Aston Martin is Planning a Valkyrie Invasion on the Nurburgring
Is the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s production car lap record in trouble?by Kirby, on
Aston Martin has never held the production car lap record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife. That’s an important distinction to remember because that could change soon when the British automaker brings the Valkyrie hypercar to the famous race track. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but Aston Martin appears to be set on making an attempt at the ‘Ring’s production car lap record for “international marketing” purposes, as explained by Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer in a conversation with Motoring. Now, talking a big game about setting the production car lap record at the Nurburgring and actually doing it are two very different things. But if there’s a car out there that’s well-equipped to unseat the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ (the current record holder) it’s the 1,160-horsepower British hypercar. Only time will tell if Aston Martin goes through with it, but, at this point, it’s probably safe to start taking bets now. Any takers?
Aston Martin and Nurburgring Records
Aston Martin isn’t the type of automaker you normally think of when you’re talking about production car lap records. It’s the type of automaker that excels more as purveyor of luxury and performance. It’s the quintessential gentleman’s car if that gentleman is also hiding a mean streak. But a Nurburgring lap time record holder? That’s not what Aston Martin’s about. Sure, some of its models have done laps around the ‘Ring, but none have ever come close to sniffing the existing lap record in the times they did. The fastest Aston Martin to lap the ‘Ring was the Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE when driver Christian Gebhardt set a lap time of 7:50 back in February 2017. It’s a decent lap time, but it’s more than a minute off the pace of the top echelon of cars that have performed timed laps around the famous race track. And the car sitting just above the V8 Vantage GTE? A Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport S. Not exactly the kind of company the Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE normally keeps.
Then again, everything changed when Aston Martin decided to dip into the hypercar segment. The development of the Aston Martin Vulcan and Valkrie hypercars brought Aston Martin’s wild side into the forefront. The two hypercars are true performance machines in every sense of the word. Both were developed with the help of Red Bull Racing, and Aston made no bones about why they exist in the first place.
The Vulcan and Valkyrie are here to destroy race tracks and lap records, even if Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer and the company will give you a wink and a nod about its real intentions.
|124||Aston Martin Vantage GT8||07:50.0|
|132||Aston Martin V12 Vantage S||07:52.0|
|172||Aston Martin DBS||08:02.0|
|174||Aston Martin V8 Vantage||08:03.0|
|236||Aston Martin DB9||08:16.0|
|241||Aston Martin V12 Vanquish||08:17.0|
|257||Aston Martin DB7 GT||08:23.0|
|324||Aston Martin DB7 Vantage||08:41.0|
Well, in the case of the 1,160-horsepower Valkyrie, it seems like Palmer has already tipped his hand on the matter. Speaking with Motoring, Palmer admitted that the Valkyrie could go to the Nurburgring to set a few lap times with an eye towards unseating the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s current production car lap time record of 6:44.97. But that’s not the company’s only goal. There’s a marketing angle to it, too. Apparently, the whole point of the Valkyrie taking to the Ring isn’t just to break the Aventador SVJ’s current high mark but to let everyone know that it did it. In some markets, I’m thinking China strangely, a time around the Nurburgring is important to the prowess of a supercar," Palmer told Motoring. "In reality, we’re not developing it for that. It’s not what it’s meant for, but we’ll probably end up setting a time."
The comment sure sounds like a man who’s effectively saying, “We don’t really need to do it, but we might as well give it a shot.”
Palmer also added that Aston Martin might take a slightly different approach to the Valkyrie’s attempt to break the ‘Ring’s production car lap record. Instead of paying the necessary fees to close the track as most automakers do in moments like this, Palmer hinted that it could unleash the Valkyrie on an “open session,” either during industry testing periods where we often get our spy shots of new models from or during the Touristenfahrten periods where the track is generally open to the public. Either scenario could be problematic because the track wouldn’t be clean. There’d be cars scattered around different sections of the race track, and those cars could impede the Valkyrie’s flying lap at inopportune times. It’s not like the Valkyrie can keep setting flying lap after flying lap until it breaks the record. There’s a reason, after all, why automakers pay to close down the track when they’re trying to set lap times for their models.
The track is clean from foreign substances and the actual cars that are present during open sessions.
I’d be very surprised if Aston Martin decides to take this approach, though it did occur to me that perhaps Aston Martin is setting itself up to have a built-in excuse in the event the Valkyrie does not break the Aventador SVJ’s lap record. It’s entirely possible that it could happen, but I don’t know if Aston Martin would go that far. I think the automaker will eventually pay to close the place down so it can focus its entire efforts to make sure the Valkyrie has a clean and empty race track to run on. That’s the only way I think the Valkyrie can unseat the Lambo.
Don’t get me wrong, though. I think there’s a scenario that the Valkyrie can still beat the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s record lap time during an open session. The hypercar features 1,160 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque coming from a Cosworth-built, naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12 engine with some hybrid assistance thrown in for good measure. The engine alone runs up to 1,000 horsepower, and 546 pound-feet of torque and peak power can be achieved at a mind-boggling 10,500 revs. The Aston Martin Valkyrie is a monster that’s capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of well over 200 mph. Put the Valkyrie in the Nurburgring with a clean track and it will fly. But there’s the rub: a clean track.
Whatever Aston Martin decides to do, you better believe that the industry’s collective focus will be on Valkyrie when it touches down on the Ring. When that’s going to happen is another question entirely, but let’s hope it happens sooner than later. Aston Martin can only tease us for a time until we start clamoring to see what all the teasing’s about.
Let’s get to it, Aston Martin. You want the Aston Martin Valkyrie to break the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ’s 6:44.97 production car lap record at the Nurburgring? Show us it can be done.
Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Vulcan AMR Pro.
Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro.
Read our full review on the 2016 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE.