World Endurance Championship CEO, Gérard Neveu, has called Aston Martin’s decision to indefinitely postpone its hypercar programme “not good news” for the WEC.
Aston Martin, in partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, were working together to being the Valkyrie to WEC and contest Le Mans in the new Hypercar class, but confirmed on Wednesday that those plans have been put on hold.
Aston Martin says it must revaluate its programme amid recent developments, which saw Racing Point shareholder Lawrence Stroll taking an almost £200 million stake in the British sportscar manufacturer.
Racing Point will therefore become an Aston Martin works team in Formula 1.
Commenting on the news, Neveu said it was disappointing and in the short term “not good news”, but is confident the already confirmed entrants plus newcomers will make a success of the new class.
“This is not good news for the WEC in the short term, but it doesn’t change our mid and long-term plans,” said Neveu.
“We still have Toyota and Peugeot plus other entrants who have expressed an interest for Le Mans Hypercar and, with the arrival of LMDh, we will welcome many new manufacturers.
“Of course, it would be better if Aston Martin was present as well, but it’s important that we have as wide a range of manufacturers as possible and that is the strategic plan we are working on for the future.”
ACO President Pierre Fillon hinted that Aston Martin’s financial position is likely driving the decision.
“Aston Martin recently informed us of this new development in its Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercar project. We can only take note of this and await a favourable outcome.
“For a few months now, we have all been aware of the economic difficulties of Aston Martin, and the subsequent questions raised about its future motorsport programmes, namely endurance racing and F1, as well as its strategic path forward. Contextual developments linked to economic and industrial parameters can always occur for a manufacturer during the implementation of projects.
“As far as the next top category of competition, Le Mans Hypercar, is concerned, we continue to believe and remain utterly convinced that a manufacturer has its rightful place there, in all its best interests.
“To run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and in the FIA World Endurance Championship, at this level of technology and budget, is an undeniable opportunity for a manufacturer to demonstrate its competitiveness. This covers a whole range of fields: technical, efficiency, improved fuel consumption, sustainable mobility.
“The ACO/IMSA convergence does not impact this category, and the next elements on the technical details of that common platform, to be given at Sebring in mid-March, will confirm that.
“We hope that this transitory pause in Aston Martin’s Valkyrie development with Multimatic will come to a quick and positive conclusion.”