Aston Martin said that the recently-announced convergence of prototype regulations across the ACO and IMSA is the reason that it has decided not to go ahead with plans to field an entry in the ACO’s new Hypercar prototype class.
News that Aston Martin has dropped its Hypercar program was reported by RACER on Tuesday, and confirmed in a statement issued by the British manufacturer today that read in part:
‘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 harmonize the Hypercar class with the so-called LMDh prototype category in the WEC from 2021 and the U.S.-based WeatherTech Sportscar Championship from 2022.’
IMSA and the ACO jointly announced in January that they have reached an agreement for the ACO’s new-for-2020 Hypercar class – a replacement for the current LMP1s – to compete head-to-head against a new generation of IMSA’s DPi cars, dubbed LMDh. While several manufacturers had signaled an intention to compete in the Hypercar formula, only Toyota and Aston Martin had committed to a year one program.
“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,” said Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Andy Palmer.
“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.”
The statement added that Aston Martin “remains open to working with both organizations to find a suitable pathway for any future participation”, but in the meantime, its focus will switch solely to the Vantage model that is currently enjoying success in the WEC’s GTE class.
“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,” said David King, Aston Martin Vice President and Chief Special Operations Officer and President of Aston Martin Racing.
“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.”