The most innovative supercar yet?

One of Britain’s most iconic automakers, Aston Martin is mostly known for its exquisite grand tourer and fast race cars. While not the kind of automaker you’d go to in order to buy a supercar, Aston Martin made a small first step into this segment in 2009 with the bespoke One-77. In 2016, the Brits launched their second supercar, the Vulcan, but only as a track car. It was followed by a beefed-up AMR Pro version in 2017, but Aston Martin isn’t going to stop here. Following a partnership with Red Bull Racing, Aston Martin created the AM-RB 001, an innovative concept car that will go into production under the Valkyrie name.

Developed with input from Formula One genius Adrian Newey, the Valkyrie was designed with the most aggressive aerodynamics in mind and many of the techniques used in professional racing. Newey is also looking to achieve a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio, something only Koenigsegg obtained with the limited-edition One:1 supercars. Set to use a naturally aspirated V-12 engine to move about, the Valkyrie will be produced in both road-legal and race-only versions. Production of both will be very limited, so it’s safe to assume that it will be highly expensive.

Continue reading to learn more about the Aston Martin Valkyrie.

Official video

Exterior

2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie Exterior High Resolution
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2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie Exterior High Resolution
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Very similar to the prototype, the Valkyrie employs a radical design that has very little in common with modern supercars.

Very similar to the prototype, the Valkyrie employs a radical design that has very little in common with modern supercars. Apart from the prototype-inspired body shape, the Valkyrie is unlike other production cars, featuring innovative aerodynamics that seem more extreme than even those developed for full-fledged race cars.

While the teardrop-shaped cockpit is a rather familiar design, especially among prototype race cars, the massive Venturi tunnels that run either side of the cockpit floor have never been used before on a production car. Drawing huge quantities of air beneath the car to feed the rear diffuser, these tunnels enable the car to generate "extraordinary levels of downforce while keeping the upper body surfaces free from additional aerodynamic devices that would spoil the purity of the styling." Sounds pretty fancy, but we’ll have to wait for Aston Martin to back these claims with actual figures.

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The Valkyrie uses discreet rear-facing cameras instead of traditional side mirrors.

Much like the AM-RB 001 prototype, the Valkyrie uses discreet rear-facing cameras instead of traditional side mirrors, in order to avoid any "unwanted aerodynamic disturbance or stylistic clutter."

While all of the above are identical to the AM-RB 001, there are quite a few features that have been updated for the Valkyrie. One of the biggest changes are the openings in the body surface between the cockpit and front wheel arches, which brought considerable gains in front downforce. The headlamps are also lighter than usual, with Aston Martin claiming that they weigh 30 to 40 percent less than the lightest series production headlamps available on Aston Martin vehicles.

2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie Exterior High Resolution
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The small badge on the nose was also redesigned, mostly because it was considered too heavy.

The small badge on the nose was also redesigned, mostly because it was considered too heavy. Not wanting to use a simple sticker, the Aston Martin Design Team came up with a chemical etched aluminium badge just 70 microns thick. That’s 30 percent thinner than a human hair, and 99.4 percent lighter than the regular enamel badge. Granted, it sounds like a rather useless addition to a supercar, because let’s face it, a regular badge isn’t that heavy, but I guess it’s the kind of attention to detail you’d expect from an exclusive vehicle.

Around back, Aston Martin brags about having developed the smallest center high-mounted stop light. Specifically, the red light mounted on the tip of the small shark fin that runs down the spine of the car’s airbox is just 5.5 mm wide and 9.5 mm high. Why is this important? In the company’s own words, it’s evidence of how "every element of the Aston Martin Valkyrie is scrutinised in the pursuit of eliminating unnecessary weight and drag."

Interior

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Made almost entirely out of carbon-fiber, the cockpit has a rather spartan design.

The Valkyrie’s cockpit is obviously race-inspired, and as soon as you open the butterfly-type doors you enter a cabin that’s very similar to Le Mans prototypes. Made almost entirely out of carbon-fiber, the cockpit has a rather spartan design. While the flowing styling cues make it seem modern and organic, the dashboard is devoid of any buttons and switches. Only a large display, gold trim, and lightweight door latches disturb the clean layout, while the center console is incredible narrow and comes with only two buttons.

The steering wheel is arguably the most cluttered element of the cabin, but it’s nowhere near as complicated as most motorsport-spec steering wheel. It looks pretty exotic though, with gold paddles and buttons contrasting the black Alcantara it’s wrapped in. The center section is a large display that provides information about water and oil temperature, fuel, battery, rpm, speed, and gears, among other functions. The steering wheel is also detachable, both to aid ingress and egress, and to serve as an additional safety device.

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Carbon-fiber is the dominant material, being used on the dashboard, door panels, seats and floor.

