since the 1922 Indianapolis 500 (which the car - a modified street model - has completed successfully)

Today's racing Bentley model is called Continental GT3 and has been used for racing since 2014. Its first full race was the Blancpain GT Series in 2014, which it finished fourth, followed by the Silverstone round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, which it won. The GT3 went on to win the Blancpain Sprint Series in 2015, end the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series 3 points below the top spot, and perform well in the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour.

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Steven B. Wilson

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