Aston Martin has confirmed what we all saw coming.
Ever since the new hypercar class was announced for the 24 Hours of Le Mans that will allow race-prepared variants of the world's fastest road cars, Aston Martin has hinted that it wants to return to the famous endurance race. But now it's official. Just before this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin has announced it will be entering two specially built Valkyrie race cars in the 2020/21 FIA World Endurance Championship season, including the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
2021 will mark 100 years since an Aston Martin first raced at the Circuit de la Sarthe. It's also been a quarter of a century since a British-built derivative of a road car has claimed top honors at Le Mans, but Aston Martin thinks it has a good chance of winning Le Mans and the world championship. Aston Martin says the Valkyrie race car will "draw on all the radical pillars of the road car and its track-only AMR Pro variant."
Technical details are scarce, but Aston Martin says the Valkyrie race car will "draw on all the radical pillars of the road car and its track-only AMR Pro variant" and feature a race-prepared version of the high-revving naturally-aspirated 6.5-liter V12 engine developed by Cosworth. In the regular Valkyrie, this unit is paired with a hybrid system to produce a combined output of 1,160 hp at 10,500 rpm and 663 lb-ft of torque at 6,000 rpm. Like the road car, the racing Valkyrie will also be underpinned by a lightweight carbon fiber structure and feature F1-inspired aerodynamic technology. It's going to be an exciting new era for Le Mans - let's hope Ferrari and McLaren rise to the challenge and go head to head with Aston Martin.
"The FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans represent the ultimate challenge for the Aston Martin Valkyrie – the world's most extreme hypercar," said Aston Martin Vice President and Chief Special Operations Officer, David King. "Designed and built with the purpose of pushing boundaries on the road, it's natural to conclude that the next stage in its development would be to measure its capabilities on the track. I can think of no better way to do that than to compete in a world championship and the most prestigious and famous race of all.
"We have always said that we would one day bring Aston Martin back to Le Mans with the intention of going for the outright win when the time was right – now is that time. David Brown came here in 1959, with a car and a team of drivers capable of winning," Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer added. "We intend to do the same in 2021. The Aston Martin Valkyrie is primed for such a challenge and sits perfectly within the ACO's new 'hypercar' rule framework. Bringing to bear all of our previous experience and knowledge of competing at the top levels of motorsport, we embark on this most ambitious project with the necessary ingredients for success. What could be more evocative than the wail of an Aston Martin V12 leading the charge into the night on the Mulsanne straight? "