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Aston Martin Still Pursuing 2020 ‘LMP’ Programme

Though its GTE effort won't be sacrified if 2020 LMP gets 'green lit'

Aston Martin is still pursuing a 2020 LMP (Hypercar/GTP) programme in the FIA WEC. Vice President of Aston Martin Lagonda, David King sat down with DSC today, and confirmed that there’s still interest from his side in the newly-proposed regs.

Despite reports in other media outlets of a paucity of manufacturer interest in the forthcoming 2020 regulations, the reality at present seems to be rather less bleak than presented elsewhere. However, there are now urgent calls from a number of interested parties for more clarity on the ruleset and in particular on the budgets required.

Aston Martin though, are certainly ‘still in the room’.

“We’re looking at everything (referring to DTM as well), and at racing oppourtunities, but the core of what we do is sportscar racing and racing GT cars,” King explained. “It’s not a secret that we’re interested in the new LMP class, and we are in the technical working groups. There are no decisions or commitments at this stage, but we’re very interested.

“If we get it right as a family of manufacturers it will be amazing for the sport to get three or five manufacturers fighting with hypercar-based race cars.

“But it’s like a poker game, we’re all sitting with our cards close to our chest,” he continued. “The thing I’m most worried about is September 2020 as it’s such a short time scale to get lots of new cars on the grid. Unless a company has already got funding and board approval to work on a car, it’d be difficult to get a car ready, especially as the full regulations don’t exist yet. There’s another working group meeting in Paris.

“We’d love to support it, if the opportunity is right, I hope we’d take it.”

If Aston Martin commits to LMP in 2020, then there is a chance that the car would be offered to customers, as King can see that being a viable option.

“There’s a long way to go in evaluating the GTP option. There’s a lot of steps but if the regs go where we want, if we decide to do it, if we can fund it, if we develop and build a car then of course we’d be interested in selling it to customer race teams.

“I think you’ll see that across all the manufacturers because the cars aren’t as complex, and there won’t be as much IP buried in the cars. It’ll be easier and better for the business case if the factories can sell cars to top-end private teams.”

Should Aston Martin commit to the new rules, King was also keen to stress that it wouldn’t impact the brand’s GTE programme, as there is a firm committment to it going forward.

“Whatever happens with new LMP, we are committed to GTE racing for the long term,” he affirmed. “It’s the core of what we do, we’ve been in GT cars since we came back in 2005. We’re committed to another four seasons, I don’t see any change there, we’ll always race GT cars.”

In discussing IMSA, off the back of the recent Prototype class split, King reiterated that Aston Martin is interested in racing in IMSA, though, as reported by DSC back in May, in GTLM with a partner rather than in DPi.

“We’re looking for a partner still, and ideally we want to be in GTLM. America is a massive market and it’s frustrating that we’re not there yet. We haven’t looked at DPi, we follow it, but we haven’t looked at participating.”