On the eve of the 60th anniversary of its glorious win in the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin announces that it will once again bid for outright victory in the French endurance classic in 2021.
Following the announcement of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s decision to introduce hypercars to the top category of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Aston Martin will field a minimum of two works Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercars, specially-developed for the 2020/21 FIA WEC season, including the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Britain has enjoyed a long romance with the Circuit de la Sarthe, indeed in 2021 it will be 100 years since an Aston Martin first raced there. But it’s more than a quarter of a century since a British-built derivative of a road car claimed top honours at Le Mans, and invoking the pioneering spirit of the company’s founder Lionel Martin and the ingenuity of some of Britain’s best engineering minds, Aston Martin is now set to carry that mantle into the next decade with a bold attempt to win Le Mans and the world championship.
Aston Martin Valkyrie, the world’s most extreme road car and platform for this future challenger, is the combined vision of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey, Aston Martin EVP and Chief Creative Officer Marek Reichman and Aston Martin VP and Chief Special Operations Officer David King. It was created as a result of a technical collaboration between Aston Martin, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and project partner AF Racing.
In line with WEC’s newly confirmed ‘hypercar’ regulations designed to allow race-prepared derivatives of the world’s fastest road cars to fight at the forefront of world sportscar racing, the Aston Martin Valkyrie race car will draw on all the radical pillars of the road car and its track-only AMR Pro variant.
The new car will feature a race-prepared version of its bespoke high-revving normally-aspirated 6.5-litre V12 engine. Placed within a lightweight carbon fibre structure, and featuring F1 inspired aerodynamic technology, it forms a fully competitive platform capable of challenging for outright race wins.
Aston Martin Vice President and Chief Special Operations Officer, David King said: “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. 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.”
Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group CEO, Andy Palmer said: “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. 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? ”