British brand is interested in an overall victory at the endurance classic.
Aston Martin’ recently revealed the new Vantage GTE, along with the announcement of new GT3 and GT4 versions of the car, which are still to come. However, a much larger story was brewing behind the scenes as the British sports car maker is rumored to be considering a return to the prototype class of the FIA World Endurance Championship. This would give Aston a change to contest for overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, should the rules be to its liking, of course.
Most casual fans will know the WEC’s successful, but ultimately short-lived, hybrid LMP1 regulations will soon be a thing of the past. In short succession the series has lost Audi, Porsche, Nissan, and soon Toyota, mostly due to spiraling costs from developing cutting edge technologies. Regulators are now evaluating a new format for the top class in order to attract new brands. The new regulations would fall somewhere in between the current pure-prototype rules and the old GT1 class - which had its roots in “production cars” - something that interests Aston Martin. The brand could base an entry on its Valkyrie hypercar, which is currently under development.
“We are at the table because we are interested – there’s no certainty that we will do it, but there is a definite interest,” Aston Martin Racing chief David King told Autosport. “If the ACO and the FIA allow us to compete at a cost that is not an order of magnitude more than a GTE program, then we would look at it.” Aston Martin has previously tried to compete for overall victory at Le Mans twice, there was the not-so-good AMR-One in 2011, which used a 2.0-liter turbo six, and the also lackluster DBR1-2, which used the company’s V12 engine in a Lola chassis.
“We wouldn’t be at the table to discuss LMP1 as it is now, because it is too expensive, as it was when we dabbled in it before,” said King. “The conditions of our entry would be affordability and the ability of a small company like ourselves to compete with someone like Toyota together with a relevance to road cars.”