Aston Martin ‘Re-Evaluating’ Valkyrie Hypercar Race Program
Aston Martin has officially postponed its entry into the World Endurance Championship (WEC) with its eagerly anticipated hypercar, the Valkyrie, a decision, however, that does not seem to affect development of the road car following a recent test session at Silverstone.
The Valkyrie is a collaboration between Aston and Red Bull Racing, with the concept debuting at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. It’s the most powerful car the British company has ever made, with a Cosworth 6.5-litre V12 and a KERS-style hybrid system that combine to make 1,160hp. Only 150 road cars and 25 track-only cars will be built, with the first expected later this year. And even at more than $3 million apiece, they’re all spoken for.
The company had also planned to race the Valkyrie in the new Hypercar class in the WEC in 2020, but according to Andy Palmer, Aston Martin president and group CEO, recent rule changes in the sport – where the Hypercar class will be harmonized with the LMDh prototype category – are behind the company backing out.
“We entered Aston Martin Valkyrie in WEC and at Le Mans with the understanding that we would be competing with similar machinery and like-minded manufacturers,” he said in a statement. “The situation has changed and it makes sense for us to pause and reconsider our options.’
It’s really not a surprise that Aston Martin is pulling out of the WEC, given that Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll and partners recently bought a 16 per cent interest in the company for $239 million. Stroll has announced his Formula 1 team, Racing Point, will be rebranded as Aston Martin F1 for the 2021 season, with his son, Lance, remaining as one of the drivers. The huge investment it would take for endurance racing would do well in the coffers of his F1 team instead.
Despite the motorsport setback, the Valkyrie customer cars are still being tested at Silverstone in the UK by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and Alex Albon, among other drivers. In total, eight prototypes are undergoing tests before the final editions are built.
*Images courtesy of Aston Martin