Red Bull to Le Mans? “Valkyrie project could be base”
Red Bull could take Aston Martin Valkyrie to the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 2020: Other WEC races are not very attractive for Helmut Marko
By the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018 in June of this year, the framework data of the regulations 2020 should have been established. The ACO wants to present the schedule during this year’s race, so that interested manufacturers and teams have enough time to prepare for the time after the previous LMP1. Everything amounts to a modern form of GTP rules and regulations. The new top class will offer powerful drives (including Hybrid?) under a super sports car siloutte.
Toyota has already delivered a corresponding foretaste in Tokyo in January. The “GR Super Sport Concept” study represents exactly what is currently the big topic at the negotiating tables of ACO and FIA: a vehicle with a “brand face”, plus state-of-the-art drive technology – in the case of Toyota, that of the LMP1 TS050 car. Many brands could jump on the modern GTP train – examples for cars: AMG Project One, LaFerrari, Ferrari FXX, McLaren Senna GTR or Porsche 918.
Red Bull Technology designed the Valkyrie together with Aston Martin. Among others, Formula 1 star technician Adrian Newey played a leading role in the design of the British hypercar. The Aston Martin Valkyrie could be the Le Mans future of the British luxury brand – and at the same time the entry ticket for Red Bull into the long-distance scene with the appropriate regulations:”If there are sensible regulations that allow you to drive a car like this around the overall victory, that is certainly something we could consider,” confirms Red Bull Motorsport Helmut Marko in conversation with’Motorsport-Total.com’.
Valkyrie as Le Mans weapon? The idea has many friends
“This is a topic for Red Bull Technology, one of our three companies alongside Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Advanced Technology. Away from the racing team, this super-successful Valkyrie project was born. The car is sold out, and there are now other variants,” says Marko. Spectacular graphics by an Aston Martin Valkyrie in Le Mans design have been circulating for weeks. Factory pilot Nicki Thiim also clearly expressed his desire for such a project via Twitter.
“Yes, our Valkyrie project could perhaps be a basis for a Le Mans mission,” confirms Marko with clear words. However, the emphasis is on Le Mans. The Austrian doesn’t want to know much about the WEC races in Spa, Silverstone, Fuji, Shanghai or Sebring:”They take place in camera”, Marko exaggerates the problems of the WEC. One does not necessarily have to use the WEC races to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Red Bull: First Formula 1, then Le Mans
“As long as the regulations do not become cheaper and only the technology is in the foreground with the engine completely exaggerated, such a thing is not relevant for us”, says the Red-Dull motorsport boss. In the current LMP1 category, this problem is “even greater than in Formula 1”. As a result, Audi, Porsche and Nissan have bid farewell to Le Mans in the face of far too high costs and a lack of public interest. Only Toyota is still in the scene.
“We’re going to wait and see what happens in Formula One. And there is still nothing concrete, but in the form and with this engine constellation and this cost level Formula 1 is generally to be questioned. It is already known how many teams are on the financial brink. Something has to happen,” Marko appeals once again to the rulekeepers of the top class. The makers of the ACO should also take this hint to heart.
So far, Helmut Marko has not had any concrete talks with WEC boss Gerard Neveu. First the Formula 1 construction site, then a closer look at the Le Mans scene – that’s the priority list at Red Bull. Corresponding new rules for the Le Mans top class are also supported by private individuals such as ByKolles or Oreca. Small sports car makers such as Koenigsegg, Apollo, Pagani, Rimac or Zenvo would also have vehicles for such a commitment on offer.