Aston Martin has announced its return to the top tier of circuit endurance racing with the news that it will enter a racing prototype version of its Valkyrie hypercar in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2025. Through its endurance racing partner The Heart of Racing (HoR), at least one Valkyrie race car will be entered in the top Hypercar class of each of the FIA World Endurance Championships (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championships (IMSA) in the same year.
“Performance is the lifeblood of everything that we do at Aston Martin, and motorsport is the ultimate expression of this pursuit of excellence,” said Lawrence Stroll, executive chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda. “We have been present at Le Mans since the earliest days, and through those glorious endeavors 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.
“I would like to thank Gabe Newell and Heart of Racing for partnering with Aston Martin on this program, and I look forward to working with him and the team as we aim for success in the greatest endurance race of them all.”
The Valkyrie AMR Pro was originally designed and developed to meet the LMH hypercar regulations. Now Aston Martin Performance Technologies, based on the newly built AMR Technology Campus, co-located with the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One team’s headquarters, has begun the task of developing the competition prototype version of Valkyrie for racing within a pre-defined aerodynamic and power performance window to give it parity with its direct competition in WEC. It will then be homologated for the WEC Hypercar and IMSA GTP classes ahead of the 2025 season.
The race-optimized, carbon-fiber chassis Valkyrie will use a modified version of the Cosworth-built 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine, which in standard form revs to 11,000rpm and develops over 1,000bhp. The power unit will be enhanced to incorporate the balance of performance requirements of the Hypercar class. As with the Valkyrie AMR Pro track car, the battery-electric hybrid system that features on the road-specification Valkyrie will be absent from the race car.
Once homologated, the HoR team will spearhead Aston’s programs in both WEC and IMSA. Founded in 2014 by American businessman and philanthropist Gabe Newell, HoR raises money for the Seattle Children’s Cardiology Research Fund, among other causes. The US-based team was conceived in 2020 and has partnered with Aston since its inception, competing predominantly with the Vantage GT3 in IMSA’s two GTD classes and making its Le Mans debut in 2023 with the Vantage GTE.
“It’s a privilege to be able to bring Aston Martin back to the top of endurance racing with The Heart of Racing,” said Ian James, team principal of HoR. “Our team has grown exponentially since we began racing with those famous wings at Daytona in 2020. We understand and are aligned with the ethos of the brand and we have developed our own systems and technologies to extract the maximum performance of the cars we compete with. Our understanding of Valkyrie is strong and we have worked closely with it through our customer activation programs for two years now.
“This HoR team has big ambitions in endurance racing and this is absolutely the right time for us to step into the top classes of WEC and IMSA and challenge for overall honors. This is not an easy target, but between our partners and the support of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, it is one we have all the tools and capabilities in place to hit the bullseye with.”
Aston has also announced that it will build and prepare all-new GT3 and GT4 cars, based on the Vantage platform, which will conform to all existing and new GT rule sets, including the new-for-2024 LMGT3 regulations that replace the outgoing GTE class in WEC. Its new GT challenger is expected to compete in WEC, IMSA and SRO-run GT World Challenge Series as well as various internationally based regional championships. It will be available for existing Aston Martin Racing partners and prospective customers to purchase and compete with for the beginning of the 2024 racing season.
Adam Carter, Aston Martin’s head of endurance motorsport, said, “Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Aston Martin in endurance racing. As a manufacturer, Aston Martin has a consistent record of success at world championship level and, through the efforts of The Heart of Racing, also now in IMSA.
“Valkyrie takes us back into the top tier of sportscar racing and, together with our partners, we are absolutely confident that we can deliver a race car with the potential and the performance capabilities to fight alongside the benchmark machinery in the class. To be able to do this in cooperation with a proven championship-winning operation such as The Heart of Racing ensures we have all we need to race from a competitive platform. It’s a fascinating program, given that this is the only hypercar in the class with direct synergies to its road car counterpart, but the Valkyrie concept was always intended to break through boundaries, and now we have the opportunity to show what it can do on a track.”
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