The gates of heaven have opened and the Valkyrie’s son has arrived

Aston Martin’s long-awaited mid-engine hypercar is about to take the 2019 Geneva Motor Show by storm. It’s called the AM-RB 003 — we previously knew it as “Project 003” — and Aston Martin wants us to think of it as the Valkyrie’s offspring, or, as Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer calls it, “the bridge” that connects the world of mid-engine Astons with the high heavens where the Valkyrie currently resides. Truth be told, the AM-RB 003 shares more than a family tree with the Valkyrie. The former is, in many ways, heavily influenced by the latter, using much of the same technology and fundamental design cues that came to define the Valkyrie. That’s why the AM-RB 003 looks a lot like its “father,” albeit with a more refined and streamlined appearance that goes hand in hand with an electrified powertrain that features a turbocharged V-6 engine. Only 500 units of the AM-RB 003 will be released. There’s no specific price tag yet, but don’t expect it to sell for anything less than £1 million. If you’re keeping score, that’s $1.32 million based on current exchange rates.

Aston Martin’s reinvention is close to its completion. Once regarded as one of the finest purveyors of grand tourers in the industry, the British automaker has flipped the script on that narrative by releasing a series of gnarly performance cars in the past few years. We first got a glimpse of Aston’s dark alter-ego with the arrival of the Vulcan. Then the Valkyrie showed up and out the window went our perception of Aston Martin. Now it’s the AM-RB 003’s turn, and we’re not sure what to make of the automaker anymore. It’s not really a personality crisis. it’s more of Aston Martin finally embracing its savageness as we all bear witness to it, rooting for the automaker to show more of its teeth.

The 2020 Aston Martin AM-RB 003 Is a Valkyrie with a Hybrid V-6 and Luggage Room
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Make no mistake, the AM-RB 003 is a show-stopping mid-engine destroyer that was created for the specific purpose of turning the hypercar segment upside down.

It’s not as extreme as the Valkyrie, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Physically, it looks more civilized than father dearest. Say what you will about the Valkyrie’s ungodly performance qualities, but it’s not winning any design awards. The AM-RB 003, on the other hand, looks like it’s already primed for a scaled-down LEGO Technic version. At the very least, it’s what the Valkyrie could’ve looked like if Aston Martin wanted it to look more conservative. The fascia and the profile lines of both models are similar, but the AM-RB 003 boasts a more usable design, in part because it’s also pegged as a road car. The doors, for example, open out forwards and out of the roof. It’s still a fancy setup, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before. Remarkably, the AM-RB 003 also boasts a cargo area, a segment of space that’s completely unknown to the Valkyrie. Aston didn’t say how much space there is behind the seats, but it should be ample enough to store a handbag or two.

The 2020 Aston Martin AM-RB 003 Is a Valkyrie with a Hybrid V-6 and Luggage Room
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The interior layout of the AM-RB 003 is probably it’s biggest trump card over the Valkyrie, especially if you’re the type who values style and comfort. The center tunnel is a lot more prominent in the AM-RB 003 than in the Valkyrie where it was really an afterthought.

From the looks of it, Aston Martin spent more time dressing up the interior of the AM-RB 003 with the kind of luxury trim that it’s known for.

At the very least, the cabin looks more polished than the Valkyrie’s. Charming, isn’t it?

Given where they fall in Aston’s pecking order of performance cars, it’s not shocking to note that the AM-RB 003 is the more civilized of the two hypercars. That’s because it really is, at least when you compare it to the Valkyrie. But don’t make the error of assuming that the AM-RB 003 is nothing but a purring kitten wearing a lion’s mane. This is still a hypercar in every sense of the word, a product of Aston Martin’s ongoing partnership with Red Bull Racing.

The 2020 Aston Martin AM-RB 003 Is a Valkyrie with a Hybrid V-6 and Luggage Room
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Aerodynamics wizard Adrian Newey is largely responsible for the AM-RB 003’s sleek body.

The hypercar also features a mid-mounted, turbocharged V-6 hybrid powertrain that works in concert with the same slew of Formula One-derived tech that Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing adapted so effectively in the Valkyrie.

We don’t know how much power this hybrid powertrain has, but are we really going to expect anything less than 800 horsepower? It might even boast 1,000 horsepower, a possibility that shouldn’t be ignored considering who we’re dealing with here. Whatever it is, no number is too high when it comes to the partnership between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing.

The 2020 Aston Martin AM-RB 003 Is a Valkyrie with a Hybrid V-6 and Luggage Room
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Speaking of partnerships, Aston isn’t just sharing beds with RBR when it comes to the development of the AM-RB 003. NASA’s in on the fun, too.

