Aston Martin Racing president David King says the future of the GTE-Pro class could be a “challenge” amid the impending launch of LMDh.
Announced last month, the new joint ACO-IMSA formula has gained significant interest from several GTE manufacturers, which could shift factory sports car programs to new top class efforts by as early the platform’s launch in 2021.
While Porsche and Ferrari are evaluating LMDh, Aston has postponed its planned Le Mans Hypercar program, casting questions over its long-term sports car future.
The British manufacturer, which has been a mainstay in GT racing since its return to factory competition in 2005, is currently confirmed through the end of the 2021-22 WEC season with its Prodrive-run factory operation.
Speaking to assembled media during last weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans event at Circuit of The Americas, King admitted the cost-effective nature of LMDh could ultimately lead to the demise of factory GTE racing.
Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari are the only remaining GTE manufacturers in the WEC, while BMW and Chevrolet are represented in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Le Mans class, alongside Porsche.
“I think clearly if you can run a LMDh program for the same cost as a GTE program and have a chance to win races overall, then there will obviously be a move towards LMDh,” King said.
“What impact that has one GTE? I don’t know. Hopefully it will strengthen as an Am class and I think it will be a challenge for the Pro class.”
King confirmed that Aston will also evaluate LMDh in the wake of its LMH postponement, although as with all other manufacturers, are awaiting details of the technical regulations, which is expected to come at Sebring next month.
When asked if he feels GT3 could ultimately replace GTE in ACO-run championships, King said he’s “not going to step into” speculation.
“It’s quite a political question at the moment,” he said. “Right now I just want to be focused on our GTE program this year and our chances in the championship [this season in WEC].
“The good thing for us is that our GT3 car is very similar to our GTE car. It’s almost interchangeable.”
Aston Reiterates Commitment to WEC, GT Racing
King has reaffirmed the manufacturer’s commitment to GT racing as well as noting its longstanding participation in the WEC.
“The Vantage is our race car,” he said. “We’ve had success in GT4, GT3 and GTE. We are very committed to this.
“We’ve been ever-present at Le Mans since we came back to racing in 2005. We’ve been ever-present in WEC, have been through thick and thin through some tough times for the company and for the sport.
“We’ve always been here in the paddock. I hope that’s recognized.”