PARIS – Aston Martin will not make its World Endurance Championship or Le Mans bow as it has delayed the development of its “Valkyrie” car for the races, the firm said on Wednesday.
The British manufacturer was set to feature in next season’s competition along with Toyota and Peugeot in the Hypercars division, which will replace the LMP1 type of vehicles.
“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,” a statement from the carmaker said.
“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,” it added.
Aston Martin announced in January it would enter Formula 1 next year after securing financial backing from Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll by rebranding the current Racing Point team.
WEC organizers said they had foreseen the withdrawal from the firm, known best for its cars featuring prominately in James Bond films.
“The decision announced by Aston Martin is very regrettable but maybe not unexpected, following the persistent rumours during the past six month about the fragility and visibility of the brand in a automobile market which is evolving quickly, as well as they decision to take part in Formula 1 as a works team in 2021,” WEC and Le Mans organizers Automobile Club de l’Ouest said in a statement.
WEC and Le Mans want to boost interest in the race, which has been dominated by Toyota since the withdrawal of Audi in 2017 and Porsche a year later.
Peugeot announced in November it would return to the WEC in 2022 and Le Mans a year later and hoped to use Swiss team Rebellion Racing, but the Swiss announced they would pull out after this June’s race in France.