Aston Valkyrie hypercar to race at Le Mans in 2021
Aston Martin is the first of the hypercar makers to raise its head above the Le Mans parapet and commit to racing for outright honours there in 2021, 100 years since an Aston first raced there.
The company today confirmed that it will enter a team of at least two works Valkyries – the Adrian Newey-designed hypercar developed in partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies – in the 2020/21 FIA World Endurance Championship to compete in the coming new hypercar class.
The announcement comes after months of speculation that, following the slow demise of LMP1, hypercars based on roadgoing models would form the new top category in the WEC championship. The move promises a new era of motorsport and a compelling new spectacle at the 24 Heures du Mans. With the WEC season spanning two years, the first time the specially developed Valkyries will race at Le Mans will be 2021.
The cars the Aston Valkyries will be up against are not so far known, but Aston’s announcement is sure to put pressure on companies like McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes.
In a shot across McLaren’s bows, Aston references the McLaren F1’s win at Le Mans in 1995 as “the last time a British-built derivative of a road car claimed top honours at Le Mans”. It says that achievement invokes the “pioneering spirit of the Aston Martin founder Lionel Martin” and that the company is “now set to carry that mantle into the next decade with a bold attempt to win Le Mans and the world championship.”
The news was confirmed today on the eve of Aston’s 60th anniversary of the DBR1’s win at Le Mans in 1959 and as news that its Vantage has taken pole position in the GTE Pro class for this weekend’s French endurance classic. It also comes just days after we published an interview with Marek Reichman, Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Aston Martin Lagonda, who said “Obviously there’s a rule change at Le Mans which suggests that we have a mid-engined car that could compete in that field…”.
The new WEC regulations allow for race-prepared derivatives of the world’s fastest road cars to fight at the forefront of world sportscar racing. Drawing on both the Valkyrie road car and the AMR Pro track version, Aston says the WEC car will feature a race-prepared version of the normally-aspirated 6.5-litre V12 engine in a lightweight carbon fibre structure featuring F1 inspired aerodynamics, courtesy of Adrian Newey, among the world’s greatest and most successful F1 designers.
“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,” said Aston chief Andy Palmer.
“David Brown came here in 1959, with a car and a team of drivers capable of winning. We intend to do the same in 2021. 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?”