Aston Martin’s Considering A New Top-Tier Le Mans Prototype

Aston Martin marked the race debut of its new Vantage GTE. It also announced new GT3 and GT4 versions of the same to slot in underneath. But it’s not done just yet.

According to Autosport, the British automaker is closely considering launching a new front-running prototype. It could enter the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship. That is, if the proposed new format goes through.

With Audi, Porsche, Nissan, and Peugeot all having shuttered their hybrid LMP1 programs in recent years, the ACO and the FIA are currently evaluating implementing a new format for the top class. Tentatively called GTP, the new regs would ostensibly sit somewhere in between the current LMP1 prototypes and the defunct GT1 class. And that’s something in which Aston Martin, for one, could be interested.

“We are at the table because we are interested – there’s no certainty that we will do it, but there is a definite interest,” Aston Martin Racing chief David King told Autosport. “If the ACO and the FIA allow us to compete at a cost that is not an order of magnitude more than a GTE programme, then we would look at it.”

The last time Aston Martin competed in the top tier was with the AMR-One in 2011. It placed a 2.0-liter turbo six behind an open cockpit, but never found success. Before that (and briefly after) it fielded the DBR1-2, which placed the V12 engine from the DBR9 in a closed Lola chassis. Neither proved particularly successful, though, leaving Aston to return to the GT classes.

“We wouldn’t be at the table to discuss LMP1 as it is now, because it is too expensive, as it was when we dabbled in it before,” said King. “The conditions of our entry would be affordability and the ability of a small company like ourselves to compete with someone like Toyota together with a relevance to road cars.”

If Aston were to proceed with such a program, it could base its racing chassis on either the Valkyrie hypercar or the forthcoming mid-engined supercar it’s planning on slotting in underneath it.

The proposed format would potentially open the door for more manufacturers to participate as well. As it stands, Toyota has the top class almost entirely to itself, with only privateer, conventional prototypes to contend with. And one way or another, that will likely prove untenable moving forward.

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  • Blake Stafford

    Bullshit. Aston are talking complete bullshit. How is a company that doesn’t even make its own engines going to make f1 and lmp1 engines. It’s all hot air.

    • LWOAP

      They don’t need to make their own engines for F1. It can be supplied from someone else. Sounds like you are the one full of hot air.

      • Blake Stafford

        If they aren’t making their own engines for f1 why are they wasting time being in the conversation about the next engines. Aston are full of shit. They don’t even make the majority of their road car engines. It’s all bs coming from them. “Oh we will enter f1. We will enter lmp1. Then we will make a moon base and colonize mars.” It’s all shite coming from them and only very slow people actually believe the shit they are spouting. It’s rather be full of hot air than shit. So you enjoy the delusions Aston are proclaiming .In three years time when they don’t do shit. Remember this conversation.

        • LWOAP

          Uh-huh, yeah, you keep telling yourself that. We’ll see in a few years, until then, you’re still full of it. .

          • Blake Stafford

            Aston Martin is a tiny company. They can’t afford an F1 program. They can’t afford an lmp1 programe. let alone both. Aston are puffing their chest to try and get pr. Any halfwit can see this. Ina few years time you will remember this conversation. Remember that I told you they are full of shit. Maybe look in a mirror and you will see someone else full of it aswell. You deserve to look foolish for being so naive.

          • LWOAP

            If you wasn’t so blinded and actually read the article they didn’t say they was getting into LMP1. They said they were considering competing IF a new category that replaces LMP1 was proposed but only IF it wasn’t considerably more expensive to run than the GTE category. You’re having a ridiculous reaction to all this and they haven’t confirmed anything they are merely exploring the possibility.

            So congrats on making yourself out to be a complete and utter buffoon.

        • Your problem is that you think Aston is the one that do this, ALL companies made similar statement, future plans and so on. It’s normal thing to do, entering multinational FIA championship is a very complicated process, sometimes they will use public reaction as leverage in negotiation with FIA, How do you think Ford and BMW are allowed to race a car that they didn’t have the road car at first place.

  • fabri99

    The LMP1 category must become cheaper to run if they want it to survive. I’d like Aston Martin to be back in it, along with other car makers, but I understand that they are not prepared to invest a lot more than they already do for the GTE class.

    • That’s the problem really, ACO and to some extent the FIA believe that LMP1 should be top tier class where all the latest technology should be showcased, some pundits arguing that if Toyota quits, it would be easier to set the regulations for LMP1, instead we got sort of compromise LMP1 class.

      The problem for manufacturer is that WEC didn’t have the same prestige or reach-ability as F1, meanwhile hybrid LMP1 cost are soaring, but again it’s politics that slow things down.

  • I think you need to clear up that the so called GTP called for Prototype style cars that is resembled road car, imagine DPi or late 90s GT1 like Toyota GT-One, CLK GTR and 911 GT1-98.

    While it sounds great, it could potentially killed LMP and without close observation, we could open up floodgate that killed the 90s GT1 again.

    • Bob

      What did kill GT1 in the 90s? Honest question.

      • Short answer is manufacturer over spending and lack of oversight by FIA/ACO. While GT1 originally open to lightly modified supercar, manufacturer start building race car disguised as sports car (911 GT1, CLK GTR) and FIA/ACO afraid of losing the publicity start to allow and even make exception such as minimum of 20 road car that has been produced (which led us to R390 or GT-One, which only has 1 or 2 road car variant that is not even sold on public).

        In the end the cost is rising and one brand dominating on track (Either Porsche or Mercedes).

        • Bob

          Well done, I legitimately didn’t know that!

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