The top class of the World Endurance Championship, which has gotten rather lonely and sad over the years, will be a little less bleak for the 2020/2021 season. That’s because it’ll include a hardcore race version of the Aston Martin Valkyrie, also known as that supercar you don’t even dream of affording because it will never happen.
Of course, “hardcore race version” is slightly misleading. The $3.2-million road version of this thing, which was built alongside racing programs, makes a rated 1,160 brake horsepower at 10,500 rpm—you know, to get up to highway speeds. The race version we can expect will be de-tuned, but that’s getting ahead of things.
Aston Martin announced Friday that it’s heading back the big race in 2021, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and also running the full 2020 through 2021 WEC season as the start of a multi-year program. The addition of the Valkyrie is thanks to WEC’s new rules for its top class, which, starting with the 2020 through 2021 season, will open it up to more than just the prototypes we see right now.
The rules, which Motorsport.com has more on here, basically allow hypercars into the top WEC class that we currently know as Le Mans Prototype 1. The new “Hypercar” category is for vehicles derived from road-going “hypercars”—a bad, ambiguous term meaning a supercar that is extra super—and will give companies freedom of body and underbody design.
It’ll also give the top class more competition, since it’s been kind of jumbled and desolate up there since Porsche and Audi left. From Motorsport.com:
The highlights of the technical details include a revised weight, lowered slightly to 1100kg and a changed power output of 750bhp in order for the LMP1 replacement category to reach 3m30s laps in race trim at Le Mans.
The hybrid systems will not be mandatory, but those who choose to head down this route must not exceed 270bhp, with a GTE-based BoP system set to be applied in-season to keep the hybrid and non-hybrid machines close in performance.
There are also containment measures on the hybrid power front to help peg back the advantage of a four-wheel drive system compared to the two-wheel drive entries.
With the new rules, Aston said it will enter “at least two” works Valkyries in WEC that season, going for both the overall Le Mans win and the title.