The Aston Martin Valkyrie could be head to the 24 Hours of Le Mans if the FIA were to change the LMP1 rules to allow for production-based cars to compete.
In a recent interview with Autocar, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said the automaker wouldn’t be interested in racing in the FIA WEC’s LMP1-H class as prototype racecars have very little in common with road legal cars. The automaker’s stance would change, however, if the FIA were to loosen the regulations or change them to allow for modified, production-based vehicles like the Valkyrie to compete as prototypes.
“They were debating the future of LMP1 and asked me for my view,” Palmer told Autocar. “My personal perspective is very clear: Aston Martin will never compete in a prototype category because it has no relevance to us. “But if they allowed racing derivatives of road cars, that would be very interesting to us and, I suspect, the fans.”
“Road-derived race cars fighting for the win is in keeping with the history of sportscar and Le Mans racing, and the prospect of the likes of Valkyrie fighting against McLaren P1, LaFerrari and more would be interesting to more than just me, I suspect.”
Palmer fanned the flames some more when asked if the Valkyrie would compete at Le Mans if the rules were changed, suggesting fans “watch this space,” in coming years.
The sanctioning body for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the France-based ACO, recently told Motorsport.com that they are looking at changing the look of LMP1 prototypes to more closely resemble road-going vehicles. Such a rule change would allow for the vehicles to be reminiscent of the hardcore GTP racecars from the 1990s and 2000s such as the Mercedes-Benz CLR.
“At the moment an LMP1 is a kind of generic prototype and you have to paint it to put your mark on it,” said Pascal Vasselon, the technical director for Toyota – a company that currently competes in the LMP1-H class.
“The idea could be to go towards bodywork that is clearly closer to real cars — it could interest manufacturers who at the moment who are not interested in a generic LMP.”
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