The FIA World Endurance Championship has described Aston Martin's decision to indefinitely postpone its Valkyrie hypercar programme as "not unexpected" in a statement.
An hour after the arrival of the confirmation that Aston will not participate in the 2020/21 WEC season with its Valkyrie-based contender, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which jointly promotes the series with the FIA, issued its response to the news.
Its statement described the development as "very regrettable but perhaps not unexpected in light of the persistent rumours over the last six months concerning the fragility of the brand’s exposure in the rapidly evolving automotive market".
It also cited Aston's decision to have a works presence in Formula 1 from 2021 following its recent agreement with Racing Point as a factor that put its hypercar project in doubt.
However, the statement went on to express hope that Multimatic, the company charged with building the race versions of the Valkyrie, and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Aston's partner in the creation of the road car, "will find a solution to bring this programme to fruition".
Furthermore, it made it clear that the WEC's strategy regarding the introduction of the hypercar rules for 2020/21 and the decision to open up the top category to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship's next-gen LMDh cars in 2021/22 remains unchanged.
“This is not good news for the WEC in the short term, but it doesn’t change our mid and long-term plans," commented WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
"We still have Toyota and Peugeot plus other entrants who have expressed an interest for Le Mans Hypercar and, with the arrival of LMDh, we will welcome many new manufacturers.
"Of course, it would be better if Aston Martin was present as well, but it’s important that we have as wide a range of manufacturers as possible and that is the strategic plan we are working on for the future.”
Following Aston Martin's announcement, the WEC faces the prospect of another season with Toyota as its only major manufacturer in the top class, with the Japanese marque's competition likely to be limited to efforts from Glickenhaus and ByKolles.
Peugeot's programme is not due to begin until some time in 2022, meaning the first full season the French marque will contest will be the 2022/23 campaign.
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