Aston Martin has confirmed it will enter the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2020-21.
Announced on Friday at Le Mans, Aston Martin becomes the first official manufacturer to commit to the FIA and ACO’s newly modified set of top-class regulations, although Toyota’s confirmation is expected this afternoon.
The Adrian Newey-designed hypercar, featuring a 6.5-liter Cosworth-tuned V12 engine, is capable of producing 1160 hp but will have to be detuned to fit the WEC’s regulations.
As revealed by Sportscar365, the British manufacturer is expected to partner with Multimatic for development of the road-based Valkyrie, although confirmation is yet to be made.
Aston Martin Racing president David King refused to comment on operating partners, with further details expected to come later in the year.
It’s understood that Multimatic and R-Motorsport are the two lead contenders for running the race programs.
Aston Martin is pursuing customer entries as well as factory cars, with customer teams potentially running cars in the first season.
“It would be surprising if there weren’t [customers],” King told assembled media at Le Mans.
“Maybe not in year one, but it would be surprising if there weren’t top-level customer teams looking to compete with these cars.
“We said very clearly that this starts off as a factory program. It will be a multi-year factory program with at least two, hopefully more, factory cars.”
Aston Martin was one of six manufacturers in the FIA and ACO’s technical working group that helped shape the next-gen regulations, which were revised twice since their initial announcement one year ago at Le Mans.
A draft set of regulations for the initial prototype-based hypercar formula was released in December, while a provision allowing road-going hypercars were added in March and the optional use of hybrid powertrains.
Aston Martin had been one of the advocates for a production-based formula.
King Praises Hybrid Deployment Thresholds
King praised the ACO’s decision to implement hybrid deployment thresholds, preventing the use of hybrid systems below 120 km/h in dry conditions and a yet-to-be-defined speed of between 140-160 km/h in wet conditions.
This prevents hybrid (four-wheel-drive) cars from gaining as much of an advantage over non-hybrid two-wheel-drive designs at slower speeds.
It’s still unknown whether Aston Martin will elect for a hybrid or non-hybrid setup, with King declining comment when asked whether the decision has already been made internally, although Sportscar365 understands a non-hybrid design is most likely.
“That’s the bit that needed to be put in place to make sure that anybody coming with a non-4WD car wouldn’t just get left behind,” King said.
“If there was a wet Le Mans, and the four-wheel-drives had an advantage, you’d be making a massive gamble if you came with a two-wheel-drive car.
“Various manufacturers have various different positions on that based on what powertrains they want to run and the solution is a good one. You have to give credit to the FIA and ACO technical guys.
“There would of course be some secondary benefits of running a hybrid or four-wheel-drive system in terms of balancing tire wear and, on the other hand, that comes with additional complexity and reliability.”
John Dagys contributed to this report.