It’s happening: the Aston Martin Valkyrie will race Le Mans in 2025
Several years later than billed, Aston will battle Ferrari, Toyota and several others for Hypercar glory. At last
This is how you lead by example: in the same week it encouraged owners to drive their Valkyries and not make museum pieces of them, Aston has confirmed that it will attempt to drive one as far as physically possible in 24 hours in 2025. Yup, the Valkyrie is going to Le Mans!
Almost four years after it backtracked out of plans to enter the Hypercar class, Aston has finally green-lighted its return to the top tier of endurance racing, promising to run at least one car in both the World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship across the pond.
That means it will compete for victory in Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, with both WEC and IMSA programmes run by its partner Heart of Racing: the outfit began life in 2020 and has since racked up an IMSA title and a class win at Daytona with a Vantage GT3.
The Valkyrie will rub shoulders with Ferrari’s Le Mans winning 499P and several other contenders in the Hypercar category, including Toyota, Porsche, Peugeot, Glickenhaus and Cadillac, plus 2024 entrants Alpine and Lamborghini. The one-horse race era is truly over.
“Performance is the lifeblood of everything that we do at Aston Martin, and motorsport is the ultimate expression of this pursuit of excellence,” said exec chairman Lawrence Stroll. “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 racecar 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.”
Aston has previous at Le Mans of course: it’s managed 19 class victories over a century of racing, taking overall honours with its DBR1 in 1959. The drivers that year? Roy Salvadori and a certain Carroll Shelby.
We hardly need remind you that the Valkyrie AMR Pro is a 1,001bhp car, powered by a 6.5-litre V12 developed by Cosworth that’s capable of revving to 11,000rpm. We also needn't remind you that the Hypercar class is limited to 670bhp, so a fair amount of downtuning is required.
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“Cosworth have been an integral partner to the programme: we’ll continue that and take forward all their knowledge of the engine," explains Adam Carter, head of endurance motorsport at Aston. "They’re obviously a company which has a long, successful history in racing, so a great partner to take on this challenge with.
“In terms of the re-engineering work, the main part for the Hypercar series is around the enclosement control on the torque, so we’ll be evolving the engine format and the control system in order to fulfil that regulation requirement and optimise the performance. That will lead to some evolution in the hardware spec.”
Regardless, it should sound pretty spectacular down the Mulsanne Straight. Bring ear plugs. And ear defenders.
Meanwhile, Aston is working on new homologated GT3 and GT4 racers, with the former conforming to the new LMGT3 regs that’ll replace the outgoing GTE rulebook next year. Bear with us while we Google ‘has anyone ever won every class at Le Mans’...