While Nürburgring fatigue is not yet a recognized medical condition, we reckon it’s only a matter of time before the first case is diagnosed and presented to a conference of eminent physicians. The auto industry’s endless fascination with the 12.9-mile Nordschleife at Germany’s most famous racetrack continues to produce some increasingly unlikely records, from quickest SUV to Jaguar’s claim late last year to have set the best time for a sedan with “production intent” with the XE SV Project 8. Other achievements defy cynicism. Porsche’s recent demolition of the all-time course record in the derestricted 919 Hybrid Evo was one such endeavor, and some rivals are clearly seeing it as a thrown gauntlet.
One is Red Bull Racing, with team boss Christian Horner saying he thinks that the Aston Martin Valkyrie, which Red Bull is developing with the luxury-car maker, would be in with an excellent chance of going even quicker than the Porsche’s 5:19.55 time.
“It is fantastic what Porsche have done with the Nordschleife record, and it would certainly be fun to have a go at it, I think, with the track version of the Valkyrie,” Horner told journalists at last weekend’s British Grand Prix. “It’s early days yet, but it’s something that has whetted everybody’s appetite.”
Although that might sound a bit like a vague aspiration, there is little doubt that the finished Valkyrie will be fast enough to have an excellent chance of setting a record-beating time. Earlier this year, Red Bull’s Adrian Newey, the project’s engineering leader and the man who designed the cars that won no fewer than 10 Formula One Constructors’ Championships, told us that the track-spec Valkyrie will be able to generate up to 3.0 g in lateral grip and will have performance equivalent to that of a top-spec race car.
Horner says that Red Bull and Aston are also considering the possibility of entering the upcoming GT1-style series that is likely to replace LMP1 at the top of the World Endurance Championship, and which will potentially give road-based hypercars the chance to compete against one another.
“I think it would be fantastic to see the Valkyrie racing at Le Mans against the Project One from Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari’s hypercar, and maybe Lamborghini,” he said. “It would be great to see these hypercars that are coming forward competing against each other.”
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Here’s to that. Horner also confirmed that Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo will be buying a Valkyrie, as will several other F1 drivers. “He’s not the only driver from the current or the past,” Horner said. “Formula 1 drivers are notoriously tight, especially when it comes to paying for cars, and there are quite a few former and existing drivers who have signed up.”
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