Try to act shocked: Aston Martin has confirmed it’s to enter the FIA World Endurance Championship’s new hypercar class with a Valkyrie-derived racer.
We all knew this was coming, but that doesn’t make the news any less sweet. Particularly given that the competition version of the Valkyrie will still be V12-powered, using a race-prepared version of the Cosworth-built 6.5-litre unit. Who knows, it might even have a higher ceiling than the road-going version, which already tops out at a delicious 11,100rpm.
Aston Martin will be entering “at least two” works cars into the new class when it debuts for the 2020/2021 FIA WEC season. The class replaces the existing LMP1 category, in which Toyota is currently the only works outfit. And consequently doing most of the winning.
The ‘hypercar class’ will allow road-car-based racers to complete, creating a spiritual successor to the old GT1 regulations. 15 different manufacturers are said to have attended talks about the regulations, including McLaren and Toyota.
It seems likely that McLaren would use the Senna as the starting point for any potential entry, while Toyota will create racing version of the GR Super Sport.
Entrants will need to stick to a minimum weight of 1100kg, with engines providing around 750bhp allowed. Hybrid systems will be permitted but not mandatory, and subject to a 270bhp limit.
It’d be a huge deal if Aston Martin’s effort is able to compete for the WEC title, as well as outright victory at Le Mans. The manufacturer’s one and only win at La Sarthe was way back in 1959 with a DBR1 driven by Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby. Aston hasn’t competed in the top flight of endurance racing since 2011, during which time its Lola-built B09/60 was outshone by dominant diesel entries from Peugeot and Audi.
Speaking about the plans, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer 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. 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.”