Aston Martin’s Le Mans Hypercar program has been placed under further jeopardy, with the British manufacturer’s top class FIA World Endurance Championship effort now believed to be on the brink of being called off.
Multiple industry sources have indicated to Sportscar365 that an announcement could be made as early as Wednesday morning that would cancel the British manufacturer’s planned LMH program with the Valkyrie, which was scheduled to debut in the 2020-21 WEC season.
It’s believed that complications stemming from Lawrence Stroll’s recent £500 million ($656 million) investment into Aston Martin and plans to make Racing Point an Aston Martin Racing factory team in Formula 1 next year, thus moving funding away from Red Bull Racing, is among the key contributing factors.
Stroll is set to become the executive chairman of Aston Martin, while Red Bull Advanced Technology has collaborated with Aston Martin on the Valkyrie production car, which has continued development in recent weeks.
However, very little has been made public on the development of the production-based Valkyrie LMH race car.
Announced at Le Mans last June by Aston Martin President and CEO Andy Palmer, senior motorsport officials have declined comment on the program’s progress since, other than stating the company line that it’s “full steam ahead”.
AMR broke its LMH silence last month by issuing a statement regarding the ACO and IMSA’s newly announced LMDh platform, stating that it “looks forward” to working with all parties to ensure that the Hypercar vision “retains its proper position” within global sports car competition.
When reached by Sportscar365 on the latest development, an Aston Martin spokesperson said they have no comment.
R-Motorsport, which had been linked to run Aston’s LMH program, potentially as early as the first season, has been non-committal in recent months, with no further intelligence on Multmatic’s involvement beyond the planned design of the race car.
Should Aston axe its LMH program, it would come as a further blow to the FIA and ACO’s LMH platform, which will debut in September with Toyota and Glickenhaus as the only other confirmed entrants.
Peugeot, which initially announced an LMH entry for 2022, is now re-evaluating whether it will build its car to the new joint LMDh regs instead, which will launch beginning with the 2021-22 WEC season.
A number of manufacturers, including Ferrari, Porsche and McLaren, however, are understood to be in detailed discussions 0n LMDh, which will be performance balanced to LMH cars in the WEC and likely be the preferred route for cost-conscious automakers.