Aston Martin made the (almost) surprising decision to put their World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Le Mans 24 Hours entrant on hold. Gaydon says this decision stemmed from proposed rule changes to the championship, however it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine the company’s current business situation to be the potential cause.
What this means is the world might not get the opportunity to see an Aston Martin Valkyrie take on the rest of the haloed WEC Hyperclass in the near future. “Aston Martin’s ambition to compete for the overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains undiminished, but it is only right that we reassess our position in light of a significant change in the landscape that was not anticipated when we committed last year. 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. The situation has changed and it makes sense for us to pause and reconsider our options” said Aston Martin Group CEO, Andy Palmer.
This move makes sense when you consider Aston Martin’s financial woes and how it was bailed out by a consortium of investors led by Lawrence Stroll not too long ago. Stroll’s new stake in the team means his Racing Point Formula One team will become an Aston Martin works team from 2021. In addition to this development, Aston will still be competing in a lower tier of racing at the helm of its Vantage GTE. Sadly, this leaves almost no room in the budget for them to compete in the WEC Hyperclass with the Valkyrie in 2021. Good news is that they’ve a homologated car that’s almost ready.
Speaking of the Valkyrie, earlier this week, Aston Martin borrowed a couple of drivers from the Red Bull Racing Formula One team. Max Verstappen and Alex Albon got their first taste of the Valkyrie at the world-famous home of British motorsports – Silverstone.
“Of course it’s still in the development phase but you can already feel the pace, which compared to a normal car is… pretty different! The Aston Martin Valkyrie and its levels of downforce are incredible, and it looks super aggressive. It was a lot of fun out there” said Verstappen after being let loose in the Hypercar.
The naturally-aspirated V12-powered Hypercar puts out a claimed 845kW of power. This figure is the total system output, when combined with the KERS-style electric system. The Cosworth-built engine – which revs to 10,500 rpm – develops 747kW at 7,000 rpm, while the electric motor produces 119kW and 280Nm all on its own.
In a previous report, Aston said that they would be building 175 road-going versions and 25 race cars. The company also says customer deliveries of the Valkyrie will begin in the second half of 2020.