Le Mans prototype race cars are going away, and in their place will be a new top-tier racing class that will pit race-spec hypercars -- which must have road-legal counterparts, mind you -- against one another starting in 2020. Toyota has already discussed its desire to enter this class, and now, a famed British automaker is ready to throw its hat in the ring, too.
Aston Martin announced on Friday that it intends to run a modified version of its Valkyrie hypercar in the FIA World Endurance Championship's upcoming Hypercar class. This series won't start until after the conclusion of next year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, but it sounds like Aston Martin is ready to hit the ground running with perhaps the most bonkers car it's ever constructed.
Starting in the 2020/2021 "Super Season," Aston Martin will field at least two Valkyries through its in-house works racing program. Its 6.5-liter V12 will be cranked until the dial breaks off, but a lot of what we'll see on the track is already apparent in the Valkyrie's road-legal form, as well as its track-only AMR Pro trim. It already looks like a Le Mans prototype, and its carbon fiber construction means it's nice and lightweight.
"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," said Andy Palmer, President and CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda, in a statement. "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. What could be more evocative than the wail of an Aston Martin V12 leading the charge into the night on the Mulsanne straight?"
There will probably be some time before we learn more about the Le Mans-spec Valkyrie, but the road-legal version's numbers are pretty terrifying as-is. The street-spec Valkyrie uses a hybrid powertrain thatand 664 pound-feet of torque. The engine will rev to 11,100 rpm, which should sound righteous. Only 150 standard Valkyrie models will be built, and the hardcore, track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro is limited to just 25 cars.