Valkyrie: the 'ultimate supercar' nears production
Seldom has there been a more drawn-out teaser campaign than for Aston Martin's new Valkyrie, formerly identified by its codename AM-RB 001.
After being announced 18 months ago as a collaboration between the British automaker and Red Bull Advanced Technologies, details about the British hypercar have trickled out like chocolate treats at a health spa. But the 150 people who will be fortunate enough to own what is hyped to be the world's ultimate road-legal sportscar are assured that what they see here is more or less what they'll get when deliveries start in 2019.
Aston Martin's Creative Director of Exterior Design, Miles Nurnberger, says the F1-inspired exterior is 95 percent ready. The two companies have been working on maximising aerodynamics while maintaining a desirable shape, and the carbon-fibre car showcases aerodynamic technology considered too radical for restrictive F1 rules.
Red Bull Racing aerodynamicist Adrian Newey shaped the underbody to draw as much air as possible over the carbon fibre diffuser through twin venturi tunnels. This ensures extraordinary levels of downforce while keeping the upper body free from additional aerodynamic devices that would spoil the purity of the styling.
With its estimated body weight of just over 1000kg and a reputed 1 800 kg of downforce, the Valkyrie could theoretically drive upside-down through a tunnel - a god-like feat to go with its god-inspired name. Valkyrie is named after the 'choosers of the slain' in Norse Mythology: female figures who flew over the battlefield deciding who should live and who should die.
They've also adopted an obsessive approach to weight saving. The headlights, for instance, are 30 to 40 percent lighter than the clusters of any production Aston Martin on sale today, while the wing badge is made of a chemical-etched aluminum only 70 microns thick, making it 30 percent thinner than a human hair and 99.4 percent lighter than a regular badge.
The obsessive weight saving continues inside, where Aston Martin's traditionally luxurious setup makes way for sporty minimalism. The seats are mounted directly to the carbon tub, and four-point harnesses are standard. All switchgear is located on the steering wheel - a la Formula One - with all the vital signs shown on a single OLED display screen. The steering wheel is also detachable, both to aid ingress and egress and to serve as an additional security device.
Traditional door mirrors are replaced by rear-facing cameras that feed two displays positioned at the base of each A-post. Since there's no rear window, there's no need for a rearview mirror.
The Aston Martin Valkyrie will be limited to just 150 road-going cars and 25 for track purposes. The track versions, it is said, will match the performance of an LMP1 Le Mans race car, but even in road-legal form the Valkyrie's feet-up driving position is reminiscent of modern Le Mans and F1 racers.
The power output of the hybrid system - which pairs a normally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 Cosworth engine with an electric motor - will reputedly be more than 750kW, but we'll have to wait for a future instalment in the Valkyrie's extended teaser campaign for the final number. Watch this space.