The Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar's hybrid powertrain develops 1,160bhp and 900Nm of torque and we've seen it in action
Aston Martin has unleashed the Valkyrie hypercar on track at the 2019 British Grand Prix. Test driver Chris Goodwin put the Aston Martin Valkyrie through its paces in front of the Silverstone crowds and the assembled media with the firm announcing that it would now enter an intensive process of testing on the car.
The car’s dynamic debut follows on from the release of a full specification for the Valkyrie, confirming its total power figure of 1,160bhp and 900Nm of torque. The hypercar makes use of a battery-hybrid system, similar to the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) used on F1 cars.
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The hybrid system was developed in tandem with Integral Powertrain Ltd and Rimac, who supplied the electric motor and battery packs respectively. The electric motor is mounted in the Valkyrie’s gearbox, adding 160bhp and 280Nm of torque.
Without the hybrid system, Aston Martin’s 6.5-litre, naturally aspirated V12 produces 1,000bhp at 10,500rpm, 740Nm of torque at 7,000rpm, and will red-line at 11,100rpm. It was developed with Cosworth and Red Bull Racing, using expertise gained from their F1 exploits.
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To increase the engine’s reliability, most of its interior components (camshafts, crankshaft, pistons and so on) are milled from solid material. Also, its conrods are Titanium, to help keep weight to a minimum. The result is an engine which tips the scales at 206kg.
Interestingly, the V12 is used to hold the rear of the Valkyrie together; it’s a structural component of the car’s chassis, which supports the rear wheels and suspension. Its removal cuts the Valkyrie in half, erasing the physical connection between the front and rear wheels.
Only 150 road-going examples of the Valkyrie will be built, and all of them have already been snapped up, priced between £2-3 million. Customer deliveries are expected to take place in late 2019. The road-legal Valkyries will then be joined in 2020 by a limited run of 25 track-only AMR Pro models.
The Valkyrie has low and uncompromising bodywork, and is designed to be as close as possible to a road-going Formula 1 car. As such, the car’s design is dominated by the laws of aerodynamics. Two huge “Venturi Tunnels” run either side of the cockpit, skirting around the engine. Along with two vents in the Valkyrie’s front splitter, Aston Martin say they provide “considerable gains” in downforce.
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The body is lightweight, being built mainly from carbon fibre, and will have a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. The suspension is completely new set-up designed to be both usable on the road and to cope with the amount of downforce the body will generate which, in AMR Pro models, will be as much as 1,000kg.
Aston’s Director of Exterior Design, Miles Nurnberger, said at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show 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 Valkyrie’s interior is a symphony of minimalism, with naked carbon fibre cladding most of the visible surfaces and a dash which only features a couple of buttons and a central touchscreen. The removable steering wheel appears to have been lifted straight from a Le Mans car, with a series of buttons and toggle switches in place of conventional stalks to operate the major controls and drive functions.
The seats are mounted directly to the carbon-fibre tub, with Aston expecting drivers to adopt a “reclined ‘feet up’ position reminiscent of today’s Formula One and Le Mans Prototype race cars”. A four-point harness will be fitted as standard, but an optional six-point system can be specified if buyers intend to spend a lot of time on the track.
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A screen on the wheel acts as the instrument binnacle, while two screens attached to cameras on each side of the car replace the usual door mirrors. Rear visibility is likely to poor, however, as the space normally occupied by the rear screen is claimed by a large engine intake.
Michelin will provide the Valkyrie’s tyres. Aston have confirmed that its hypercar will run on the French company’s Pilot Sport Cup 2 compound, sized at 265/30 ZR20 for 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.
Along with such prestigious marks as Cosworth and Red Bull Racing, Alcon and Surface Transforms will provide the Valkyrie with a lightweight, powerful braking system. The German technology manufacturer, Bosch, will also supply the hypercar’s Traction Control System, Electronic Stability Programme and Engine Control Unit.
The gearbox is a new design, developed by Newey and the Red Bull racing team, specifically for the Valkyrie. 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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