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Aston Martin Valkyrie – A New Era of Hypercars is Almost Here

Greg Kachadurian July 12, 2017 The News! 10 Comments

You know that one friend of yours who would always have these crazy ideas that you didn’t think they’d ever be able to follow through with? And then one day you find out they were actually being serious? That’s basically what Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing are in the process of doing right now.

What started as the AM-RB 001 and a concept sketch last year has evolved has into nearly complete car that’s every bit as insane as promised. Aston Martin has been pretty open about the development process and they’ve just given us the best look yet at a car that’s about to rewrite the rule book. In this update, a mostly complete interior is shown for the first time and a 95% complete exterior gets detailed.

Normally when concepts get closer to production as the Valkyrie is they get less exciting and more “mainstream”, but the exact opposite is true here. And yes, this is a real production-bound car that’ll be street legal.

Even though the overall essence of the Valkyrie’s exterior has remained constant, this is the biggest update we’ve seen yet and it shows just how far they’re willing to go to create something worthy of hypercar status. Aston Martin is taking full advantage of their innovation partnership with Red Bull Racing for this one by essentially giving Adrian Newey and his team the freedom to adjust any surface that would extract additional downforce.

As a result, the gorgeous form that makes up the Valkyrie has gotten chopped in a few areas and extended in others, all in the name of speed. Form truly follows function.

That philosophy starts with the cockpit which is somehow allowed to exist in the envelope of space between the two full length Venturi tunnels. Those tunnels do much of the heavy lifting and negate the need for any additional aerodynamic devices that would spoil the purity of the styling.

One side effect of this however is an unusually cramped cabin space which forced interior designers to be creative. To save room, the seats are mounted directly to the tub with occupants in a reclined “feet up” position as modern Formula 1 and Le Mans Prototype drivers are. If they sat any other way, nobody would fit. So far though, owners are pleasantly surprised at how much room there is once inside. Aston Martin promises two large adults can fit inside easily.

It comes with a four-point harness as standard equipment but an optional six-point harness is available for those planning on not being a pansy and taking it on a track.

Further reducing clutter is a detachable steering wheel with a single OLED screen showing all vital signs and holding all the normal switchgear. Traditional side mirrors are replaced by rear-facing cameras shown on small display screens at the base of each A-pillar and there’s no rearview mirror (or window) thanks to the roof-mounted air intake.

But back to the bodywork, Adrian Newey inspired the updates on this latest model, the most effective of which are new openings between the cockpit and front wheel arches. The easiest way to see what they’re talking about is to look at the AM-RB 001 model they revealed last year and compare it to this latest design. Doing that will actually reveal quite a few little things that have been updated for the sole purpose of enhanced aerodynamic efficiency and downforce.

Areas that appear to have been updated, but not really detailed in the press release, include the slightly reworked and elongated nose and splitter, a cleaner side strake/intake design around the cockpit, a massive new rear diffuser at the trailing edge of the Venturi tunnels, a redesigned and bigger rear spoiler, and new low drag wheels.

Other neat details they did talk about show the lengths they’re willing to go to save a few pounds. The headlights are stripped to the bare essentials with low and high beam elements attached to an intricate exposed anodised aluminium frame. Not only does it look cool, it’s also 30-40% lighter than the lightest production series headlights on a production Aston Martin.

They took a similar approach to the Aston Martin “wings” badge on the nose because a normal badge was too heavy. They came up with a chemical-etched aluminum badge just 70 microns thick – 30% thinner than a human hair and 99.4% lighter than the standard badge. The could’ve just used a sticker to accomplish the same thing, but that’s not the Aston Martin way.

If that wasn’t obsessive enough, the center high mounted stop light is about as small and light as possible. Mounted on the tip of the shark fin running down the spine of the airbox, the light is just 5.5mm wide and 9.5mm high. It’s illuminated by a bright red LED, it’s the smallest CHMSL in the world – any smaller and the rule books may take issue with it.

If this design is 95% complete, it’s hard to imagine what the next 5% will look like. What could be an LMP1 car in another reality is a street-legal car that the world’s elite will be able to drive to dinner if they’re cool enough. Aston Martin hasn’t confirmed any powertrain details yet, but engine specs aren’t needed to understand how otherworldly this thing will be. In my lifetime, I’m not sure if I’ve seen a bigger jump in engineering than what this Valkyrie will surely represent. Much like the McLaren F1 or the Bugatti Veyron, this is a car we’re going to keep talking about for a long, long time.

[Source: Aston Martin]

  • outback_ute

    Interesting to see it get more real. I had a question about whether this is something that is a ‘proper Aston Martin’?, but then they did the sports-racer thing back in the 1950s and this is sort of a similar thing. It can’t hurt to do more than ‘just’ the ‘mainstream’ supercars as everyone else does. Each company needs more to define their identity.

  • crank_case

    I think it’s shaping up to be more F1 than Veyron, which is a good thing.

    • JayP

      Veyron was a sledge hammer.
      Valkyrie is a rapier.

  • “001” – so there are planning for at least 99 more models, sweet.

    • Well, if the next one is 010 we’ll have good reason to conclude it’s in binary.

      • I worked for a company that developed Analog to Digital Converters, documentation. The analog folks always talked about channels 1 and 2,whereas the digital people were all about channels 0 and 1.
        My suggestion of channels 0 and 2 never made it through.

        Let’s see if they are going for FFF versions!

        • Both are gone now, but our university used to have two buildings next to my department’s home (Johnson Hall) known officially as Johnson Annex A and Johnson Annex 2. There were no others.

          • Despite the looks, I am not an alumni.