Aston Martin has some big decisions to make.
The Aston Martin Valkyrie is going to be an insane hypercar when it launches later this year. You don't have to take our word for it either, because F1 drivers have given the Valkyrie their seal of approval. With its extreme aerodynamics and a naturally aspirated, 6.5-liter V12 Cosworth engine paired with a Rimac battery-electric system producing a combined 1,160 horsepower, it's going to be a race car for the road.
If the Valkyrie wasn't already extreme enough, Aston Martin also had ambitious plans to conquer the 24 Hours of Le Mans by entering two specially-developed racing versions of the Valkyrie into the new World Endurance Championship Hypercar class. Unfortunately, if you were looking forward to seeing the Aston Martin Valkyrie race alongside the Toyota GR Super Sport and SCG 007 we have some bad news for you.
Aston Martin has announced that development of the track-only Aston Martin Valkyrie race car has been "postponed." The automaker cites a recent decision by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest and the International Motor Sport Association to merge the Hypercar class with the LMDh prototype category in the World Endurance Championship from 2021 and the US-based WeatherTech Sportscar Championship from 2022.
As a result, the Aston Martin Valkyrie Hypercar will no longer make its WEC debut at Silverstone in August 2020 or compete in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans. Aston Martin will now "pause as it considers whether to continue in any future prototype class" but the automaker is open to working with both organizations to find a solution to bring the Aston Martin Valkyrie to the track.
The Aston Martin Vantage GTE will still compete in FIA World Endurance Championship, however. Aston Martin will also re-enter Formula 1 next year for the first time since 1960. The announcement comes shortly after Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, who owns Racing Point F1, bought a 16.7 percent stake into Aston Martin for $660 million.
"Aston Martin's ambition to compete for the overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains undiminished, but it is only right that we reassess our position in light of a significant change in the landscape that was not anticipated when we committed last year."
"We entered Aston Martin Valkyrie in WEC and at Le Mans with the understanding that we would be competing with similar machinery and like-minded manufacturers. The situation has changed and it makes sense for us to pause and reconsider our options."
In a statement, the FIA WEC said Aston Martin's decision is "very regrettable but perhaps not unexpected in light of the persistent rumors over the last six months concerning the fragility of the brand's exposure in the rapidly evolving automotive market, together with its decision to enter Formula 1 as a works team in 2021. It is, however, the hope of the ACO, FIA and WEC that a solution will be found to bring this program to fruition and the Aston Martin Valkyrie to the racetrack."