Aston Martin Valkyrie to Compete for Le Mans Honours
The Le Mans 24 Hours, it's a race that is etched into the echelons of motorsport history. A test of performance and endurance, the Le Mans 24 Hours is the definitive enduro and is an event that all motorsport teams want their name associated with.
Taking place in the historic town of which the race takes its name, the 24-hour race is a permanent fixture on the world FIA motorsport calendar and, in addition, forms a round of the World Endurance Championship, the WEC. As a championship, the WEC has seen it's premier LMP1 class eroded over the past several seasons.
Once a hotbed of the likes of Porsche, Audi and Toyota battling it out for outright honours, the LMP1 class has seen it’s profile diminished somewhat as the likes of Porsche and Audi pulled out of the sport.
These moves left just Toyota at the forefront. Alongside Toyota were a number of independent teams, however, faced against the Japanese giants budget, the 2018-19 WEC season and both Le Mans events saw Toyota out front in a class of their own.
Recognising the need to change, the sports Governing body the FIA and the Le Mans authority, ACO has gone back to the drawing board for endurance racings premier class.
Faced with the challenge of keeping the LMP1 class relevant whilst enticing new manufacturers is a major task, however, the working plan and recently released regulation set for the 2021-22 season looks encouraging.
Forming the basis of these new rules is opening up entries to the worlds hypercar makers. From 2021 eligibility will be founded on a road car basis. Each works manufacturer must design a WEC machine based upon a current road-going model. For homologation purposes, this road car must currently be in production and have seen at least 20 units produced over the course of its life.
Enter Aston Martin and namely, the Valkyrie. The hype around the Valkyrie has been around for a while now and alongside the road going version, Aston Martin announced last year that there would be an even more powerful AMR version.
The love and brainchild of Aston Martin, acclaimed Formula One designer Adrian Newey and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, the Valkyrie is somewhat of a Concorde moment in the hypercar world. Naturally given its hypercar status, the Valkyrie is a true and undiluted powerhouse, however, given that this machine is the product of the engineering genius that is Adrian Newey, the Valkyrie is also about efficiency and aerodynamic performance.
Naturally, all of these attributes make the Aston Martin Valkyrie a natural fit for the World Endurance Championship and namely, the Le Mans 24 Hours. Already announced for the 2021-22 season, Aston Martin is well advanced in their development of the Valkyrie with the first road going iterations seeing delivery early next year.
This is an exciting chapter in the rebirth of Aston Martin. The British brand is synonymous with GT racing and going for all-out Le Mans honours will give the marque a unique place in the history books in a sport it has supported for decades.
Previous supercar form at Le Mans is strong with McLaren taking a dominant 1,3,4,5 with the now iconic McLaren F1 at the 1995 edition of the French enduro.
With the 2021 season still away off, it is going to be a long wait before we see the Valkyrie at pace. However, with other manufacturers joining the fray the wait is looking increasingly likely to be worth it with the final line up set to be a tantalising prospect.
Whatever happens between now and the start of the 2021 season, one thing is for certain, Aston Martin will be looking to come out on top.