The Aston Martin Valkyrie could drive at the famous La Sarthe circuit
Aston Martin could fight for outright Le Mans victories again, if the regulations are rewritten to allow race-modified versions of hypercars such as the Valkyrie to compete at the top level of the sport, CEO Andy Palmer has confirmed.
Speaking to Autocar at the launch of the new Vantage road and race cars, Palmer said he had been consulted by motor racing’s governing body, the FIA, on future regulations for sportscar racing.
The sport is currently in a state of flux because Toyota is the only works team confirmed to compete at the top LMP1 level following the withdrawal of Porsche, Audi and Nissan in recent years. “They were debating the future of LMP1 and asked me for my view,” said Palmer. “My personal perspective is very clear: Aston Martin will never compete in a prototype category because it has no relevance to us. “But if they allowed racing derivatives of road cars, that would be very interesting to us and, I suspect, the fans.
“Road-derived race cars fighting for the win is in keeping with the history of sportscar and Le Mans racing, and the prospect of the likes of Valkyrie fighting against McLaren P1, LaFerrari and more would be interesting to more than just me, I suspect.” Asked directly if Aston Martin would compete with the Valkyrie if the rules were changed, Palmer said: “Watch this space.”
The Valkyrie is the result of a collaboration between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing, with the technical design led by renowned Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey. The partners have already confirmed that they will develop a race version with less weight and more power than the road car for a launch in 2020, although it is thought that a sportscar racing version would have to be more extreme again.
The Valkyrie AMR track model, of which just 25 will be made, costs more than £3 million – around £1m more than the standard road Valkyrie – with all cars already sold out. Aston Martin famously won Le Mans outright in 1959, when Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori took victory in the Aston Martin DBR1.