Aston Martin rules out HWA running Vantages in DTM
Aston Martin has ruled out the possibility of HWA running its Vantage cars in the DTM in the wake of R-Motorsport’s withdrawal from the series.
R-Motorsport entered the DTM in 2019 after getting an exclusive license from Aston Martin to build and run Vantages to the Class One rules the series adopted last year.
The Swiss squad tied up with HWA for this purpose, but the two parties split at the end of the year - and R-Motorsport recently announced that it will not contest the 2020 DTM season.
HWA and R-Motorsport had originally agreed to sell the cars to a buyer in Hong Kong but the deal didn't go through because of civil unrest in the Chinese special administrative region.
Since then the cars have remained in the possession of HWA, leading to the possibility of the former Mercedes team running the cars independently.
ITR chairman Gerhard Berger is keen to see Aston continuing in the series in some form or the other, and it is understood that he held conversations about HWA taking over the operational side of Aston’s DTM effort.
Talks between HWA and Berger were confirmed by former’s team chief Ulrich Fritz, who told Motorsport.com: "Of course, we are also thinking together with Mr. Berger and the ITR about how things can continue for this important platform of German motorsport.”
However, a possible revival of the Vantage DTM programme has not had the go-ahead from Aston Martin, which will expand its FIA World Endurance Championship programme later this year by entering the new hypercar class.
“There are no plans for Aston Martin Lagonda to become a works supplier of the DTM series,” a spokesperson for the British manufacturer told Motorsport.com when asked if the Vantage could still race in the category in 2020.
The situation is complicated by R-Motorsport having the exclusive license to field the Vantage DTM car for at least three more years. As such, HWA would have required approval from both R-Motorsport and Aston Martin to proceed with its plans.
"If Aston Martin wants to talk to us about this licence to give it to someone else, they will certainly contact us," R-Motorsport team boss Florian Kamelger told Motorsport.com.
"We are in daily contact. There have been a lot of discussions because of the events of the past weeks, but nothing [about the licence] was ever discussed."
Even though HWA is in possession of the Vantages it co-built with R-Motorsport, the cars are no longer in a ready-to-race state.
Not only the engines have not been developed since the end of last season, but they have already completed their one-season lifespan.
Also, HWA lacks the operational strength to run the team, having made several employees redundant after its split with R-Motorsport.
“The remaining engine life is not sufficient for a complete DTM season in accordance with the regulations," said Fritz. "Therefore, they are certainly great for collectors or as track cars, but they are no longer suitable for racing in this form. In view of the project stopping, we did not procure any engine parts.
"Of course, we cut people at the end of the year because the project no longer existed."
The five Vantages will remain in HWA's possession until a new buyer is found or a deal is made with R-Motorsport and Aston Martin.
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