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|Aston Martin suspends the development program for its “Valkyrie” car. Photo: AFP / VNA / CVN|
“The decision announced by Aston Martin is very regrettable but perhaps not unexpected, following persistent rumors over the past six months about the fragility of the brand’s visibility in a rapidly changing automotive market, in parallel with its decision to s to enter Formula 1 as a factory team in 2021 “, said in a press release Wednesday, February 19, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organizer of the famous automobile event, and those of the World Endurance Championship (WEC).Aston Martin said it made its decision following a recent agreement between the ACO and the IMSA, which organizes endurance races in the United States, authorizing cars meeting IMSA standards to race at Le Mans from 2021.
“This decision implies that the Aston Martin Valkyrie Hypercar will not make its WEC championship debut in September 2020 and will not participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021. Aston Martin will now think about its future participation in the prototype category and remains open any discussion with the two organizations (ACO and IMSA) to find an arrangement on his future participation “, indicates a press release from the British brand.
Aston Martin was one of three brands, with Toyota and Peugeot, to have expressed interest in this new Hypercar category intended to replace the current LMP1.
They must be based on series super-sports cars produced in a minimum of 20 copies over two years or else be prototypes dressed in a super-sports body with lines reminiscent of the manufacturer’s style.
Aston Martin had announced at the end of January its arrival in Formula 1 from 2021 under its own name following the entry into its capital of the Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, current owner of the team of F1 Racing Point. This implies that the current F1 association between Aston Martin and Red Bull, which is also associated with the Valkyrie program, will end.
| President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), Pierre Fillon, at a press conference in Le Mans, June 15, 2018.|
Photo: AFP / VNA / CVN
“Concerning the next queen Le Mans Hypercar category, we want to believe and remain intimately convinced that a manufacturer has its place there, in its best interests too “, said Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO.The 24 Hours and WEC organizers want to revive the interest of this championship, dominated by Toyota since the withdrawal of Audi and Porsche. With the probable withdrawal of Aston Martin, only the Japanese brand and Peugeot officially remain in the ranks to align themselves in this category open to cars with hybrid propulsion (petrol / electricity) and non-hybrid.
Peugeot announced in November its return to WEC in 2022 and in Le Mans in 2023, an event it won in 1992, 1993 and 2009.
But the French manufacturer had planned to rely for its return on the Swiss team Rebellion. However, it announced last week that it would withdraw from racing after the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 13 and 14.
Peugeot however clarified that this decision did not call into question its commitment.