Aston Martin Continues To Poach From Rivals, Nabs McLaren Test Driver

Chris Goodwin

Photo via McLaren

A company is only as strong as its weakest link. So Aston Martin has been scooping up many of its competitors’ stronger ones.

Aston Martin has added more manpower to its growing engineering team, announcing Wednesday that it’s hired McLaren’s former chief test driver Chris Goodwin. In addition to Goodwin, Aston Martin also recruited Simone Rizzuto, who served as Maserati and Alfa Romeo’s head of vehicle performance testing and integration.

The latest round of hires is part of a continued effort by CEO Any Palmer to lure key personnel from rival manufacturers, as Aston Martin prepares to launch a mid-engine supercar as part of its “second century” plan. Earlier this year, for instance, Palmer brought Max Szwaj and Joerg Ross aboard, formerly Ferrari’s heads of body structures and advanced powertrain engineering, respectively.

“I’m thrilled to have people of Chris and Simone’s calibre join Aston Martin’s already stellar engineering and dynamics team,” Palmer said in a statement. “Their decision is a great endorsement of our future plans while the skills and experience they bring is second to none. As we enter the next crucial phase in the development of our growing product and powertrain portfolios they will make an invaluable contribution in shaping an exceptional new family of Aston Martin models.”

As beneficial as headhunting proven engineers will be for Aston moving forward, enticing Goodwin to leave McLaren arguably is Palmer’s most important signing yet. Despite the absurd amounts of performance data modern cars record, the feedback of a knowledgable test driver still is invaluable during the development process.

And there are few more knowledgable than Goodwin.

The 50-year-old Brit has logged countless hours of seat time in every road car McLaren has made, including ones that have yet to be released, such as the Senna and the three-seat “Hyper GT.” Plus, Goodwin has piloted many of McLaren’s race-winning GT, Can Am and Formula One cars.

Taking on the Ferrari 488 and McLaren 720S won’t be easy, even with the assistance of its new technical partner, Red Bull Racing. But considering Aston Martin now employs the people who designed the former, and the man who fine-tuned the latter, we could be in for one hell of a battle.

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