British marque quits FIA World Endurance Championship to focus on new Formula 1 squad and supporting customer teams
Aston Martin will axe its FIA World Endurance Championship GT team for the 2021 season, with the firm instead supporting customer teams racing the Vantage GTE while focusing its works motorsport efforts on Formula 1.
The British firm has maintained a manufacturer presence in the WEC’s GT division since the launch of the series in 2012, with its works team run by preparation specialist Prodrive.
Aston Martin has scored 47 class wins in the WEC, including four class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Aston drivers Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen have won the drivers’ championship twice, and the squad also won this year’s GT manufacturers’ crown.
For 2021 the Racing Point F1 team, which is owned by Aston chairman Lawrence Stroll, will be rebranded as Aston Martin, and this will be the focus of the firm’s official motorsport efforts.
While it will not run a works team, Aston has agreed a multi-year deal for Prodrive to continue to manufacture and distribute the current V8 Vantage GT racer, and provide support to customer teams fielding the cars in major sports car events.
Aston Martin chief executive Tobias Moers said: “Vantage proved it has world champion pedigree in 2020, and in its GTE variant is a 24-hour race winner. Now 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.”
Aston Martin Racing was formed in 2004 with Prodrive running the DBR9 in the GT1 category of sportscar racing. The squad took its first Le Mans class win in 2007 and the following year expanded to field a machine in the top prototype category. After struggling to be competitive in the LMP1 division, Aston returned its manufacturer focus to GT racing when the WEC was established in 2012.