How the Radical Aston Martin Valkyrie Blew Up the Boundaries of Automotive Engineering

Shirley Beal
How the Radical Aston Martin Valkyrie Blew Up the Boundaries of Automotive Engineering
Imagine a car that can easily keep up with a Formula One racer, more beautiful than a sculpture and more special than even the rarest of diamonds. That car is called the Aston Martin Valkyrie, a hypercar that, for all intents and purposes, was conceived to defy the limits of engineering, design, and performance and show the world what the English manufacturer is really capable of.

Born from the dream of creating the ultimate road-legal track car, the Valkyrie results from an outstanding collaboration between Aston Martin, Red Bull Racing Advanced Technologies, and several other world-class partners. Only 150 examples of this masterpiece will ever be made, making it a rare and coveted treasure for the lucky few who can afford it.

A bit of history

Aston Martin Valkyrie with AMR Track performance pack

Photo: Aston Martin

In enthusiasts’ eyes, Aston Martin is more than just a car company. It is a symbol of British excellence and elegance. The company was born in 1913 when two friends, Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford, decided to fabricate their own cars. Inspired by Martin’sMartin’s success in racing at Aston Hill, near Aston Clinton, they named their company Aston Martin.

Although it faced many challenges over its more than a century-old existence, the brand never deviated from its ultimate goal of making beautiful, fast cars. Even more, Aston Martin became a legend in motorsport, especially in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it won its first race in 1959 with the beautiful DBR1, driven by Carroll Shelby and Roy Salvadori.

Not least, the company also gained cinematic fame, being portrayed as the carmaker of the famous international spy James Bond, who loved to drive many Aston Martin models in his movies. It all started with the iconic DB5 in Goldfinger, an exquisite machine featuring unheard-of gadgets such as an ejector seat, machine guns, and even a bulletproof shield.

Setting the hypercar stage, Aston Martin has created some of the world’s most unique and influential cars, such as the One-77, the Vulcan, the DBS, and, of course, the latest masterpiece, Valkyrie and its track-only counterpart, the AMR Pro. These projects never cease to amaze the public, showcasing the company’s engineering skills, design vision, and performance passion, admired by car enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.

Inspired by the Gods

Aston Martin Valkyrie at Geneva

Photo: Aston Martin

The Valkyrie is more than a car. It is the ultimate expression of Aston Martin as a brand. With a name inspired by the female warriors in Norse Mythology, it is the outcome of a daring vision to create a vehicle that would shatter all the limits of performance, technology, and design and revolutionize the hypercar segment. The adventure started in 2015 when Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing teamed up to work on a new car, codenamed AM-RB 001.

Two brilliant minds led the project: Adrian Newey, the engineering wizard behind Red Bull Racing’s success, and Miles Nurnberger, one of the genius minds behind Aston Martin’s stunning designs, with the Valkyrie being his last project before departing the British brand to take up similar roles at other car companies. It took about four years – too long by the customers’ standards – from concept to production, and involved several other partners, such as Cosworth, Rimac, Ricardo, Multimatic, and Michelin.

The Valkyrie’s exterior design is a masterpiece of form and function, unmistakably shaped by the demands of aerodynamics and downforce. The car features an open underfloor that channels air through large Venturi tunnels, creating a massive suction that pins the vehicle to the ground.

Aston Martin Valkyrie on public highway

Photo: Aston Martin

The bodywork is entirely carbon fiber and carries Aston Martin’s signature upper grille outline before flowing into a radical and futuristic silhouette. The car also boasts some exquisite and innovative details, such as the headlights, the smallest and lightest ever fitted to an Aston Martin, the wing mirrors replaced by rear-facing cameras, and the exhaust, which exits from the top of the engine cover.

What impresses the most about Valkyrie’s aerodynamics is not the looks that etch any beholder’s brain but also the unrivaled adaptability to the road or track surface. In this regard, the car features a sophisticated, active aero system, which can adjust the angle and position of the front and rear wings and underfloor flaps, thus catering the downforce and drag coefficient to any driving scenario.

Even more, the Valkyrie also features a Drag Reduction System on the rear wing, also known in Formula One as DRS, which helps boost the top speed and acceleration for limited periods.

