Automotive

F1 drivers test Aston Martin's Valkyrie, but Le Mans might be off

F1 drivers test Aston Martin's...
Formula One drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon got their first taste of the unfinished Aston Martin Valkyrie at Silverstone
Formula One drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon got their first taste of the unfinished Aston Martin Valkyrie at Silverstone
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A modified version of the Valkyrie was set to race in the new Le Mans Hypercar
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A modified version of the Valkyrie was set to race in the new Le Mans Hypercar class this year
A single Valkyrie is an extremely rare sight, let alone three of them
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A single Valkyrie is an extremely rare sight, let alone three of them
Rumors are spreading that Aston Martin plans to pull out of the Le Mans Hypercar class
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Rumors are spreading that Aston Martin plans to pull out of the Le Mans Hypercar class
The Valkyrie's extreme underbody aerodynamics
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The Valkyrie's extreme underbody aerodynamics
All done up in Red Bull livery, the Valkyrie did a few lukewarm laps at Silverstone
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All done up in Red Bull livery, the Valkyrie did a few lukewarm laps at Silverstone
Formula One drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon got their first taste of the unfinished Aston Martin Valkyrie at Silverstone
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Formula One drivers Max Verstappen and Alex Albon got their first taste of the unfinished Aston Martin Valkyrie at Silverstone
View gallery - 6 images

Max Verstappen and Alex Albon from the Aston Martin Red Bull Formula One team joined Aston Martin high-performance test driver Chris Goodwin to take the upcoming Valkyrie hybrid hypercar out for some test laps at Silverstone, as rumors began to spread that the company is preparing to pull out of Le Mans in 2021.

Three Valkyries on track at once is a rare treat indeed for fans of this alien hypercar from the future. And while it looked like these F1 guns were taking it pretty easy in their prototype testers, both seemed to enjoy the experience.

"Of course it’s still in the development phase," said Verstappen, "but you can already feel the pace, which compared to a normal car is … pretty different! The Aston Martin Valkyrie and its levels of downforce are incredible, and it looks super aggressive. It was a lot of fun out there."

Albon, for his part, praised the car's looks, but cautiously added, "it’s light; it feels sharp. Sure, compared to an F1 car, you’re missing the outright downforce, but you still feel the Gs in the corners and it definitely reacts closer to an F1 car than a normal road car. It’s pretty special." You can see both interviews in the video at the bottom of the page.

The Valkyrie's extreme underbody aerodynamics
The Valkyrie's extreme underbody aerodynamics

As a PR stunt, it's nice to see Aston putting some of the world's greatest drivers behind the wheel of its most ambitious street car ever. But the timing might prove awkward, as Racer.com is reporting that, contrary to what the factory announced last year, we won't get to see the Valkyrie raced in anger at Le Mans later this year.

According to Racer's Marshall Pruitt, the withdrawal is a serious blow to the hypercar racing class, as Toyota is the only other major manufacturer that still says it's fielding a car to race. The FIA's move to race hypercars together with its new LMDh class (prototype racecars developed out of the LMP2 class) seems to have played a part as well; manufacturers such as Peugeot and Mazda seem to be more interested in making an LMDh car that can race the endurance event at Daytona as well as Le Mans.

So, that beautiful dream – of seeing a bevy of the world's most extreme exotics dropping their pants and getting the rulers out to see whose cars are fast and whose are just pretty – appears to be on the rocks. We await confirmation or denial from the Aston team, but if it's true, we're sorry we might never see what the Valkyrie and its ilk are truly capable of. Because it's certainly capable of a lot more than what the F1 guys were allowed to do in the video below.

F1 drivers test the Aston Martin Valkyrie at Silverstone

Source: Aston Martin

View gallery - 6 images
1 comment
buzzclick
Such radical and beautiful machines. Aston Martin's best yet. The steering wheel seems too close to the driver. This is the first time I've seen an overview of Silverstone, and it's larger than I expected. As long as Le Mans and other tracks of this stature are around, the car companies who thrive on the edge of racing technology will be there.