The Heart of Racing announced Wednesday (Oct. 4) that they will partner with Aston Martin to enter into the top-flite of sports car racing. The team will field entries starting in 2025 in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTP class and the FIA World Endurance Championship’s Hypercar class.
“It’s a privilege to be able to bring Aston Martin back to the top of endurance racing with the Heart of Racing,” team principal Ian James stated. “Our team has grown exponentially since we began racing with those famous wings at Daytona in 2020. We understand and are aligned with the ethos of the brand, and have developed our own systems and technologies to extract the maximum performance of the cars we compete with.”
“This HOR team has big ambitions in endurance racing and this is absolutely the right time for us to step into the top classes of WEC and IMSA and challenge for overall honors,” James continued. “This is not an easy target, but between our partners and the support of Aston Martin Performance Technologies, it is one we have all the tools and capabilities in place to hit the bullseye with.”
The car of choice for The Heart of Racing will be a racing version of the Aston Martin Valkyrie, the company’s limited production supercar. In 2019, the Valkyrie, along with Toyota’s GR010 Hybrid, were the first Hypercars revealed when the WEC’s Hypercar class was revealed and was originally confirmed to debut in the 2020-21 WEC season. At the time, the Hypercar class was envisioned to be run with production-based cars. That has since changed.
The Valkyrie will have a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine that is based on the engine in the road-going Valkyrie. That engine, along with the hybrid system, will produce roughly 1000 horsepower combined.
When the Valkyrie debuts in the WEC in 2025, it will be the first time that Aston Martin will have a car in the top level of prototype racing since the Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 and the failed AMR-One in 2011.
However, shortly after the LMDh formula was revealed at Daytona in 2020, Aston Martin chose to pause the program. The move was prescient as the WEC delayed the introduction of Hypercars to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the time, Lawrence Stroll had just led a group that acquired a 16.7% stake in Aston Martin. Two years earlier, Stroll had purchased the Force India team out of bankruptcy and rebranded it as Racing Point Force India.
With Stroll having the rights to use the Aston Martin name, he rebranded Racing Point as Aston Martin starting in 2021. At the time, the indication was that Aston Martin needed to focus on their Formula 1 interests.
This announcement means that come 2025, the Valkyrie would be the first car designed to the Hypercar regulations to compete in IMSA’s GTP class. The Hypercar and LMDh regulations were created separately, but the hope all along was that the LMDh and Hypercars would be able to race against each other in both IMSA and the WEC.
To this point, that has not happened in IMSA. In the WEC, we are in the middle of the first year that LMDh cars have raced against the Hypercars. While the LMDh Porsches and Cadillacs have been competitive at times against the Toyota, Peugeot, Ferrari and Glickenhaus Hypercars, no LMDh car has won a race this year. The best finishes for LMDh cars this year have been three separate third-place finishes. Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor had third-place finishes at Portimao and Fuji. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook had a third-place finish at Le Mans.
Until the 2025 season comes along, 2024 will likely look fairly similar to this year. In the press release, the team indicated that “…The Heart of Racing plans to return to both IMSA and WEC for its regular seasons while it develops the hypercar program with Aston Martin Racing.”
That would mean that the team would continue their GTD and GTD Pro programs in WeatherTech. It would also mean that The Heart of Racing would run an Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in the WEC’s new LMGT3 class, which will replace GTE-Am next year. It is unclear whether the team will continue with their SRO America program beyond this year.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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