With Porsche, Audi, and Nissan now out of LMP1, the top level of endurance racing, Toyota is the only manufacturer left to compete at Le Mans. Since it’s not particularly exciting to watch one works team race itself, this has left the sport in an unstable position. But if Aston Martin gets its way, the FIA would try to save LMP1 by allowing road-based race cars.
Speaking to Autocar recently, Andy Palmer, CEO of Aston Martin, said officials from the FIA had approached him about potentially changing regulations to attract more automakers. His suggestion? Open LMP1 up to race cars based on production models.
“My personal perspective is very clear: Aston Martin will never compete in a prototype category because it has no relevance to us,” he said. “But if they allowed racing derivatives of road cars, that would be very interesting to us and, I suspect, the fans.”
The way Palmer sees it, having production-based cars compete in LMP1 would go beyond attracting more manufacturers. It would also keep with Le Mans tradition. “Road-derived race cars fighting for the win is in keeping with the history of sportscar and Le Mans racing,” said Palmer. “And the prospect of the likes of Valkyrie fighting against McLaren P1, LaFerrari and more would be interesting to more than just me, I suspect.”
When Autocar asked Palmer if Aston Martin would race the Valkyrie in LMP1 if the FIA adopted his rules suggestion, he responded, “Watch this space.”
We’re not sure how likely such a rule change is, but the man makes a point. Plus, if no other manufacturers want to take on Toyota, the FIA might not have a choice.