Hypercar World Endurance Championship entry on hold to consider changes in the sport
- Aston Martin’s future motorsport plans will be defined by *Formula 1TM and endurance racing programmes at the highest level
Aston Martin will continue racing with championship-leading Vantage GTE
19 February 2020, Gaydon, UK: Aston Martin Lagonda has postponed development of its World Endurance Championship (WEC) Hypercar race entry, following the recent decision by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) to harmonise the Hypercar class with the so-called LMDh prototype category in the WEC from 2021 and the US-based WeatherTech Sportscar Championship from 2022.
This decision means that the Aston Martin Valkyrie Hypercar will not make its WEC debut at Silverstone in August 2020 or compete in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans. Aston Martin will now pause as it considers whether to continue in any future prototype class. Aston Martin remains open to working with both organisations to find a suitable pathway for any future participation.
Aston Martin Racing will continue to compete at the highest level of sportscar racing with its FIA World Endurance Championship-leading Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
The full potential of the Vantage GTE has been unleashed in this year’s WEC GTE Pro and Am championships, where the car has collected four class victories from four rounds. Aston Martin currently leads the GT Manufacturers’ championship and Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen are top of the Drivers’ standings by 14 points. Aston Martin remains fully committed to GT racing, in which it has been a mainstay since 2005.
The Aston Martin Vantage GTE, based on the critically acclaimed road car, is powered by a 4-litre V8 twin-turbocharged engine. It made its debut in the first round of 2018/19 WEC Super Season, the 2018 Total 6 Hours of Spa, and since then has collected four GTE Pro class victories, two GTE Am wins and started the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans from the class pole.
Aston Martin Lagonda is poised to re-enter *Formula 1TM next year as a works team for the first time since 1960, when the Racing Point F1TM team becomes Aston Martin F1TM works team. The British sportscar manufacturers’ focus will thus be defined by its activities at the highest level of both single-seater competition and endurance GT racing, for which it has earned a rich pedigree over the past 15 years.
Aston Martin Vice President and Chief Special Operations Officer and President of Aston Martin Racing, David King said: “With such momentous change taking place in sportscar racing, the decision to pause our entry into the WEC Hypercar class gives us the time and breathing space to calmly assess the status of the top level of the sport, and our place within it.
Competing against our closest rivals on the road in GT racing makes perfect sense. Vantage is winning in some of the most fiercely contested sportscar classes in global motorsport, and long may this continue.”
Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Andy Palmer said: “Aston Martin’s ambition to compete for the overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains undiminished, but it is only right that we reassess our position in light of a significant change in the landscape that was not anticipated when we committed last year. We entered Aston Martin Valkyrie in WEC and at Le Mans with the understanding that we would be competing with similar machinery and like-minded manufacturers. The situation has changed and it makes sense for us to pause and reconsider our options.
Meanwhile, we’re extremely proud of Vantage and what it is achieving against our most direct competitors. GT racing has always been positioned at the core of what we do, for it bears the closest link to the cars that we build for the road. Both the Vantage road car and the Vantage GTE are borne from the same aluminium body structures that originate in Gaydon. When we win in WEC, it is a victory for Vantage, for our customers, and everyone at Aston Martin Lagonda.”
Customer deliveries of the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the product of the unique collaboration between Aston Martin, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and project partner AF Racing, will commence in H2 2020 and Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro deliveries will commence in 2021.