Aston Martin put its WEC Hypercar race program “on hold”
Last month, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll agreed to buy up to 20 percent of Aston Martin by pumping $235 million into the company in exchange for a 16.7-percent stake, which could rise to 20 percent upon completion of the company’s plan to raise a total of $635M. This financial shift will result in Stroll’s Racing Point F1 team adopting the Aston Martin name in 2021, which means the British carmaker’s partnership with Red Bull Racing will end with this coming season.
Aston Martin is still committed to deliver the Valkyrie hypercar designed by Red Bull’s Adrian Newey, but the World Endurance Championship (WEC) Hypercar race entry based around this car is now officially on hold. In addition, Aston Martin decided to push its EV program beyond 2025.
Aston says the choice came after 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. Aston Martin’s response is to pause its program and re-consider whether to continue in any future prototype class. This means that the Aston Martin Valkyrie race car will neither make its WEC debut at Silverstone in August 2020 nor compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021.
While the Vantage GTEs continue in the GT classes, this is a huge blow to both the FIA and racing fans around the world, since Aston Martin seemed most committed to be at Le Mans in 2021 racing against Toyota, SCG, and team ByKolles. Instead of racing at the top with the Valkyrie, the brand will now focus on selling its first SUV and bringing two more mid-engine supercars to the market without the help of Red Bull Advanced Technologies.