Aston Martin Valkyrie Might Race at Le Mans, IMSA After All: Report
Aston’s Cosworth V12-powered hypercar was originally planned to go endurance racing in 2021.
The Aston Martin Valkyrie was originally destined to to duke it out on track under the Le Mans Hypercar rules, but that effort was shuttered years ago. In an interesting turn of events, the British car manufacturer may be reviving its endurance competition plans which have lain dormant for over three years.
As reported by Motorsport.com, Aston Martin has been negotiating in earnest with U.S.-based operation The Heart of Racing with an eye toward contesting both the 24-hour race and North American IMSA championship starting in 2025. The racing team has campaigned Aston Martins in various series, and is supported by video game magnate Gabe Newell. This partnership aims to finally bring to the race track a vehicle initially planned to race in 2021. While the deal isn’t inked yet, sources suggest it could be finalized within weeks.
Aston Martin is reportedly known to be liaising with suppliers about the potential racing program and securing crucial personnel to manage it. One such notable inclusion is the former engineering director of Williams Formula 1, Adam Carter. Carter recently joined the newly formed Aston Martin Performance Technologies division.
While Aston remains tight-lipped about the revival of the Valkyrie LMH, it did emphasize the recent success of the Hypercar competition when probed by Motorsport.com. "We are encouraged by the growth of the Hypercar class, and the hugely successful centenary Le Mans 24 Hours was a shining example of this," remarked an Aston Martin spokesperson, adding "We continue to pay close attention to the class."
If the Valkyrie did race in the Hypercar class, it would be a great opportunity for Aston Martin to boost its motorsport credentials. Company figures may dare to dream about repeating Aston Martin's sole victory at Le Mans, which happened 64 years ago.
The Heart of Racing's team principal, Ian James, didn't rule out any possibilities when speaking to Motorsport.com. "Our ambition to ascend to the pinnacle of international sportscar racing is no secret. But currently, no formal agreement is in place," said James.
Heart of Racing, which operates from its Florida workshop, has already expanded its footprint in WEC with Aston this year. This move came after their successful stint in IMSA, where they clinched the 2022 GT Daytona title and secured a class victory at the Daytona 24 Hours.
Details on a new racing variant of the Valkyrie remain unclear, but it's understood the intent is for the car to compete globally, in both IMSA and the WEC. Unlike the unrestricted Valkyrie AMR Pro track car, which was developed from the previously-proposed LMH racecar, a competition version would have to be modified to suit prevailing rules.
In any case, the rumored competition version is expected to stick to the fundamentals of the existing design. It's poised to feature the 6.5-litre V12 engine from the street car, developed in partnership with Cosworth. However, the rear-axle hybrid system would be dropped for competition.
Despite the initial excitement around the Valkyrie LMH, its fate became uncertain after the introduction of LMP2-based LMDh cars to the WEC’s Hypercar division. Aston Martin claimed this change made the financials of competing questionable—LMDh cars can be built much more cheaply yet compete in the same class—and announced the suspension of the Valkyrie program shortly after.
However, hints from Lawrence Stroll, following his acquisition of the Racing Point F1 team and its rebranding as Aston Martin, reignited hopes of the brand's comeback to the prestigious Le Mans. A return would mark the brand's first attack on the top level of Le Mans competition since the AMR-One LMP1 car took to the track in 2011.
As much as it is a potent hypercar on the road, the Valkyrie has always looked as though it was built for a higher purpose. It's now becoming evident that a Valkyrie Le Mans program could mark a new chapter in Aston's illustrious racing history.
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