Aston Martin Valkyrie: new hypercar heard for the first time

Aston boss Andy Palmer shares a clip of Valkyrie's Cosworth V12 in full song

The long, drawn-out tease of the new Aston Martin Valkyrie has taken another step, with Aston boss Andy Palmer sharing an audio clip of the new hypercar’s Cosworth-developed V12 in full song. The clip was released to coincide with Aston Martin’s launch on the London Stock Exchange.

The 20-second clip features the car’s naturally aspirated V12 in full revs and tearing through the gears, with Palmer calling it “The sound of “THE” GREAT British car company!” on Twitter. He also thanked collaborators Cosworth and the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, with which it has a partnership. The engine has a V12 wail reminiscent of a naturally aspirated F1 car, which is appropriate, because the objective of the Valkyrie is for it to be able to lap circuits as quiclky as an F1 car.

The sound of “THE” GREAT British car company! Thank you @Cosworth @redbullracing #AstonMartinValkyrie #NaturallyAspirated#V12

— Andy Palmer (@AndyatAston) October 3, 2018

Reports claim that the Valkyrie will have in excess of 1,000bhp when it hits the road, with the V12 engine boosted by an F1-style Energy Recovery System (ERS) co-developed with Red Bull Racing. In addition, the Valkyrie is likely to be helped through development by Red Bull’s drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

Red Bull F1 drivers could test hypercar

Red Bull F1 drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen may be in line to develop the forthcoming Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar, which will begin testing this autumn.

Simulator work is already well underway, but Aston expects the first chassis to be ready by the end of August, with the first real-world runs expected to have taken place by October.

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The brand is keen to get feedback from the F1 pair, believing they’ll be best placed to push the test car to its limit. While firm performance specs remain unclear, Aston is targeting speeds that would see the Valkyrie match a top ten Formula 1 car in qualifying trim.

“If it works out I’d love to do the testing,” said Ricciardo, who is among the buyers to have snapped up all 150 road legal Valkyries slated for production. “All I know is I’m definitely keen to be one of the first ones to try it.”

Testing will commence with the road-going Valkyrie at first, before attention is turned to the track-only AMR Pro model. This is likely to take place at Silverstone, where Aston Martin has recently launched a new test centre. The deal gives the manufacturer exclusive use of a private track at the Northamptonshire circuit, as well as limited access to other track layouts.

For Ricciardo and Verstappen to take part, the logistics would have to work alongside their F1 commitments. The 2018 calendar features two potential windows between the Singapore and Russian grands prix in September, and the Japanese and US races in October.

However, if a suitable arrangement cannot be made, Aston is at least keen for the Red Bull teammates to be the first to drive the Valkyrie in public, possibly before the end of 2018.

With a year-long programme to get through, the first customer deliveries won’t take place until the latter stages of 2019.

Aston Martin Valkyrie interior revealed

Almost twelve months have passed since we last had new information on the Aston Martin Valkyrie, with a batch of images giving us our first look at hypercar’s interior in July 2017.

The pictures showed more of the Valkyrie’s low and uncompromising bodywork, designed to be as close as possible to a road-going Formula 1 car. Aston’s engineers, in conjunction with partner Red Bull’s Advanced Technologies department, have been working hard to improve the car’s styling and aerodynamics ever since the Valkyrie was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show last year. 

While features such as the huge ‘Venturi tunnels’ that run either side of the cockpit remain, detail changes include new openings in the body surface between the cockpit and front wheelarches. These are said to provide “considerable gains” in downforce.

Aston’s Director of Exterior Design, Miles Nurnberger, said at the time that the Valkyrie’s exterior is now “95 per cent of the way there” as Red Bull’s Adrian Newey continues to find ways to improve downforce and aero even further.

The team has also pushed the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s interior packaging to its limits to offer as much space as possible without compromising the exterior. The seats are mounted directly to the carbon tub, while Aston says occupants will have to adopt a “reclined ‘feet up’ position reminiscent of today’s Formula One and Le Mans Prototype race cars”.

A four-point harness is standard fit, while an optional six-point harness can be specified if a lot of track use is the order of the day. Interior Creative Director Matt Hill says “you really do have to sit in it to believe there is genuine space for two large adults”.

The cockpit and dash design take race car minimalism to the extreme, with exposed carbon-fibre surrounding most surfaces, only a couple of buttons on the centre console and a central touchscreen. The removable steering wheel appears to have been lifted straight out of a Le Mans car, with a number of buttons and toggle switches instead of stalks to operate major controls and the various drive modes. 

A screen on the wheel acts as the instruments, while two screens attached to cameras at each side of the car replace the usual door mirrors. Thanks to the roof-mounted air intake there is no rear window, though.

Aston Martin Valkyrie: V12 Cosworth engine

The Valkyrie will be powered by a bespoke Cosworth-built 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine. The unit will also be paired with a ‘lightweight hybrid battery system’ expected to take the shape of a KERS boost system similar to that on current Formula One cars. 

The 6.5-litre V12 engine, which will feature in all 150 road-going versions of the Valkyrie, will be paired with a seven-speed paddle-shift gearbox designed and manufactured by Ricardo. All models, however, have all been sold at an estimated £2million each.

The project has been headed up by two of the biggest names in car design – Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s chief creative officer, and Adrian Newey, Red Bull Racing’s chief technical officer. Aston is targeting a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. We expect the Valkyrie to weigh around 900kg, which means a power figure of 900bhp is on the cards. 

Like the McLaren P1, two versions of the Valkyrie are expected to be offered – a road car and a track-only model. It’s expected that the track-only model will be capable of exceeding 200mph, with a 0-62mph time of just over two seconds.

Valkyrie to use Michelin tyre technology

Meanwhile, Michelin will be the tyre technology partner for the Valkyrie hypercar project.

The French brand, which has experience in motorsport disciplines as diverse as Formula One, the World Rally Championship and Moto GP, will work with Aston and Red Bull Advanced Technologies to ensure that the Valkyrie’s tyres are able to cope with the extreme levels of downforce and performance that the car is expected to produce.

Aston has confirmed that the Valkyrie will run on Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 rubber – 265/30 ZR20 at the front and 325/30 ZR21 at the rear. The tyres will be wrapped around magnesium alloy wheels that feature race-spec centre lock nuts in a bid to reduce unsprung mass. 

Aston Martin Valkyrie technology partnerships

Aston has also teamed up with Alcon and Surface Transforms who will develop a new lightweight and powerful braking system for the hypercar. Bosch will supply the British manufacturer with electronic systems such as the Traction Control Unit, Electronic Stability Programme and Engine Control Unit.   

Thanks to input from experts in F1 alongside celebrated designer Newey, the Valkyrie’s bodywork is focused on producing huge amounts of downforce at high speed, helping to keep it pinned to the tarmac.

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Similarly, the suspension is a completely new set-up that’s designed to cope with the aero system as well as being usable on the road. The gearbox is a new design as well, developed by Newey and his team specifically for this car. Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer says: “This is a no-excuses halo car – the most luxurious car in its class, but also the quickest and the fastest. This car will be able to lap the Silverstone circuit as quick as or quicker than an F1 or LMP1 car.”

Newey admitted that he’s wanted to build a road car for a long time; he told us that it’s an ambition he’s had since the tender age of six. “The opportunity to develop and realise those ideas with Marek and the team from Aston Martin is tremendously exciting,” he said. “It allows us to translate the technology we have developed in F1 into a new arena.”

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