The news that Aston Martin has “postponed” its FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar program to focus on F1 and GTE racing has prompted considerable reaction from those in and around the WEC.
ACO President Pierre Fillon said he believes that the Le Mans Hypercar formula has not been, and will not be, impacted by the IMSA-ACO convergence news that prompted Aston Martin to rethink its sports car racing strategy.
“Aston Martin recently informed us of this new development in its Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercar project. We can only take note of this and await a favorable outcome,” he said in a statement.
“For a few months now, we have all been aware of the economic difficulties of Aston Martin, and the subsequent questions raised about its future motorsport programs, namely endurance racing and F1, as well as its strategic path forward. Contextual developments linked to economic and industrial parameters can always occur for a manufacturer during the implementation of projects.”
Fillon added that he hopes Aston Martin will still consider racing in the WEC’s top class in the future once the technical details surrounding convergence are outlined, which is expected to happen next month at Sebring.
“As far as the next top category of competition, Le Mans Hypercar, is concerned, we continue to believe and remain utterly convinced that a manufacturer has its rightful place there, in all its best interests,” he continued. “To run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the FIA World Endurance Championship, at this level of technology and budget, is an undeniable opportunity for a manufacturer to demonstrate its competitiveness. This covers a whole range of fields: technical, efficiency, improved fuel consumption, sustainable mobility.
“The ACO/IMSA convergence does not impact this category, and the next elements on the technical details of that common platform, to be given at Sebring in mid-March, will confirm that.
“We hope that this transitory pause in Aston Martin’s Valkyrie development with Multimatic will come to a quick and positive conclusion.”
Gerard Neveu, the FIA WEC CEO (pictured above), echoed these thoughts and stressed that Aston Martin’s decision does not affect the WEC’s plans going forward.
“This is not good news for the WEC in the short term, but it doesn’t change our mid- and long-term plans,” he said. “We still have Toyota and Peugeot, plus other entrants who have expressed an interest for Le Mans Hypercar, and with the arrival of LMDh, we will welcome many new manufacturers.
“Of course, it would be better if Aston Martin was present as well, but it’s important that we have as wide a range of manufacturers as possible, and that is the strategic plan we are working on for the future.”
Both Toyota and Glickenhaus – who have committed to Le Mans Hypercar for Year 1 of the new formula, which gets under way later this year – also weighed in.
Toyota’s statement, sent to RACER by a team spokesperson, was non-committal: “We are aware of Aston Martin’s announcement and we regret their decision. Aston Martin’s circumstances are very different from our own, so we will consider the situation and confirm our position in due course.”
The program’s senior management are set to be available for media comment this Friday in Austin ahead of the Lone Star Le Mans WEC race at Circuit of The Americas.
Glickenhaus – which has been shaking down its new 004C chassis the past few days ahead of its Nurburgring 24 Hours debut later this year – tweeted in a more positive fashion, simply stating: “We are fully committed to Le Mans Hypercar.” However, it also reacted to Neveu’s statement, which didn’t name-check the U.S.-based boutique manufacturer.
“Gerard, I’m confused that you fail to notice that we exist,” Glickenhaus tweeted. “We were the first to commit to Le Mans Hypercar and as Ford recently found out at the Baja 1000, sometimes our little team can surprise.”