Aston Martin Valkyrie, Silverstone, 2020

Aston Martin puts Valkyrie WEC Hypercar project “on hold”

World Endurance Championship

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Aston Martin has “postponed development” of its plans to run its Valkyrie hypercar in the World Endurance Championship.

In a statement issued on Wednesday the manufacturer said its decision was made “following the recent decision by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) to harmonise the Hypercar class with the so-called LMDh prototype category in the WEC from 2021 and the US-based WeatherTech Sportscar Championship from 2022.”

Multimatic, which produces the chassis for Aston Martin, and R-Motorsport, which previously ran the company’s DTM campaign, had been engaged to enter two Valkyries each in the 2020-21 WEC season, due to begin in August at Silverstone.

“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 the president of Aston Martin Racing, David King.

The announcement follows Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll’s purchase of a 20% equity stake in the luxury car manufacturer last month. Racing Point is to become a factory-backed Aston Martin F1 project next year.

Red Bull, who assisted in the development of the Valkyrie, demonstrated the car’s performance for the first time yesterday with F1 drivers Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon at the wheel at Silverstone. The car had previously made lower speed demonstration runs, including at last year’s British Grand Prix.

The news is a further blow to the WEC following the introduction of its new technical regulations for next season. Last week Rebellion, who were due to co-operate with Peugeot on their return to the championship in 2022, announced they will withdraw from motorsport following this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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6 comments on “Aston Martin puts Valkyrie WEC Hypercar project “on hold””

  1. What a disappointment, both for WEC and Valkyrie. I wanted to see this thing racing

  2. The news is a further blow to the WEC following the introduction of its new technical regulations for next season. Last week Rebellion, who were due to co-operate with Peugeot on their return to the championship in 2022, announced they will withdraw from motorsport following this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

    No wonder, ACO and IMSA have similar “geniuses” as F1 – they are not thinking even two steps ahead.
    First they introduced a great plan for Hypercar class, then just killed it with a stupid decision to “harmonize” unharmonizable.

    I was never a fan of Valkyrie (I think it is ugly as Hell), but I was really looking for “proper” Hypercar class… no more.

  3. Well that’s disappointing. Manufacturers were signing up and now they are walking away…

    1. @geemac, as Klon notes, Aston Martin had already cut their DTM programme at fairly short notice and, even with Stroll investing in them, they’re looking to cut around £10 million from their operating costs.

      When some of their planned models are being pushed back, with the revival of Lagonda as an electric car division slipping from 2022 to 2025, it’s not surprising that the WEC project is being paused – quite simply, they’ve got far more important issues to work on.

      As for the Rebellion announcement, whilst Rebellion have left, Peugeot have said that Rebellion’s role was on the management side and Peugeot still seem to be committed. That said, the announcement of Balance of Performance regulations to allow the Daytona Prototype class to compete at Le Mans means Peugeot has switched from the Hypercar class to the LMDh class.

      I’m not hugely surprised that things haven’t really gone well for the Hypercar class – the development of the rules for the Hypercar class took far longer than anticipated and went through multiple significant rewrites, leading many of those involved to complain that the ACO was coming dangerously close to not giving them enough time to design a car in time for the new rule set.

      In the end, it seems the lack of direction from the ACO alienated several of those manufacturers that had been interested at the start, which was compounded by development costs being higher than planned. Furthermore, although the announcement of Balance of Performance regulations for the Daytona Prototype class might boost the field at Le Mans, it probably actually benefits IMSA far more than it does the ACO.

      Right now, Daytona Prototypes are effectively glorified LMP2 cars with different body kits – it was a deliberate decision by IMSA to ensure they’d be cheap to build and run, and therefore generated a reasonable amount of manufacturer interest. The cost of developing a Daytona Prototype, therefore, is much lower than the ACO’s Hypercar concept – so, if you want to compete at Le Mans in the top class, there is now a much stronger incentive to go down the LMDh route anyway.

  4. Withdrawing from DTM earlier this year, now this. It does make you wonder whether Aston Martin would be doomed had Stroll not bought in.

  5. Hurray, another Toyota-only era…

    So sad this is put on hold (surely forever). That thing looks proper, and I wanted to see it compete.

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