Aston Martin exits World Endurance Championship to focus on customer racing and Formula One
ASTON Martin is to scrap its works FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) team for the 2021 season, with the manufacturer turning its attention to customer operations as well as its Formula One return instead.
Concluding with its double world championship triumph in the 8 Hours of Bahrain last month, where Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim added the WEC GT Drivers’ endurance crown to the Manufacturers’ title that Aston Martin clinched at Le Mans, the Gaydon-based manufacturer has achieved every target it set for the 4-litre V8 Vantage GTE.
Aston Martin is one of three car manufacturers to have been a mainstay of WEC since the series’ inception in 2012. In its nine years and seven seasons, Aston Martin recorded 47 class wins and 103 podiums, nine class championships and four 24 Hours of Le Mans class victories.
And there could yet be more success for the Vantage, with Aston Martin hopeful it will retain a WEC presence through a partner team in 2021 and beyond. For 2021, the Racing Point F1 team, which Aston Martin chairman Lawrence Stroll owns, is going to rebrand as Aston Martin and this will be the manufacturer’s primary motorsport efforts.
While Aston Martin won’t run a works team in the WEC, they have agreed a deal with Banbury-based Prodrive to manufacture and distribute the current Vantage racer to customer teams fielding in other endurance events such as the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the GT World Challenge and the US-based IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship.
Aston Martin Racing president David King said: “This year has been one of unprecedented success for the Vantage in international motorsport. At all levels, from GTE, through GT3 to the entry level GT4, we have experienced significant championship success, winning 26 titles across the spectrum of world, international and domestic series.
“But there is more to achieve, and there is more to come from the Vantage, which is why we have concluded that now is the time for us to shift the weight of factory support to our partners as we go in pursuit of success in the most important events in GT racing.”
Chief executive Tobias Moers added: “With the Vantage GT3 we wish to give our partners and customers the best opportunity possible to fight for victory against our closest rivals in the toughest endurance challenges GT racing has to offer.”