Last summer, Aston Martin took all of us by surprise when they unveiled an out-of-this-world supercar prototype. It was even more surprising to learn that the automaker intended the car to be street-legal. Well, Aston Martin has now unveiled an almost production-ready model. In addition, the automaker has given the model a befitting name, the ‘Valkyrie’. The 2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie is made in partnership with Red Bull; actually, Red Bull’s racing team is in charge of the design hence the model’s extreme aerodynamics.
2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie Exterior
The design of the Valkyrie is similar to what we saw last year when the automaker showcased the AM-RB 001 prototype but with a number of improvements. The design, however, looks different from the current supercar designs. The design comes with extreme aerodynamics that will embarrass many race cars. To start with, the Valkyrie dons Venturi tunnels on either side of the floor of its ‘teardrop-shaped’ cockpit; a first for a production car. The tunnels draw large quantities of air providing the model with a huge down-force.
To further reduce drag, the side mirrors have been replaced with rear-facing slim cameras. The openings between front wheel arches and the cockpit have been revised to provide greater down-force at the front. To save weight, the headlight clusters are very light (around 40% lighter than lightest units on the current Aston Martin models). The Aston Martin badge on the snout has also been revised in a bid to save more weight; the automaker has used a chemical engrave aluminum badge instead of the regular enamel badge. With a thickness of only 70 microns, the new badge is 99.4% thinner than the outgoing unit and to put it into perspective, this thickness is 30% thinner than your own hair. This shows the extent Aston Martin has gone into to make the vehicle as exclusive as possible because normally a badge is not very heavy to warrant extreme weight saving measures.
At the rear, the model does not have conventional taillights; what it has is a slim stop light mounted on the center of the upper part of the rear fascia. Actually, the light is mounted on the shark fin on the car’s airbox. The light is only 9.5 mm high and 5.5 mm wide.
The cabin is race-inspired. To save as much weight as possible, the large chunk of the cabin is made of carbon-fiber. The dash is very clean and does not have a single switch or button. The clean layout is only interrupted by a gold-trimmed display and door latches. The center console is very narrow and has just two buttons. With this clean look, I expected to see a clean steering wheel but Aston Martin has hooked up the wheel with a number of buttons and paddles. However, compared to other motorsport-spec steering wheels’ the Valkyrie’s is much cleaner. The wheel is wrapped in a black Alcantara trim. At the center part of the steering wheel, designers decided to mount a large display for information on oil and water temperature, battery, fuel, speed, rpm and gears among others. The unit can be detached for safety purposes as well as to enhance access and exiting by the driver; this is particularly important for track-focused models with the addition of a roll cage.
As said earlier, most part of the cabin is made up of carbon fiber including the dash, door panels, steering wheel column, the floor and the seats. The seats are actually mounted on the tub to optimize cabin space. The mounting means the driver and passenger will sit in a position similar to that of Le Mans prototypes and Formula One cars (reclined with feet up). This seating position actually enhances their safety and provides better support, particularly when racing on the tracks. The seats come with a 4-point harness as standard but one can opt for the 6-point harness.
Designers crafted the glasshouse to offer a great forward and side-to-side vision; a design also borrowed from Le Mans prototypes. Remember the cameras that have replaced side mirrors, well, they each send images to display screens mounted on the A-pillars on either side of the dash. The displays mimic conventional mirrors but bring the view closer to the driver,
Engine and performance
Aston Martin has confirmed the supercar will use a naturally aspirated, high-revving V-12; however, Aston Martin has not yet released official information about the Valkyrie’s drive-train output figures. The automaker further revealed that the engine has a potential to realize a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, a rare feat. The Koenigsegg One is one of the few models to have achieved this rare feat. The V-12 which will be mid-mounted will have a displacement of 6.5 liters. The V-12 combines with a KERS hybrid setup. The V-12 is expected to contribute around 1,000 hp to the setup while the hybrid system adds around 130 hp meaning the drive-train will end up producing around 1,130 horses. Power will be channeled to the rear wheels via a race-spec transmission system yet to be confirmed; this transmission system is being developed by the Red Bull team.
The V-12 which will be mid-mounted will have a displacement of 6.5 liters. The V-12 combines with a KERS hybrid setup. The V-12 is expected to contribute around 1,000 hp to the setup while the hybrid system adds around 130 hp meaning the drive-train will end up producing around 1,130 horses. Power will be channeled to the rear wheels via a race-spec transmission system yet to be confirmed; this transmission system is being developed by the Red Bull team.
Price and release date
It’s too early for Aston Martin to announce the Valkyrie’s prices considering the model is still in its development stage. Production will be limited to a minimum of 99 and a maximum of 150 units inclusive of prototypes as well as 25 track-specific models. As for the Valkyrie’s price, we can only speculate; I believe an MSRP of around $2.5 million is a good guess. Deliveries will start in 2018, probably in the second half of the year.