Aston Martin will put their planned FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar programme on pause indefinitely.
The British car manufacturer has stated that it’s down to the LMDh category being introduced, and will wait and see what the future brings.
It is, however, no secret that AM has had quite a few problems with their economy, which has resulted in Lawrence Stroll investing a lot of millions in the team, plus bringing the name in Formula 1 in 20201, with the Racing Point being renamed Aston Martin Racing. His son, Lance Stroll, is currently racing for that team.
The plans regarding Aston Martin and their Hypercar programme were announced at Le Mans 2019, when the ACO announced the category to start in September 2020. The car would be the Valkyrie, which is the most extreme car in the AM programme, designed by Adrian Newey and Red Bull Technologies. Alex Albon and Max Verstappen were as recently as yesterday, testing the car with the powerful V12 engine in the back, which was planned for the Hypercar version too.
Hypercar is something that can really expensive really quickly, and for a relatively small car manufacturer having to battle Toyota Gazoo Racing from the get to and Peugeot Sport from 2022, it could very easily become a tough mountain to climb – even though there will be BOP in place, to level the cars out, no matter their shape, their engine and if they are hybrid powered or not. The Valkyrie was planned to not run hybrid. The plans for the car were so advanced, that a deal had been made with Multimatic to run the car, while Red Bull Technologies also would be part of the equation.
The new LMDh rule set appears to be a lot cheaper, since it’s based on LMP2 car, with different engines, a common hybrid system, and a set of bodywork from each manufacturer. Multimatic is already chosen to remain one of the four chassis manufacturers for that. The Multimatic chassis currently runs at Mazda Team Joest, with some engineering power following along, just as well as it was Multimatic running the Fords in collaboration with Chip Ganassi Racing.
Aston Martin points out in today’s press release, that the decision will only affect the Hypercar programme, and the GTE Pro and AM programmes will continue unchanged, which definitely must bring a sigh of relief to Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen, who won the Championship back in 2016, and currently lead the GTE Pro standings with four rounds remaining.