Aston Martin has announced it is ending its GTE Pro programme and will not return to the World Endurance Championship in 2021.

After a seven-season run in WEC which culminated in securing the series drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles as well as two class victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours this year, Aston Martin says it will “switch the strategic focus of its Vantage GT motorsport programme to concentrate on customer operations from 2021 onwards”.

Aston Martin has participated in WEC since its inception in 2012, recording a total of 47 class wins and 103 podiums, nine class championships and four 24 Hours of Le Mans class victories.

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These included the double world championship triumph for Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen and Le Mans class victory for Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell.

The decision to end its factory involvement in the WEC follows the British manufacturer’s takeover by Lawrence Stroll at the start of the year and his subsequent rebranding of the Racing Point Formula 1 team as Aston Martin from 2021.

Despite confirming the axing of its factory programme, Aston Martin aims to continue its success in GT racing with its Vantage alongside a partner, with Prodrive  extending its deal to build and sell its front-engined GT races across all levels from GTE to GT3 and GT4 as part of a “multi-year deal”.

Aston Martin Racing president David King said: ”This year has been one of unprecedented success for [the] Vantage in international motorsport.

"At all levels, from GTE, through GT3 to the entry-level GT4, we have experienced significant championship success.

"But there is more to come from [the] Vantage, which is why we have concluded that now is the time for us to shift the weight of factory support to our partners as we go in pursuit of success in the most important events in GT racing.”

Aston Martin Lagonda chief executive officer Tobias Moers added: “Vantage proved it has world champion pedigree in 2020, and in its GTE variant is a 24-hour race winner. Now with the Vantage GT3 we wish to give our partners and customers the best opportunity possible to fight for victory against our closest rivals in the toughest endurance challenges GT racing has to offer.”