Media reports have paired the Aston Martin Valkyrie with a potential entry in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2019, 2021 and 2022. We're doing it again thanks to a report in Autosport. The outlet alleges that Florida-based race team Heart of Racing is trying to expand its relationship with the English carmaker to include a Valkyrie in the Hypercar-class of the World Endurance Championship. Heart of Racing runs eight cars in five series in 2023, seven of those cars being Aston Martins. Aston Martin co-owner Lawrence Stroll has regularly mentioned his interest in racing, saying last year that the automaker would eventually find its way back to Le Mans "in whichever category aligns with the message we are trying to deliver."
All the automaker would say to Autosport in response to this latest report is, "We are encouraged by the growth of the Hypercar class, and the hugely successful centenary Le Mans 24 Hours was a shining example of this ... Motorsport is an ever changing landscape, so of course as a global hypercar brand we continue to play close attention to the class." That class, by the way, currently counts entries from Ferrari, Peugeot and Toyota.
Aston Martin had been working on a Valkyrie LMH racer with Canada's Multimatic before Stroll's consortium took over, but the arrival of IMSA's budget-capped LMDh class killed the Valkyrie LMH program. The intelligence gained during development went into the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro. If the LMH program gets revived, changes to the automaker's racing division in the meantime could get development quickly reestablished. Aston Martin is finishing its racing headquarters in Silverstone, England. Those facilities now include the Aston Martin Performance Technologies (AMPT) division, set up with the cost savings realized when Formula 1 introduced its budget cap. AMPT will work with the Aston Martin production car division on coming mid-engined products. Meanwhile, AMPT could resume collaboration with Multimatic on a new Valkyrie LMH. It's said that AMPT brought on ex-Williams F1 engineering director Adam Carter earlier this year to oversee the initiative, and suppliers are already being queried.
Heart of Racing team principal Ian James told Motorsport.com, "Our ambition to ascend to the pinnacle of international sportscar racing is no secret. But currently, no formal agreement is in place." The outfit was set up in 2020 to run Aston Martin GT cars in IMSA and is backed by Gabe Newell, co-founder and CEO of gaming company Valve Corp. Last year, the team topped the standings in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship's GTD class, this year it's in second place with two races remaining. Its WEC entry is the #98 in the GTE AM class, but that's a car the Heart of Racing team took over from Northwest AMR in April of this year.
An endurance racer would keep the 6.5-liter Cosworth V12 in every Valkyrie but shed the hybrid component driving the rear axle in the Valkyrie road car. If this all comes true, don't expect it to join the rolling start at La Sarthe until 2025, when it would certainly try to emulate Ferrari and win on its return after a lengthy hiatus. It's also possible the car comes to race Stateside.
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