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