Carbon-fiber is the dominant material, being used on the dashboard, steering wheel column, door panels, seats and floor. Speaking of the seats, they are mounted directly on the tub in order to maximize interior space. This also means that the occupants will seat in a reclined, feet-up position similar to that of modern Formula One cars and Le Mans prototypes. This enhanced safety and provide better support at the race track. A four-point harness comes as standard, while an optional six-point harness will be available for those who intend to do more track driving.

The glasshouse was designed to provide uninterrupted forward and peripheral side-to-side vision. The design is once again borrowed from prototype race cars, including the windshield wipers, which are mounted in center position, at the top of the windshield. The cameras that replace the conventional side mirrors feed images to two displays positioned at the base of each A-pillar. Their position is supposed to mimic that of the conventional mirrors, but that’s not entirely true, with both being significantly closer to the driver. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be a problem once you get used to them.

Drivetrain

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The Valkyrie will use a high-revving, naturally aspirated V-12 engine.

There isn’t much information about the drivetrain, but Aston Martin did say that the Valkyrie will use a high-revving, naturally aspirated V-12 engine. It’s a bit surprising that such an innovative car doesn’t have a hybrid system, but hey, this is obviously good news for petrolheads. Although the British firm had nothing to say about the output, it revealed that the V-12 has "the potency to achieve a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio," which translates to one PS per kg of weight. This is not unprecedented in the supercar industry as Koenigsegg has already achieved it with the Koenigsegg One:1, but it’s a rare and tremendous feat to accomplish.

Even though there are no specific figures to run by, this power-to-weight ratio, coupled with the lightweight construction and innovative aerodynamics, should return sub-2.5-second 0-to-60 mph sprints. The V-12 engine will mate to a race-spec transmission conceived from a clean sheet by Adrian Newey and developed by Red Bull Advanced Technologies. Also penned by Newey, the suspension system will feature "innovative technology and employ principles honed over his thirty-year career." More information should become available soon, but until that happens, this is all we got.

Engine 6.5-liter V-12 engine and an electric motor
Combined output 1,130 HP
Power-to-weight ratio 1:1
Curb weight 2,270 Lbs
Transmission race-spec
0 to 60 mph 2.5 seconds

Prices

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Aston Martin is still mum on pricing details but did mention that production will be limited "between 99 and 150 vehicles," a figure that includes the prototypes and the 25 track-only versions. All told, it’s safe to assume that the Brits won’t build more than 125 road cars. First deliveries will commence in 2018. As far as pricing goes, the Valkyrie will probably cost more than the Vulcan, which retails from around $2.3 million.

References

2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001
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Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 (Valkyrie prototype).

Competition

Koenigsegg One:1

2015 Koenigsegg One:1
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2015 Koenigsegg One:1
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Given the unique and innovative design of the Valkyrie, there’s no current supercar to compare it. Sure, there are quite a few that are powerful and quick enough, but almost none of them comes with a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio or such intricate aerodynamics. The Koenigsegg One:1 is the only one that comes close. Although it’s no longer in production, it’s the only supercar that has a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. Introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the One:1 tips the scales at 3,000 pounds and comes with 1,342 horsepower on tap. The latter is the equivalent of one megawatt, which makes the One:1 the world’s first "megacar." All that power comes from Koenigsegg’s in-house, twin-turbo, 5.0-liter V-8 engine and travels to the wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The One:1 needs around three seconds to hit 60 mph, 6.6 ticks to reach 124 mph, and 11.9 seconds to hit 186 mph. Koenigsegg also claims it benefits from 1,345 pounds of downforce at 162 mph and 1,829 pounds at 273 mph. This statement means that the One:1 could reach a top speed higher than the Bugatti Veyron’s 269.86 mph and the Hennessey Venom GT’s 270.49 mph, but an official test was never showcased. Koenigsegg built only six units of the One:1 apart from the car it kept for itself. All were sold for at least $2.85 million a pop.

Find out more about the Koenigsegg One:1 here.

Conclusion

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While we still don’t know that much about it, it’s pretty obvious that the Aston Martin Valkyrie will revolutionize the supercar market, at least in terms of aerodynamics and design. It remains to be seen whether it will have a similar impact in the performance department, but that’s very likely to happen as well given the company’s claims and the 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. The fact that the extreme Valkyrie arrives only a couple of years after Aston Martin managed to get out financial trouble makes it that much more spectacular!

  • Leave it
    • * Extremely expensive
    • * Not much is known about it right now

Since the first reveal of the Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar in July 2016, Aston Martin, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and project partner AF Racing have been working intensively to further develop the Valkyrie’s aerodynamics, body styling and cockpit packaging.