Arguably the most sophisticated, if not the coolest, aerodynamic element in the AM-RB 003 is the FlexFoil rear wing that can, according to Aston Martin, change the rearming’s downforce without changing the wing’s angle.

It has no drag and no turbulence. It creates no wind noise, either. And it’s cleanly integrated into the body, which serves the hypercar’s aesthetics astonishingly well. The technology is NASA-approved, and Aston Martin says that when it arrives in production form, the FlexFoil rear wing will come with “greatly increased actuation rates to allow real-time response to changes in the vehicle’s dynamic state.” That’s cutting-edge technology right there.

At some point in the near future — late 2021, by Aston’s own estimate — we will see the AM-RB 003 out on the road. It’ll carry a different name and we’ll know more about its hell-raising performance capabilities. But for now, it’s called the AM-RB 003, and it’s the latest example of the automaker’s evolving identity.

The 2020 Aston Martin AM-RB 003 Is a Valkyrie with a Hybrid V-6 and Luggage Room
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This isn’t James Bond’s Aston Martin anymore, folks.

Further reading

The 2020 Aston Martin AM-RB 003 Is a Valkyrie with a Hybrid V-6 and Luggage Room
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Read our full review on the 2020 Aston Martin AM-RB 003.

2018 Aston Martin AM-RB 001 Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the 2018 Aston Martin Valkyrie.

2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro
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Read our full review on the 2019 Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro.

Continuing its march into the manufacture of mid-engined hypercars, Aston Martin is proud to present the design concept for AM-RB 003 at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.

The British marque can also confirm that AM-RB 003 - previously known as Project 003 - will benefit from the close involvement of Red Bull Advanced Technologies in its design and engineering, continuing one of the brightest and most exciting engineering partnerships in the automotive world.

As its codename suggests, the AM-RB 003 follows the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro as the third hypercar in Aston Martin’s mid-engined story. Both evolutionary and revolutionary, AM-RB 003 will incorporate concepts and technologies taken directly from F1TM and applied to the epoch-making Aston Martin Valkyrie, providing it with performance to meet and surpass the performance demands of existing top-end hypercar rivals.

Though making greater concessions to practicality and road use, AM-RB 003 will remain true to that uncompromising engineering ethos, extending the trickle down of genuine state-of-the-art F1 TM technology into a car built in larger numbers - but still strictly limited to 500 coupes worldwide – and making a design statement that’s second to none.

According to Miles Nurnberger, Aston Martin Director of Design, while AM-RB 003 is heavily influenced by Aston Martin Valkyrie, it is very much its own car: “We were quite deliberate in AM-RB 003 to not disguise its lineage, but we were equally emphatic that it would be a distillation of Aston Martin Valkyrie and not a dilution. The design isn’t as extreme in some areas, but it pushes just as hard in others, and is even taking certain ideas and concepts a step further. That’s a natural function of design evolution, but also testament to just how great an influence working with Red Bull Advanced Technologies on Aston Martin Valkyrie has had on our approach to everything that’s come since.”

Sharing the same fundamental styling and aerodynamic philosophy with Aston Martin Valkyrie, the AM-RB 003 features a pronounced front keel and large rear diffuser, with the underfloor generating the bulk of the downforce. However, AM-RB 003 will also benefit from next-generation aircraft morphing technology, to create a variable airfoil across the entirety of the rear wing.

The technology named FlexFoilTM – developed by FlexSys Inc. – has been validated by NASA through extensive performance and acoustic flight testing, with Aston Martin the first to implement this cutting-edge aerospace technology in the automotive industry.

The system allows for the car’s downforce to be changed without changing the physical angle of the entire element, resulting in a seamless design with high performance, improved efficiency and reduced wind noise. Turbulence and the associated drag increase found in current “state of the art” active wing designs is virtually eliminated too.

The production design will allow for even larger leading and trailing edge deflections than shown in today’s concept and will incorporate greatly increased actuation rates to allow a real-time response to changes in the vehicle’s dynamic state.

Across the top surfaces, other aerodynamic demands create a similar shape to Aston Martin Valkyrie, but new lamp shapes at the front and rear ensure it has its own identity. The lamp graphics are unique, but the internals are taken directly from Aston Martin Valkyrie due to their lightness, with the combined weight of all four units totalling less than the weight of one DB11 headlamp.

