Lola has responded with anger to comments made by Aston Martin boss David Richards over the LMP1 racing programme in place for the 2009 season.
Aston Martin Racing will step up to the LMP1 class of the Le Mans Series and Le Mans this season running a Lola coupe complete with the engine from the successful DBR9 race-car.
However, over the course of the weekend, Richard was quoted as stating that Aston Martin had undertaken a 'huge amount of development' to the Lola customer chassis that meant the car was 'effectively an Aston Martin'.
Those comments have provoked a strongly-worded response from Lola, which insists that any changes made to the car have been minor and that it remains a Lola-designed and built car after discussions to have the car re-homologated as an Aston Martin broke down.
“Following a number of inaccurate and misleading quotes given by the Aston Martin Chairman David Richards, regarding the supply of the Lola LMP1 chassis to Aston Martin Racing for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours and Le Mans Series programme, Lola has decided to set the record straight,” a statement from the Huntingdon factory read.
“The Lola Aston Martin is a Lola designed and built car. It is not a 'radical re-design' as stated by Aston Martin Racing. Aston Martin has undertaken some body styling cues that required some CFD work to try to reinstate the Lola Aero performance and minor bespoke mechanical changes to accommodate the styling changes. Lola has spent over two and a half years in the research and development of this state of the art car costing several millions of pounds. Aston Martin contracted with Lola in December 2008 to buy our cars because they knew that as a result of the 2008 performance that we had the leading LMP1 customer car and Aston Martin didn't have the time to develop their own car. When Aston first mooted re-homologation of the Lola car and was given the cost of their contribution to IPR [property rights] and R&D the negotiations broke down.
“It is completely inappropriate that Aston Martin should now attempt to achieve 'ownership' through misrepresentation in the media. Lola's binding contract with Aston Martin is for two cars, the nomenclature of which under the contract is that the cars must remain Lola Aston Martin.”