Excitement surrounds Adrian Newey-designed supercar with WEC plans reignited

Thomas Maher
Aston Martin's Valkyrie, as owned by Max Verstappen.

Aston Martin's Valkyrie, as owned by Max Verstappen.

An Adrian Newey-penned car could be set to take on Le Mans soon, as Aston Martin’s Valkyrie has been linked with a WEC programme.

The 1,139 horsepower hybrid sports car created as a collaborative effort by Aston Martin and Red Bull could make an appearance in the World Endurance Championship in the not-too-distant future, according to Daily Sportscar.

A report in the well-respected publication suggests that a private, but fully-funded, engine programme focusing on the Aston Martin Valkyrie could enter the series’ Hypercar class, perhaps as soon as 2025. For this to happen, the 6.5 litre V12 developed by Cosworth, the most powerful naturally aspirated engine to be fitted to a production car, will need detuning – the Hypercar rules set at 670bhp.

Aston Martin finally set for WEC entry?

Having announced a WEC programme for the 2020/21 championship, Aston Martin pulled the plug on the venture just seven months ahead of the first race as a result of Lawrence Stroll’s decision to bring Aston Martin back into F1 – this having a direct impact on the funding of the WEC programme.

The Valkyrie, which continued to be developed and built as a road car and later offered in track-spec as the AMR Pro, could now revitalise Aston Martin’s representation in the top level of sportscar racing.

Daily Sportscar’s report confirms that the funding for the Valkyrie programme comes with “not insignificant” motorsport credibility and that the intention is there for a two-car effort in the WEC, as well as entry in the IMSA Weathertech SportsCar Championship.

The report also states it’s not yet clear whether the intention is for the Valkyrie to be run directly by Aston Martin as a factory effort. If it’s a private venture, Aston Martin will still have to approve use of their brand in order to meet the Hypercar regulations.

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Having been put together as a joint effort between Aston Martin (pre-Lawrence Stroll buy-out) and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, Adrian Newey served as a lead designer for the machine that was conceived by himself, Christian Horner, and Aston’s Andy Palmer and Simon Spoule.

The machine itself allowed Newey to reacquaint himself with ground effect ahead of the F1 regulation change to make use of the aerodynamic philosophy in 2021. Having written his college thesis on ground effect, the Valkyrie boasted an underfloor that utilises the Venturi effect to produce 1,1814 kilogrammes of downforce at top speed.

Further aerodynamic tricks, such as well-placed gaps and a large front splitter, also contribute to its efficient downforce.

Despite its DNA coming from racing cars, and with the AMR Pro estimated at being able to match the speed of an LMP1 Toyota, the Valkyrie is yet to be used for any sort of high-end racing programme. Should it race at Le Mans, it will be the first Newey-penned machine to tackle the race.

Indeed, it could be Newey who becomes a Triple Crown winner ahead of any driver, as the designer has been responsible for winning cars at the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500 – meaning Le Mans is the last of the Triple Crown races to elude him.

“The Hypercar regulations are very interesting and look as if they’re going to combine with the LMDH to bring a new era of intense competition in the top class,” Newey said of the Hypercar regulations, following Aston Martin’s original decision to axe the programme.

“Already we have Toyota, Peugeot, Ferrari and Glickenhaus in the Hypercar category. And then Porsche, Audi and some of the American manufacturers in LMdh. So, it really offers a new boost.

“After several years of Toyota monopoly it’s something for the fans to really look forward to. Certainly, from my own point of view, I’d love to be involved in a Hypercar. We were hoping to do one in collaboration with Aston Martin by taking the Valkyrie but unfortunately, that didn’t happen in the end.

“But who knows, maybe at some point in the future, we’ll get another opportunity to look at Hypercar.”

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