The teardrop-shaped cockpit’s upper body surfaces and lower tub contours follow the envelope of space available between the huge full length Venturi tunnels that run either side of the cockpit floor. Drawing huge quantities of air beneath the car to feed the rear diffuser, these tunnels are the key to generating the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s extraordinary levels of downforce while keeping the upper body surfaces free from additional aerodynamic devices that would spoil the purity of the styling.

2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie Exterior High Resolution
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To maximise interior space the seats are mounted directly to the tub, with occupants adopting a reclined ‘feet-up’ position reminiscent of today’s Formula One and Le Mans Prototype race cars, ensuring driver and passenger are extremely safe, perfectly supported and feel completely at one with the car. A four-point harness comes as standard, while an optional six-point harness will be offered for those who intend to do more track driving.

The Aston Martin Design team were keen to keep distractions to a minimum and focus the driver on the road ahead. To this end all switchgear is located on the steering wheel, 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.

2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie Exterior High Resolution
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Great attention has been taken with the glasshouse design to ensure forward and peripheral side-to-side vision is virtually uninterrupted. To avoid any unwanted aerodynamic disturbance or stylistic ‘clutter’ traditional door mirrors have been replaced by discreetly mounted rear facing cameras in each of the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s flanks. These feed two displays which are positioned at the base of each A-post to mimic the view provided by conventional door mirrors. The all-enveloping bodywork and roof-mounted engine air intake means there is no rear window, negating the requirement for a rearview mirror.

Matt Hill, Aston Martin Creative Director of Interiors said of the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s cockpit design: “It’s been a tremendous challenge to make the interior packaging work. We’ve embraced Red Bull Racing’s Formula One ethos and approached from a different angle than conventional road car design. In this instance, we’ve started from a position where you think something is impossible and work at it until you find a way to make it work. We’ve been fighting for millimetres everywhere, but the battle has been worth it, as it’s been fantastic seeing customers try the interior buck for size. They love the ritual of getting in and how it feels to be sat behind the wheel. They’re also genuinely surprised at how the car just seems to swallow them. You really do have to sit in it to believe there is genuine space for two large adults.”

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While the essence of the original Aston Martin Valkyrie exterior design remains unchanged, Adrian Newey’s pursuit of downforce and aerodynamic efficiency has driven many detail changes to the bodywork. These requirements have been faithfully incorporated into the design by the Aston Martin Design Team in a genuine case of form following function.

One of the biggest changes in this latest model are openings in the body surface between the cockpit and front wheel arches, Adrian Newey having found that they were the key to achieving considerable gains in front downforce. It was then the job of the Aston Martin Design Team to integrate these new apertures into the overall design and ensure they had aesthetic merit as well as aerodynamic function.

2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie Interior High Resolution
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While aerodynamics and downforce are the dominant story, Aston Martin Valkyrie features some delightful details. Some of the most striking are the headlights, which take inspiration from the pure functionality of a Formula One car’s components. Aston Martin’s designers stripped things back to the bare essentials, celebrating the engineering rather than concealing it behind cladding. With the low and high beam elements attached to an intricate exposed anodised aluminium frame not only are the headlamp units a work of art, but they are 30-40 per cent lighter than the lightest series production headlamps available to Aston Martin.

The same approach has been taken with the Aston Martin ‘wings’ badge that adorns the nose. With the regular badge considered too heavy, and a simple sticker not befitting for a car of the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s quality and cutting-edge nature, the Aston Martin Design Team came up with a chemical etched aluminium badge just 70 microns thick. That’s 30 per cent thinner than a human hair, and a remarkable 99.4 per cent lighter than the regular enamel wings badge. The badge (nicknamed the ‘lacewing’) is then attached to the painted body and covered with a perfectly smooth coat of lacquer.

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Further detail innovation can be found at the rear of the car, with the centre high mounted stop light (CHMSL). Mounted on the tip of the small shark’s fin that runs down the spine of the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s airbox and rear bodywork, the light is just 5.5mm wide and 9.5mm high. Illuminated by a red LED it is the world’s smallest CHMSL and evidence of how every element of the Aston Martin Valkyrie is scrutinised in the pursuit of eliminating unnecessary weight and drag.

Aston Martin Creative Director of Exterior Design, Miles Nurnberger, said of the Aston martin Valkyrie’s design evolution: “I would say we’re around 95 per cent of the way there with the exterior design. Much of what you see is actually the structure of the car, so this had to be signed-off relatively early in the project. The remaining areas of non-structural bodywork are still subject to evolution and change as Adrian [Newey] continues to explore way of finding more downforce. The new outlets in the body are a case in point. Ordinarily the last thing we’d want to do to one of our surfaces is cut a hole in it, but these vents work the front wings so much harder that they’ve found a significant gain in front downforce. The fact that they are so effective gives them their own functional beauty, but we’ve finessed them without impacting on their functionality. That they also serve as windows through which to view the fabulous wing section front wishbones is a welcome bonus!”

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