The 2020 World Endurance Championship champions and Aston Martin 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE Pro will not compete in the 2021 World Endurance Championship in GTE Pro and will convert the remaining GT racing programs to customer operation.
Today, this is the unexpected headline of a story that DSC has known for several weeks, the company’s recent tax woes and a bailout that included a commitment to Formula 1 from 2021 with the renamed Racing Point team always willing to question future GTE efforts.
There is some good news in the details of the announcement, as Prodrive has confirmed that it has entered into a “new and revised” agreement for the Banbury-based firm to continue manufacturing only the current generation of front-engine GT multi-engine racing cars to distribute a one-year contract for Aston Martin racing.
According to DSC, this includes GT4, GT3 and GTE versions for customers from the existing Vantage platform.
There is also a high possibility that one or more Vantage GTEs will be confirmed in the hands of the customer team at the FIA WEC entry for the upcoming 2021 season.
The GTE suspension comes after a successful team season with 8 Hours of Bahrain last month, with Marco Sorensen and Nikki Thiem adding the FIA WEC GT World Driver’s Championship to the Aston Martin manufacturers’ world title. In Le Mans.
An Aston Martin press release said the company “will now seek more prizes in GT racing with Vantage.”
The brand is now targeting the Blue Riband endurance events with “partner teams competing in the Intercontinental GT Challenge, GT World Challenge, US-based IMSA WeathertechSportscar Championship, the Super GT Championship and other major series.”
The level of manufacturer support is not yet clear through technical support and / or a referral of factory drivers that will be part of the next phase of the brand’s motorsports strategy.
David King, President of Aston Martin Racing, said: “This year has been an unprecedented success for the Vantage in international motorsports. On all levels, from GTE to GT3 to GT4 beginners, we have achieved major championship successes and won 26 titles from a global, international and national group. But there is still much more to be done and more credit. So we came to the conclusion that the time had come to shift the weight of the plant’s support to our partners for the most important success events in GT racing.
Tobias Moores, CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda, said: “Vantage has proven to be the world champion of 2020, winning the 24 Hours of GTE race. With the Vantage GT3, we want to give our partners and customers the best possible chance to fight for victory against our closest competitors in the toughest endurance challenges that GT racing has to offer. “
Since the start of the FIA WEC in 2012, Aston Martin has been a “ubiquitous” man with 47 class wins and 103 podiums, nine Category Championships and four 24-hour wins at Le Mans.
Latest announcement will end a 16-year continuation of Aston Martin’s factory entries at Le Mans after the GT1, LMP1, and then GTE campaigns.