Exceptional engineering and performance

Aston Martin Valkyrie at Geneva

Photo: Aston Martin

The Valkyrie’s power comes from a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 engine combined with an electric motor and a 1.8kWh Rimac-derived battery pack. The masters at Cosworth developed the 65-degree V12 engine, which produces around 1,000 hp at 10,500 rpm and 546 lb-ft (740 Nm) of torque at 7,000 rpm. On the other hand, the hybrid system has been developed alongside Rimac and Integral Powertrain. It adds another 160 hp and 207 lb-ft (280 Nm) of torque to the mix, bringing the total system output to 1,160 hp (865 kW or 1,176 ps) and 664 lb-ft (900 Nm) of torque.

The engine is mounted behind the cockpit and drives the rear wheels through a seven-speed Ricardo sequential transmission, which houses the permanent magnet synchronous electric motor. It can act as a generator to recharge the battery using a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) or provide an extra boost during flat-out accelerations.

The Valkyrie has a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque chassis that significantly reduces the car’s weight. Although initially achieving a proper 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, it has been slightly altered, in the meantime, due to several regulations and legislation requirements.

The car’s dry weight sits around the 2,800 lb (1,270 kg) mark, still giving it a power-to-weight ratio of over 850 hp per tonne when all fluids tanks are full. The complex aerodynamic package of the Valkyrie generates up to 2205 lbs (1,000 kg) of downforce at high speed, almost doubling the car’s weight when exploring the last quarter of the speedometer.

The AMR Pro

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

Photo: Aston Martin

The Valkyrie AMR Pro is the ultimate no-rules hypercar, a radical evolution of the Valkyrie that takes the concept of a road-legal hypercar car to the extreme in the form of a track-only beast of a machine. The AMR Pro is not bound by any racing regulations or road registration constraints, being solely conceived to deliver the ultimate performance and driving thrill on any circuit in the world.

The AMR Pro features a new longer wheelbase and wider track chassis, allowing for even more aerodynamic freedom and increased downforce. The car also has unique bodywork, incorporating a larger front splitter, a new rear wing, and a central fin that improves stability and reduces drag.

The AMR Pro also features a similar light and powerful 1,000-hp naturally aspirated V12. It redlines at 11,000 rpm and pushes this groundbreaking machine up to a top speed of over 249 mph (400 kph).

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro

Photo: Aston Martin

Dropping the battery-electric hybrid system and implementing numerous weight-saving strategies such as carbon fiber bodywork, carbon suspension wishbones, and Perspex windows for both the windshield and side panels combined with the additional track-focused aerodynamics, the Valkyrie AMR Pro even surpasses the regulations for Le Mans racing hypercars.

The AMR Pro easily laps the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit in 3 minutes and 20 seconds, a performance that threatens many LMP1 cars. A very rare and exclusive machine, only 40 units of the Aston Martin AMR Pro will be produced. First deliveries of the vehicle are expected by the end of this year.

Impressing journalists and racing drivers

Aston Martin Valkyrie public debut at Silverstone

Photo: Aston Martin

With the Aston Martin Valkyrie being one of the most anticipated and exclusive hypercars in the world, recently, the British brand invited several motoring journalists to test the car at the Bahrain International Circuit, the home of the Formula One Bahrain Grand Prix. For the selected few, the event was a rare opportunity to experience the car’s performance, design, and sound on a challenging and fast track.

Among the lucky reviewers invited on the track were Chris Harris from Top Gear and Collecting Cars, Matt Watson from Carwow, Henry Catchpole from Hagerty, Alex Hirschi, known as Supercar Blondie, or Jonny Lieberman from Motortrend. They all got to drive the Valkyrie for a few laps, attended by Aston Martin’s chief test drivers, Chris Goodwin and Darren Turner, who gave them tips and insights on the car’s features and capabilities.

The journalists were impressed by the Valkyrie’s power, handling, and aerodynamics, as well as its stunning looks and attention to detail. They praised the Valkyrie’s sound, which they described as loud, raw, and exhilarating. The car’s unique twelve-into-one exhaust system creates a distinctive and harmonious noise closely related to Formula One cars. They concluded that the Valkyrie is a remarkable and groundbreaking machine that pushes the boundaries of what a road-legal track car can do.

Already sold out and with a price tag hovering around $3 million, this dream machine is a statement of Aston Martin‘s engineering and automotive passion creating a piece of art on wheels that feels completely at home being driven to the limit on racing tracks all over the world or simply as an inspiring poster queen in enthusiasts’ bedroom walls.

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