Aston Martin Going Racing

Back in the early 1920s, Count Louis Zborowski, a “fabulously wealthy son of a Polish Count”—oddly enough, one born in Elizabethtown, New Jersey—“and an American heiress” who had “a fortune that in today’s money would comfortably class him as a billionaire,” according to Aston Martin, was fundamentally responsible for getting the British firm into Grand Prix racing, with the company’s first effort at the French Grand Prix in 1922, with the Count behind the wheel of one of the two cars entered into the event. Neither car finished.

Aston Martin Chassis TT1–the company’s original race car. (Image: Aston Martin)

Zbrowski? He joined the Mercedes team in 1924 and died racing in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, colliding with a tree. His father, William Eliot Morris Zborowski, died in a racing accident in 1903, during a hill climb in France.

Lawrence Stroll, a Canadian billionaire, is the Executive Chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda. A consortium of investors he led put £182 million into the company last January, then reworked the agreement in March so that the group owns about 25% of the company.

Stroll has long been involved in racing. His son Lance is a driver. Stroll owns Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Quebec. He isn’t a mere spectator or fan. He is of the fabric of the sport.

And now he has revived the Aston Martin Formula One team.

According to AutoExpress, as of late October 2020 Aston Martin had delivered a total 2,752 cars and had an operating loss of £ 229 million.

Which makes one wonder about whether it makes a whole lot of sense to go racing, an undertaking that is notoriously cash-intensive.

Here is something of an interesting coincidence: Mercedes—remember Zbrowski’s car (and it seems that his father might have been piloting one up that hill in France)?—has entered into an agreement with Aston Martin through which it may be able to acquire as much as 20% of the company.

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