It's official. Aston Martin has committed to the new hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship with its Valkyrie flagship, which means the car is set to fight for outfight victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Aston Martin made the announcement on Friday at Le Mans, where the automaker is preparing for this weekend's running of the 24-hour French classic in the GTE class with the Vantage.
Aston Martin Valkyrie with AMR Track Performance Pack
The goal is to field at least two Valkyries in the hypercar class of the 2020/2021 WEC season, whose final race will be the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The hypercar class is set to become the new top category of the WEC. It will replace the current LMP1 category, which has become a farce since the sole manufacturer is Toyota. With Aston Martin's commitment, the hyperclass now has two manufacturers—the other is America's Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus—and more are likely to join. Toyota is almost certain and has already presented the GR Super Sport hypercar concept, while the likes of Ferrari and even Koenigsegg are possibilities with their respective SF90 Stradale and Jesko models.
Toyota GR Super Sport concept
The hypercar class was first announced last year. Its purpose is to attract more manufacturers by allowing designs that closely resemble cars the manufacturers actually sell. Some technology will also be common between the road and race cars, such as powertrains, but the race cars will still be dedicated designs with separate chassis to their road-car counterparts in most cases.
In the case of the Valkyrie, the race car will feature a version of the road car's 6.5-liter V-12. In line with the hypercar class regulations, the race car will also need an electric motor-generator at the front axle.
Aston Martin Valkyrie's 6.5-liter V-12
A name for the class is yet to be decided, with the organizers, the FIA and ACO, putting the decision up to popular vote. Possibilities include Super Sportscar, GTPrototype and Le Mans Hypercars. The selected name will be revealed next year.
It was exactly 60 years ago that an Aston Martin last won outright at Le Mans, thanks to the efforts of Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby in a DBR1. The win was referred to in a statement made by Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer during Friday's announcement.
Le Mans-winning Aston Martin DBR1/2. Photo via Talacrest.
“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,” he said. “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.”
We can't wait to hear the wail of the Valkyrie's high-revving V-12 as the car charges down the Mulsanne straight.