This weekend, some of the world’s best racing drivers will be taking on one of the most gruelling challenges on the automotive calendar - the Le Mans 24 Hours. Ahead of this weekend’s excitement, Aston Martin have started things off with a much anticipated announcement: Valkyrie will officially compete at Le Mans.
In fact, not one but at least two works Valkyrie racing cars will be heading to the Circuit de la Sarthe as part of the 2020/21 FIA World Endurance Championship; when LMP1 is officially scrapped in favour of a new hypercar category. Just in case you didn’t see, the current crop of class leading LMP1 cars will no longer be appearing at Le Mans from 2020, due to them being too expensive and the class being too hard for new teams to enter.
Instead, we’ll be getting a new class that is designed for race-modified roadgoing hypercars, with teams being governed by strict cost and development limits to ensure competitive racing from as many teams as possible. Think GT1 racing from the 90’s … but faster.
Whilst there are a host of manufacturers that had their interest peaked by the new class, Aston Martin are one of the first to officially announce their involvement. That said you can expect to see the Aston Martin Valkyrie going head-to-head with entries from McLaren and Ferrari, as they were two of the manufacturers heavily behind the format switch.
Speaking of the news Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, said:
“We have always said that we would one day bring Aston Martin back to Le Mans with the intention of going for the outright win when the time was right – now is that time”
The Aston Martin Valkyrie is primed for such a challenge and sits perfectly within the ACO’s new ‘hypercar’ rule framework. What could be more evocative than the wail of an Aston Martin V12 leading the charge into the night on the Mulsanne straight? ”
What exactly will Aston Martin be taking to Le Mans? You can expect a race-prepped version of Valkyrie that features a bespoke high-revving naturally-aspirated 6.5-litre V12 with hybrid power and revised aerodynamics that take it from ‘almost racing car’ to ‘full racing car’. If you take a look at the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro that Aston Martin unveiled shortly after the road car, you probably get quite a good idea of what the Le Mans racing car will be like.
The road going version of Valkyrie was designed alongside Red Bull Racing by aerodynamics wizard, Adrian Newey. A long time in the making, the Valkyrie project aims to produce a car that is capable of lap times that mirror or beat modern LMP1 cars but is still able to legally drive down to the local shops. You can read all about the insane Valkyrie here.
We’re quite excited for this new category of Le Mans; it’s a sort of GT1 class revival but with a twist of modern, often 1,000bhp+ hypercars. The question is, however, with Formula One always seeming to be in a constant state of turmoil these days, could there be a new most popular motorsport on the horizon? We’d like to read your thoughts on Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin.