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Aston Martin returns to F1, plans 'core' mid-engine production car in 2021

A partnership with Red Bull Racing means the Aston Martin name will appear on an F1 car for the first time in 59 years -- and that's just the beginning of the automaker's plans.

Aston Martin-Red Bull Racing

The Aston Martin brand has always been associated with speed and racing, but the automaker is making a major investment in motorsports starting in 2018 starting with a brand sponsorship and rebranding of now Aston Martin-Red Bull Racing Formula 1 car.

Officially announced late last year, the Aston Martin-Red Bull Racing RB14 will compete under its new name for the first time this weekend at the 2018 Rolex Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. The race will mark the return of the Aston brand to Formula 1 after a 59-year hiatus if just, for now, in name alone.

Aston Martin's Formula 1 plans don't stop with a brand sponsorship. The British automaker also announced earlier this year that it's currently watching FIA draft regulations to evaluate whether future rules will allow it to become an engine manufacturer by the 2021 F1 season. (The current RB14 is powered by a 1.6-liter turbocharged hybrid engine branded by TAG-Heuer, but manufactured by Renault.)

Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing have also collaborated on the Aston Martin Valkyrie, a production mid-engine hybrid electric hypercar with a limited production run of just 150 units, and the Valkyrie AMR Pro, a track-only version of that car limited to just 25 examples. The automaker says that the lessons learned from the Valkyries and motorsport collaborations will create "a fertile ground" for the launch of its first core mid-engine car in 2021. Aston, you had my curiosity... but now you have my attention. 

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Aston Martin will also compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Blancpain and British GT series and return to the Nürburgring this year. 

Aston Martin

Beyond F1, Aston's racing plans include an Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE that will enter in the GTE Pro category of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season; customer Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3s that will be piloted by Aston Martin Racing factory drivers in the Blancpain GT Series and British GT Championships; and a return to the Nürburgring 24 Hours in May, though the details of that last endeavor haven't been confirmed yet. In total, the Aston Martin banner will fly over some 44 races around the world in 2018.