Aston Martin has confirmed that its Valkyrie hypercar for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s new prototype regulations will be non-hybrid powered.
The British manufacturer’s sporting president David King told reporters at Silverstone on Sunday that the race version of the 6.5-liter, V12 hybrid Valkyrie road car will not feature an electric hybrid system.
King explained how the need to detune the Valkyrie’s extremely powerful 1160 hp engine led Aston Martin to adopt a non-hybrid strategy for the WEC hypercar class, which launches in 12 months’ time.
Powertrains in the new category, which is replacing LMP1, will have a total output of around 750 hp.
“It’s a question that answers itself fairly easily by the choice of engine of the Valkyrie,” he said.
“A combination of the electric and internal combustion engine power has to add up to a certain amount and we’ve got a massive V12 engine that we’re going to detune to make it suitable for racing.
“The road car does have some hybrid elements to it. The race car won’t.”
It’s understood that Aston Martin’s desire for a non-hybrid powertrain was instrumental in the change to the regulations made in June to allow non-hybrids into the new formula.
King suggested that a hybridized powertrain was identified as an unsuitable option for the Valkyrie race car early in the preliminary development phase.
“You wouldn’t have an engine of that size and weight, and then add the hybrid elements and electric drive elements,” he said.
“We wouldn’t put a smaller engine in it so that we could have a hybrid either. That’s why the whole four-wheel-drive/two-wheel-drive equivalence debate was so important leading up to the finalization of the regulations.
“It had to be the case that we could have the chance with a two-wheel-drive car when it’s wet, otherwise it would become a lottery.
“You’d be gambling about whether or not Le Mans would be dry in two years’ time, to decide what your powertrain layout is.”
Aston’s confirmation of a non-hybrid system in its hypercar challenger means the two OEM manufacturers to have committed for the first season in 2020-21 will compete with different powertrain configurations.
Toyota’s GR Super Sport hypercar will be hybrid-powered, although details of the system have yet to be revealed by the Japanese manufacturer.
Aston Hypercar “Still in Early Stages” of Development
King also gave an update on the Valkyrie race car’s development progress, two months on from its announcement at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The road variant appeared in public for the first time at the British Grand Prix in July, where it completed a series of demonstration laps, while further models are set to appear in the coming weeks and months.
“It’s due to debut here [at Silverstone] next year and we announced it two months ago, so we’re still in the early stages,” said King.
“It’s in simulation and design at the moment, and then we’ll start building cars to test. That needs to happen early next year, in order to go through the BoP process and be ready to race.
“I can’t give an exact timing right now. It was a pretty ambitious thing to say in June that we’re going to be ready for the start of the new season because the regs were in gestation for a long time.
“We’ve put ourselves under a big timing pressure saying that we want to be there for the start of the new regs. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
King downplayed the possible negative impact of Aston Martin Lagonda’s recent financial concerns on the hypercar program, specifically the dramatic fall of its share price since being floated on the London Stock Exchange last October.
“During our time in racing since 2005, we’ve had various headwinds to the business,” he said.
“We’ve always remained true to our commitment to racing in sports cars. We’ve been through various global banking crises in 2008.
“That hit us all hard, but we stayed with it. We carried on racing. Having some headwinds in our business at the moment doesn’t alter our commitment to racing at all.”