One of the biggest differences between Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 is the size of the cockpit, for it was part of the latter’s design brief that it should make greater concessions to usability and comfort. To this end, the AM-RB 003 has LMP1-style doors, which open forwards taking a section of roof with them to facilitate easier ingress and egress. To create more space between driver and passenger the centre console has been widened, while luggage space is provided via a terrace behind the seats. There will also be stowage areas for oddments such as a wallet or mobile phone.

The cockpit itself showcases a bold new design and material philosophy aimed at achieving a reduction in visual clutter and the creation of a uniquely stimulating, dynamic and focussed driving environment. Called ‘Apex Ergonomics‘, it relies on the perfect alignment between the centreline of the driver’s back, steering wheel and pedals and the careful positioning of other elements throughout the cabin to support this driver focussed experience.

A display screen mounted on the steering column allows for the best possible view through the steering wheel without any rim block, while the Infotainment systems ultilise ‘bring-your-own‘ technology - delivered via a Smartphone - for maximum efficiency, functionality, simplicity and flexibility.

Another visual expression of ‘Apex Ergonomics’ can be found in the wraparound band that provides a distinct and functional divide between the lower section of the cockpit and the upper section defined by the extreme curvature of the windscreen. Featuring recessed vertical gills, this band provides discreet delivery of audio, ventilation and ambient lighting and creates a bold, yet fully integrated technical feature as opposed to the traditional placement of individual air vents and speakers.

It serves to focus and emphasise the driver’s attention to this horizontal widescreen zone, which in turn is the area in which all the main controls, displays and material touch points are concentrated. Where traditionally these materials would be wood, leather or glass, the AM-RB 003 signals a transition to advanced design and manufacturing techniques that pioneer what we describe as Space-Craft; that’s to say space-age technology and traditional craft.

Now the authenticity is in lightweight properties and the application of advanced design and manufacturing techniques, including the use of state-of-the-art 3D printing methods; a shift driven by the need to save weight in every area of the car. For example, the 3D printed centre console is a part that removes 50 per cent of the mass, while having integrated functional switches. In addition, thanks to CAD modelling it’s possible to create parametric forms that look very fine, intricate, and in places ‘impossible’ to make. This fuses the purity of obsessive attention, to weight saving and exceptional visual and tactile qualities.

Full technical details of the AM-RB 003 will be revealed as the development programme progresses, but it will be the first car to receive Aston Martin’s new hybrid turbo V6 engine, marking Aston Martin’s return to in-house designed engines.

Complementing this exciting new power unit will be the revolutionary Nexcel sealed oil system., facilitating oil changes in under 90-seconds and the refinement and reuse of the car’s engine oil. This innovative system was first utilised on the track-only Aston Martin Vulcan and subjected to numerous Nürburgring 24 Hours campaigns to prove out its performance and durability credentials. Its use on the Aston Martin AM-RB 003 will the first for a road-going car worldwide.

As a direct descendent of Aston Martin Valkyrie, there was never any question over the AM-RB 003 being built around a lightweight carbon fibre structure and clad in carbon fibre bodywork sculpted for maximum aerodynamic effect. Honed by RBAT and featuring active aerodynamics and morphing aero surfaces, the AM-RB 003 will deliver outstanding levels of downforce in a road-legal car package. The technology transfer continues with active suspension and electronic systems that share a common philosophy with Aston Martin Valkyrie, delivering a chassis blessed with next-level precision, control and driver connection.

Working closely with RBAT, the responsibility for creating the optimum dynamic set-up for AM-RB 003 falls to Aston Martin Chief Engineer, Matt Becker and Aston Martin Expert High Performance Test Driver, Chris Goodwin. Currently immersed in the ongoing development of the Aston Martin Valkyrie - initially using RBAT’s world-leading simulator before the first running prototypes are completed - Becker and Goodwin’s renowned feel and unrivalled expertise will ensure continuity between both Aston Martin Valkyrie and AM-RB 003 projects, providing the Advanced Operations team, led by Chief Engineer Fraser Dunn, with invaluable information to create a car with its own unique character and dynamic fingerprint.

Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President & Group CEO, said: “When Aston Martin secured the services of Red Bull Advanced Technologies to embark on the extraordinary journey that became Aston Martin Valkyrie and Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro, it was always my hope that it would lead to a long-term collaboration. As these projects enter an incredibly exciting phase with the commissioning of the first running development prototypes, it gives me tremendous satisfaction to confirm that this exceptional partnership is continuing with the AM-RB 003 - a hypercar that not only draws from the ethos and DNA of Aston Martin Valkyrie, but will in turn influence Aston Martin’s first series production mid-engined supercar”.

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