- Aston Martin confirmed that it plans to enter the top class for the WEC and IMSA championships, which include the famous 24-hour races at Le Mans and Daytona.
- The race car Aston Martin will field will be based on track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro.
- The Le Mans-spec Valkyrie will join the competition in 2025, facing off against tough pack of Hypercar rivals.
Racing was always part of the plan for the Aston Martin Valkyrie. But early attempts to ready it for the proposed Hypercar endurance racing class were put on ice in 2020 shortly after Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll took a stake in the British sports car maker. His ownership of what was then the Racing Point F1 team, now Aston Martin Racing, effectively ended the original plans for the competition Valkyrie to be jointly developed with Formula 1 rivals Red Bull Racing.
In 2021 Aston reassured us that it still planned to take the Valkyrie racing and now, after a long wait, the company has confirmed that its hypercar will have the chance to earn motorsport glory. Starting in 2025, the Valkyrie will compete in the increasingly crowded Hypercar class in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech Championship in the U.S., where the class is called GTP. The entries in both series will be run by the U.S.-based Heart of Racing team, with at least one car entering each round of both championships. This means the Valkyrie will race in three of the most famous endurance races in the world: the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rolex 24 at Daytona, and 12 Hours of Sebring.
The track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro was originally designed to satisfy WEC’s LMH regulations for the Hypercar class. These were later joined by IMSA’s LMDh regulations, where competitors choose a chassis from one of four constructors and use a high percentage of off-the-shelf components to minimize costs. But since the Hypercar and GTP classes are open to both LMH and LMDh cars, Aston Martin will keep the racing Valkyrie as an LMH entrant. That gives more freedom in design, but it also stipulates that the hybrid system must add at least some power to the front axle. Since the Valkyrie road car’s electric assistance is sent entirely to the rear axle, the Valkyrie will—as with the Glickenhaus SCG 007—compete without a hybrid system.
Despite different technology across both classes, Hypercar racing is intended to be equalized by a comprehensive set of Balance of Performance restrictions, ensuring that cars enter each event on a level playing field. The aerodynamic targets for downforce and drag are the same for both LMH and LMDh contenders, as are the limits for minimum weight and maximum power.
Aston confirmed that the racing Valkyrie will continue to use the 6.5-liter V-12 engine, although BoP will doubtless require a reduction to the AMR Pro’s 1001hp output. For reference, back in 2021 Aston told us that the civilian-grade AMR Pro was reckoned to be capable of a 3 minute 20 second lap of the Le Mans circuit, only fractionally slower than the pace of the Toyota’s race-winning LMP1 car that year.
The Valkyrie will face tough competition, with what will likely be packed grids for the Hypercar and GTP classes. In addition to 2023’s roster—WEC saw Cadillac, Ferrari, Glickenhaus, Peugeot, Porsche, Toyota and Vanwall compete, with BMW and Acura also in IMSA—Alpine and Lamborghini are set to join next year. Yet in one area the Valkyrie should be assured victory, being, as Aston put it, “the first purebred hypercar to participate in both championships, and the only one among its rivals that can trace its origins back to an existing production car.” Aston has already taken 19 class victories at Le Mans over the years, as well as an overall victory in 1959 with the DBR1 driven by Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby.
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