A conversation with Robert Rawe
Having raced various Aston Martin DB4s in 2009 classic racer Robert Rawe not only decided he was going to rewrite history, but also in his desire to race the ultimate iterations of the Aston Martin marque, he embarked on a 3 year journey to commission the bespoke build of a DB4 GT DP214 chassis ‘0195’ then went to race it at the same events it raced in period.
How did you go about the bespoke build?
I decided to manage the project myself, farming out the elements to the best in each discipline – chassis, body, race engine, transmission etc. Once completed all the parts were delivered to Rex Woodgate for assembly. The build commenced in 2010 with the intention of making the car an exact replica of the Brian Hetreed car, chassis ‘0195’.
So, you finally got to race it?
Yes, the build was completed in 2013, and the car made its debut in the Spa Six Hour. Despite performing well, 3 hours in we broke a throttle linkage forcing retirement. It then went on to race at the Donington Festival and Silver- stone Classic and even at a Le Mans support race.
Did the DP214 live up to your expectations?
It is exciting to race a car that was purpose built for the track. But there were elements that disappointed; the biggest being the low end pick up, we played about endlessly with the exhaust system but never really got rid of the problem. Other issues were less important, the huge vent to keep the driver cool never seemed to do the job so we rigged up an air scoop on the driver’s window, great until it rained, then it virtually drowned the driver.
How did you get on taking it to Sebring and Daytona?
At Daytona, I limited myself to 5,500 rpm on the banking giving me lap times of around 2m20 and finished between 16th and 20th – oddly similar to Hetreed’s 5th and 17th in 1964. Mike Thorne and I shared the drive at the Sebring 12hr Classic where we finished a credible 6th overall – 2nd in class on classic tyres.
So you’ve sold the car, what next?
I still have the DB4 Lightweight (DLW) and my current project is returning it to a spec that gives it more opportunity to race.
This interview is an excerpt of the full article which appears in Auto Addicts Volume One