Aston Martin confirms Valkyrie Hypercar revival
Thursday 5th October, 2023 - 11:33am
Aston Martin has formally announced it will revive its shelved Valkyrie Hypercar programme for the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship starting in 2025.
The project was shelved in 2020 following concerns surrounding cost, but has been reborn due to positive connection with its customers and the technology benefit to its road car division.
It will mark the first time a manufacturer has committed to an LMH-spec competing in both IMSA GTP category in addition to FIA WEC as support is set to come from Aston Martin’s endurance racing partner Heart of Racing, which already represents the marque in the GT ranks across the world.
“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, the executive chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda.
“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.
“In addition to our presence in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, Aston Martin’s return to the pinnacle of endurance racing will allow us to build a deeper connection with our customers and community, many of whom found their passion for the brand through our past success at Le Mans. And of course, the complex knowledge base we are building through our F1 team is data that Aston Martin Performance Technologies can harness to further enhance the capabilities of the Valkyrie race car at Le Mans, in WEC and IMSA.
“Just as the learnings we gain through endurance competition will feed directly into our road car programmes, further improving the ultimate performance of our products. I would like to thank Gabe Newell and Heart of Racing for partnering with Aston Martin on this programme, and I look forward to working with him and the team as we aim for success in the greatest endurance race of them all.”
Development has already begun on the Adrian Newey-designed Valkyrie at the AMR Technology Campus located alongside the Aston Martin Formula 1 team’s Silverstone headquarters. Track testing is set to begin in early 2024 ahead of Valkyrie’s targeted debut at the 2025 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
Work must also be completed to ensure the Valkyrie fits within the pre-defined aerodynamic and power performance window regulations, as a modified version of the Cosworth-built, 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine will be the powerplant producing more than 1000bhp. This will be different to the one originally slated for the original Valkyrie project.
This version of the Valkyrie will replicate the AMR Pro track-car by not featuring the battery-electric system in the road-version leaving Aston Martin as the sole marque to be racing a non-hybrid prototype and one based on an existing production model.
“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, the team principal of Heart of Racing.
“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 programmes 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 honours. 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 Martin’s new head of endurance motorsport, Adam Carter, reaffirmed the marque’s commitment to Formula 1, Hypercar, GT3 and GT4 competition.
“Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Aston Martin in endurance racing,” Carter emphasised.
“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 Heart of Racing ensures we have all we need to race from a competitive platform.
“It’s a fascinating programme, 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.”
The confirmation of its Valkyrie Hypercar programme comes after Aston Martin Lagonda lost £495m in 2022, while in May Chinese automaker Geely acquired 42 million ordinary shares from Stroll’s Yew Tree, an effective 17 percent stake worth £234 million.
Mercedes recently relinquished an option to gain a further 10 percent in the company as part of a deal to supply electric technology signed in 2020, a decision worth in excess of $350 million. The German marque maintains its existing 10 percent stake.