Aston Martin Valkyrie to race in WEC "hypercar" class
Aston Martin may have had a race to forget at Le Mans, with its GTE Pro polesitter retiring and another car finishing well down the order in 13th – but it wasn’t entirely a waste of time for the British sports car maker. The company also announced ahead of the race that it is making a return to top-flight sports car racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), starting from the 2020-2021 season.
That’s when the series switches from prototypes to its new road car-based “hypercar” regulations, and Aston Martin has committed to fielding at least two works machines based on the spectacular Valkyrie during the inaugural season. Gaydon will be competing for overall victories – including at Le Mans – alongside Toyota, another company that committed to the new top category ahead of the recent race.
Aston says that the new race car will “draw on all the radical pillars” of both the road car and the track-only AMR Pro derivative, and that they will feature a race-prepped version of its bespoke 6.5 litre naturally-aspirated V12, along with a lightweight carbon fibre structure and F1-inspired aerodynamics. No word yet on whether hybrid technology – which Toyota will draw on with its entry – will feature here.
“We have always said that we would 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 CEO Andy Palmer. “The Valkyrie is primed for such a challenge and sits perfectly within the 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?”
These announcements come as the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, firmed up the new rules in the run-up to the event. The cars will feature a power output of 750 hp and weigh 1,100 kg, with an optional hybrid system not exceeding 270 hp.
There will also be restrictions on the how a four-wheel drive hybrid system is deployed to pare back the traction advantage compared to two-wheel drive entries, while a GTE-style Balance of Performance (BoP) system will also be employed to keep racing close.
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