► Aston Martin returns to Le Mans for 2025
► Will use Valkyrie hypercar
► Will race in WEC and IMSA
Aston Martin will return to Le Mans in 2025, and it’s going to use a prototype version of its Valkyrie hypercar to do it. When it hits the track, it’ll be the first hypercar with a road car counterpart to compete within the current rules. Everyone else, from Toyota to Porsche, doesn’t have a road going version of the car they use for racing.
‘We have been present at Le Mans since the earliest days, and through those glorious endeavours we succeeded in winning Le Mans in 1959 and our class 19 times over the past 95 years,’ said Lawrence Stroll, Executive Chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda. ‘Now we return to the scene of those first triumphs aiming to write new history with a racing prototype inspired by the fastest production car Aston Martin has ever built.’
‘In addition to our presence in the FIA F1 World Championship, Aston Martin’s return to the pinnacle of endurance racing will allow us to build a deeper connection with our customers and community, many of whom found their passion for the brand through our past success at Le Mans. And of course, the complex knowledge-base we are building through our F1® team is data that Aston Martin Performance Technologies can harness to further enhance the capabilities of the Valkyrie racecar at Le Mans, in WEC and IMSA.’
Hasn’t this happened already?
If this sounds familiar it’s because Aston Martin was originally tipped to join the WEC championship in 2020-2021, before financial issues forced the company to withdraw. Now, though, with solid financial support Lawrence Stroll, Aston Martin will compete in both the WEC championship as well as the IMSA championship. This means that the prototype Valkyrie will race in Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Like many other hypercar programs, Aston Martin’s Valkyrie entry will be a joint project between the Gaydon company and its racing partner Heart of Racing (HoR).
How will it work?
The Valkyrie AMR Pro was originally designed to meet the new LMH hypercar regulations, and now Aston Martin Performance Technologies will begin to turn that product into something that fits within the aero and power performance window allowed by the rules. Homologation will occur before it’s able to compete in the WEC and IMSA series in 2025.
In its current state, the car exceeds the Balance of Performance envelope, and the next two years will see Aston’s engineers pairing back the AMR Pro’s capabilities: ‘It is actually quite a task to detune to every performance and into the legislative performance.’ said Adam Carter, head of endurance motorsport at Aston Martin.
‘And that’s also great opportunity in terms of still you come down to the downfalls but how many sensitivities and so as all those opportunities come there. And so rather than just turning the dial, it’s about if we turn this dial down what else can we turn up elsewhere to get the most performance.’
Aero performance will be challenging to reduce, particularly as the road car is almost exclusively designed for aerodynamic efficiency – it’s an Adrian Newey-penned car after all.
The racing Valkyrie will use a carbonfibre chassis like the road car, and gets to keep its high-revving, Cosworth-built 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 – but here it’ll be detuned to withstand the rigours of sustained racing. To that end, Cosworth will be an integral partner in the project.
No more hybrid
Despite Le Mans’ most recent rule set push hybrid technology in some form, the track-going Valkyrie we’ll see in 2025 won’t have a battery-electric hybrid system like the road car.
‘Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Aston Martin in endurance racing,’ Adam Carter, Aston Martin Head of Endurance Motorsport, said: ‘Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Aston Martin in endurance racing. As a manufacturer, Aston Martin has a consistent record of success at world championship level and, through the efforts of the Heart of Racing, also now in IMSA.’
‘Valkyrie takes us back into the top tier of sportscar racing and, together with our partners we are absolutely confident that we can deliver a race car with the potential and the performance capabilities to fight alongside the benchmark machinery in the class.’
Green is the new red
Aston Martin also announced a GT3 and GT3 program too, setting it up to be the only manufacturer to compete in every level of endurance racing available in 2025. As we heard back at the 2023 Silverstone GP, Aston Martin is setting itself up to be the British version of Ferrari, and it’s using motorsport to do it. From endurance racing to F1, Gaydon and Silverstone are set to become even more of a motorsport force in the next few years.
What’s more, WEC also appears the place to be – just as F1 was just before the onset of its Drive To Survive-powered surge in popularity: ‘As a sport as a business is on fire,’ said Stroll. ‘Formula One teams have appreciated in value significantly over the last few years due to the popularity of the sport due to cost caps.’
With an influx of factory teams, it’s very possible endurance racing will soon enjoy a similar spotlight – and just as with Formula One – Aston Martin will be primed to rake in the increased awareness and profits.