Aston Martin to return to Le Mans with Valkyrie

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The Aston Martin Valkyrie will enter the Le Mans Hypercar class in 2025, competing against the likes of Porsche, Ferrari and BMW.

Motorsport was sewn into the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s DNA from the beginning. The Adrian Newey-designed, Cosworth-engined hypercar was initially pencilled in for a 2021 Le Mans entry, and while that target was missed, Aston Martin will revive its bid for glory at the world’s most famous motor race in 2025.

A dedicated racing version of the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro will be developed at the new Aston Martin Technology Campus at Silverstone alongside the company’s Formula 1 cars. It will compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA series in the US.

Built in collaboration with Aston’s official endurance racing team, Heart of Racing, the Valkyrie will aim for outright victory in three of the most prestigious endurance races on the calendar: the 24 hours of Le Mans, the 24 hours of Daytona and the 12 hours of Sebring.

The Valkyrie AMR Pro was originally designed to enter the 2021 Le Mans Hypercar series, but for 2025, the concept will be revisited to comply with the latest WEC and IMSA regulations, with homologation expected to be completed by autumn 2024. Testing is due to start early in the New Year.

Aston Martin Performance Technologies, which neighbours the company’s F1 headquarters, will carry out the development of the new racer, which will be built around the Valkyrie’s carbonfibre chassis with its Cosworth designed and built 6.5-litre V12 at its heart.

In the Valkyrie road car, the naturally-aspirated unit generates more than 750kW on its way to an 11,000rpm redline, but the Le Mans car’s engine will be adapted for the Balance of Performance regulations set by the FIA. As in the AMR Pro, the production version’s hybrid system will be ditched to save weight.

Aerodynamic performance is tightly regulated in the Hypercar class, but competitors are encouraged to devise unique solutions to reach the predefined downforce to drag ratio limit of 4:1 (hence the Peugeot 9X8’s distinctive wingless design). Early renders indicate that the Valkyrie prototype will refine the extreme aero elements found on the AMR Pro for competition.

Speaking at the announcement held at the team’s Technology Campus, Aston Martin chairman Lawrence Stroll said: ‘We have been present at Le Mans since the earliest days, and through those glorious endeavours we succeeded in winning Le Mans in 1959 and our class 19 times over the past 95 years. Now we return to the scene of those first triumphs aiming to write new history with a racing prototype inspired by the fastest production car Aston Martin has ever built.’

The Valkyrie was initially conceived to race, with ex-CEO Andy Palmer announcing the car would race at Le Mans two years after its 2019 reveal. But while the company has undergone huge changes since Palmer’s botched IPO and Stroll’s investment to take control of the company, the internal discussions regarding a racing Valkyrie continued. ‘The timing and resources weren’t right, but they are now’, said Stroll.

When asked if Aston Martin would be returning to top level sports car racing if it didn’t already have the Valkyrie in its stable, Stroll said: ‘If we didn’t have the Valkyrie, yes we would consider it [developing a new hypercar]. But we wanted this car to race.’

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