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Aston Martin rules out Alonso, Stroll involvement in Valkyrie Hypercar assault

Aston Martin and the Heart of Racing team have ruled out involving the British manufacturer’s Formula 1 drivers in the new Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercar programme.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin F1 Team

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Instead, they intend to focus on recruiting the line-up for the team’s campaigns with the Valkyrie LMH in the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA SportsCar Championship starting in 2025 from their existing roster of drivers.

That means drivers contracted to Heart of Racing for its campaigns in the two GT Daytona classes in IMSA and GTE Am in WEC, along with the six-strong GT roster on the books of Aston Martin Racing.

Aston Martin head of endurance motorsport Adam Carter replied “they’ve got day jobs” when asked about the possible involvement of either Fernando Alonso, a two-time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota, or Lance Stroll in the Valkyrie programme announced on Wednesday.

“We have a good stable within the AMR camp, as in the group within the GT programme,” he said.

“They will be utilised for the initial testing and if they show the correct credentials then they will be given an opportunity to prove themselves.”

Heart of Racing team principal Ian James reiterated Carter’s stance, pointing out that Ferrari and Porsche have successfully promoted drivers from their GT programmes to race their respective LMH and LMDh prototypes.

“We have seen in the Ferrari and Porsche programmes where they have really embraced their GT drivers and it has been very successful for them,” James told Autosport.

“We will look to choose our line-up from the current crop of Heart of Racing and AMR drivers initially, and then we will supplement that as we need to.”

Aston Martin Valkyrie

Aston Martin Valkyrie

Photo by: Aston Martin

Asked about the possibility of 42-year-old Alonso, who is currently contracted to Aston Martin until the end of 2024, racing a Valkyrie after the conclusion of his F1 career, James replied: “No door is closed.

“But from a Heart of Racing view there is not an ambition to have a big name; I don’t think it is crucial to the success of the programme.”

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AMR’s GT pool includes two-time WEC GTE Pro champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.

Sorensen is part of Heart of Racing’s GTD line-up in IMSA this year aboard an Aston Martin Vantage GT3, while Thiim made a one-off appearance with the team at the 2020 Daytona 24 Hours.

Both Thiim and Sorensen have gained prototype experience in LMP2 in recent seasons: Thiim drove in the 2021 Asian Le Mans Series and Sorensen at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the same year.

Ross Gunn is a full-season member of the team’s GTD Pro line-up.

The other members of the factory roster at present are Jonny Adam, Charlie Eastwood and Valentin Haase-Clot.

Heart of Racing regular Alex Riberas is the team’s other full-season driver in the GTD Pro entry and is also racing its Vantage GTE in WEC.

Testing on the Valkyrie programme is initially is likely to focus on running with a variant of the AMR Pro track-day Valkyrie, out of which the LMH is being developed, before a more definitive car comes on stream.

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