Currently reading: Aston Martin confirms 2025 Le Mans entry with Valkyrie racer
Aston Martin returns to top class of world endurance racing with last-ever pure-combustion V12 hypercar

Aston Martin will enter the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2025 with six Valkyrie racers taking on Toyota, Peugeot and Ferrari in the Hypercar class.

The firm announced plans to race in the top class with its 12-cylinder hypercar at La Sarthe in 2019, but these plans were later put on ice and it was only in 2022 that chairman Lawrence Stroll suggested it had become a possibility again. 

Aston martin valkyrie le mans front three quarter

Stroll told Autocar: “I’m a racer myself. I have been all my life. Racing is in my blood, which is why I’m here. We should be racing in whichever category aligns with the message we are trying to deliver for Aston Martin.”

The programme has now been officially revived, and in a ceremony at Aston’s Silverstone racing headquarters, Stroll said: “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.”

Aston’s contender is based on the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro – originally developed with Le Mans in mind – and will be the first hypercar to compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA Sportscar Championship in the US.

Aston martin valkyrie rear three quarter

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The firm remained tight-lipped on who will be piloting the racers, however, and said a selection process will begin next week. The driver line-up will not include the firm's current Formula 1 drivers.

Testing will begin next year, before the car starts its racing career in January 2025.

Being based on the AMR Pro, it will not feature the road car's hybrid propulsion drivetrain, and it will have a total power output capped at 670bhp, in line with LMh balance of performance regulations.

Being run in partnership with US-based sports car squad Heart of Racing, which currently competes in the GT class of sports car racing, the Valkyrie will compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours, Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, making Aston Martin the only manufacturer competing at all levels of sports car and GT racing, as well as Formula 1.

The development of the racing Valkyrie will be informed by the brand's "complex knowledge base" that it has built up in its involvement in Formula 1, which, Stroll says, will eventually trickle down to its road cars.

The prototype, currently undergoing testing at Silverstone, will use an endurance-optimised and detuned version of the 6.5-litre, naturally aspirated, 11,500rpm Cosworth V12 fitted to the road-going Valkyrie.

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It is underpinned by a chassis made entirely from carbonfibre and will be the first car on the endurance grid to be based on an existing production car - the Valkyrie. 

Aston Martin Performance Technologies engineering director Adam Carter said: “Valkyrie takes us back into the top tier of sports car 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."

The endurance-bred Valkyrie will be made lighter than the 1500kg AMR Pro, with a significant emphasis put on making it as aerodynamic as possible while managing the amount of downforce it produces. 

When asked about the future of the Valkyrie's Cosworth-developed V12, Carter said: "You can never say never but, at the moment, there is nothing else on the horizon." The engine was developed specifically for the Le Mans Valkyrie and is not found in any of Aston's road cars. According to Carter, this gives the team a competitive edge.

He added that the development of the hypercar will be a strong influence on the firm's electric vehicles programme as it moves away from combustion cars, particularly with reference to keeping weight down and long-term durability up.

Notably, he said one of the main reasons the firm takes part in motorsport, particularly endurance racing, is to create a "synergy" between being a luxury brand and one with racing pedigree.

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Aston has also announced plans to develop racers for the GT3 and GT4 classes based on the heavily updated Vantage, due in 2024, which it says "will conform to all existing and new GT rule sets, including the new-for-2024 LMGT3 regulations". The GT3 car will use the same 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 as the current Vantage. However, the GT4 car will use an evolution of that engine, which will power the upcoming Vantage.

Both cars are currently in development, with customers able to take deliveries from the start of 2024.

When asked for clues as to the output of the new V8, the firm said: "Look at what the DBX 707 is to the DBX", suggesting it will be an evolutionary step up in power, rather than a total reworking.

This will replace the current Vantage GTE, which was introduced in 2018 and has since claimed three class victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Aston Martin has a long and prestigious history at Le Mans, yet despite a number of class wins in the GT category, it can boast only a single overall success: when Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby steered a DBR1 to victory in 1959.

Jonathan Bryce

Jonathan Bryce
Title: Editorial Apprentice

Jonathan is an editorial assitant working with Autocar. He has held this position since March 2024, having previously studied at the University of Glasgow before moving to London to become an editorial apprentice and pursue a career in motoring journalism. 

His role at work involves writing news stories, travelling to launch events and interviewing some of the industry's most influential executives, rewriting used car reviews and used car advice articles, updating and uploading articles for the Autocar website and making sure they are optimised for search engines, and regularly appearing on Autocar's social media channels including Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

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gagaga 13 September 2023

Oh, the noise.  This against endless rows of turbo V6s.

Symanski 11 February 2022

Aston should be in Le Mans, and not paying a fee to Stroll to put their name on Stroll's F1 team.

 

Aston doesn't own an F1 team, Stroll and his friends do.

 

scrap 13 September 2023

There was a plan to race at Le Mans, before Stroll cancelled it and is now making a big splash about reviving it. Must be exhausting working for this planet-sized ego.