Understandably, the introduction of a 'hypercar' class for the World Endurance Championship from September 2020 has met with some enthusiasm. Replacing the current LMP1 class, the hypercars will see the return of production-derived sportscars racing at the highest level; if it can capture the imagination like the GT1 class did in the late 1990s, the FIA will have a very popular series on its hands.
Today Aston Martin has ramped up the hypercar excitement, with confirmation of two works Valkyries for the inaugural season. The cars will compete in the entire super season from September 2020, including the 2021 Le Mans - marking a century since an Aston first competed at La Sarthe.
The manufacturer makes no bones about its intentions for victory in the race - and the world championship - citing the many years that have passed since the McLaren F1 claimed a win for a "British-built derivative of a road car". The Valkyrie will race with a motorsport prepared version of its 11,000rpm, 6.5-litre V12 - imagine the noise that'll make - as well as carrying over the chassis and aerodynamic innovations of the road car. With part of the aim for the hypercar class to reduce costs somewhat over P1 (all things being relative), the Valkyrie for Le Mans and the rest of the WEC calendar should closely resemble the road car.
For those enthused by the prospect of a pair of 1,000hp, V12 Aston Martins racing at Le Mans, you're certainly not alone. Andy Palmer said of the news: "The Aston Martin Valkyrie is primed for such a challenge and sits perfectly within the ACO's new 'hypercar' rule framework. Bringing to bear all of our previous experience and knowledge of competing at the top levels of motorsport, we embark on this most ambitious project with the necessary ingredients for success."
So while the Valkyrie will arrive a couple of years too late to mark 60 years of Aston's 24 Hours victory with another, suffice it to say there will be plenty willing it on when 2021 comes. We look forward to seeing the rest of the field in due course...