In the era of hypercars, Aston Martin Lagonda is trying to prove that it can produce a car like the Ferrari LaFerrari or the McLaren P1 with the Aston Martin Valkyrie. And seems it will able to pull it off with the hypercar that co-developed by Aston Martin and F1 genius Adrian Newey from Red Bull Advanced Technologies. The marvelous car will be all carbon fibre with not one steel component in the structure and the mid-engine car will be powered by a naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12 engine developed with Cosworth that uses electric motor for a power boost. It is probably will be one of the last great V12 engine, it features 6.5-litres of displacement and the 65° V12 sets exceptional new standards for maximum rpm and specific output with a certified peak power output of 1000bhp (or 153.8 bhp-per-litre) at a mind-blowing 10,500rpm, before continuing on to a maximum rpm figure of 11,100: figures that are unprecedented for a naturally-aspirated, emissions-compliant road car application. Peak torque is 740Nm at 7,000rpm. With these peak outputs purely delivered by the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), Aston Martin Valkyrie’s performance figures will be further boosted by a battery hybrid system, details of which will be revealed later in the development programme.
Only 150 cars will be made, and the model is the most striking and the will sport the most extreme look for a road car to date, as it is co-developed with Adrian Newey OBE, Red Bull Racing's Chief Technical Officer that has won 10 Formula One Constructors' titles. It uses the approach of building a Formula One car but without of the limitations of the rulebooks. ForbesLife Indonesia sat down with Aston Martin Creative Director of Exterior Design, Miles Nurnberger who worked together with Adrian in designing the car. “Valkyrie defines the best of Aston Martin for the future” Miles says in an exclusive interview during the Singapore F1 GP in September.
The car was built from the ground up and there are many technical innovations and breakthroughs. From the exterior alone, the car has very smooth surfaces and an open underfloor that maximizes downforce and harnesses the atmosphere around Valkyrie. The all-carbon fiber bodywork carries the brand’s trademark upper grille outline, before forming into a radical body entirely honed for performance, “It is a very beautifully tailored formula one car. When you look beneath it, it’s not like any other car,” Miles says. Many details of the car are intricate. One example is the front badge of the car is 70 microns thick and weighs 99% less than the brand’s regular badge. The badge was an innovation because Adrian commented that the regular badge disrupts the aerodynamics by creating a vortex, “The team took it as a challenge and make it something new,” he says.
Making the car was a stressful process, Miles says, noting that he often met with Adrian, who was always on a relentless pursuit of perfection. It was the best experience for Nurnberger as after more than 15 years of designing cars, he felt that he had the energy of when he left University again, with fresh ideas. All the innovations and breakthroughs have benefited the brand, especially in making a car more aerodynamic and more lightweight that will also trickle down to other Aston Martin’s car in the future, “Formula one brings a new understanding, the integration of aerodynamics for efficiency and performance but ultimately to be brave. We are a brave company but now we are braver” Miles says. Aston Martin and Red Bull Advanced Technologies have been working on the car for three years and it is still in the process of being born.
According to Christian Edward Johnston Horner OBE, the Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, the car will be iconic and a very extreme model. Even the Vakyrie AMR Pro, the track-only version of the car, cannot join a racing series because it’s too advanced to comply with racing regulations. The Valkyrie will, however, be road-compliant for regular driving. “The car will be reasonably practical so that it can be driven through London without overheating or hard work,” Christian says. He also highlighted the engine that will be also one of the last great naturally aspirated V12 and using engineering that exceed a F1 car, such as a much more complicated chassis and tub than an F1 car, “It’s using the same methodology and technology without the constraint of some F1 regulations,” Christian adds.
According to Christian, to create the car it was always the matter of finding the right people. The idea was already in his mind even when Andy Palmer, the CEO of Aston Martin was still working at Nissan and Infiniti, which was also was a partner of Red Bull Racing. However, he realized that it would be hard to make a car of this extreme nature with Nissan, so when Andy moved to Aston Martin, he immediately gave him a call. “One of the first calls was ‘congratulations on your new job, we should do this car together’,” Christian says.
Furthermore, the Valkyrie is one of the most important cars for the brand as it is the first model with a mid-engine layout. All the know-how of building the car will be used to develop the next hypercar with mid-engine layout that will be more attainable. Aston Martin’s next step, currently dubbed Project ‘003’, or baby Valkyrie, as some call it. The Project ‘003’ will be built around a lightweight structure and will be powered by a turbocharged petrol-electric hybrid engine. Combined with active aerodynamics for outstanding levels of downforce in a road-legal car, active suspension systems providing next-level precision, control and driver connection like the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro.
Project ‘003’ is also being designed and engineered to offer more practical concessions to road use, including space for luggage. Fully homologated and available in all markets in both left and right-hand drive, production will be limited to 500 coupe versions globally, with the first cars arriving to market in late 2021. The Valkyrie itself is a limited run of 150 cars. According to Irmawan Poedjoadi, the CEO of Aston Martin Jakarta, several Indonesian customers got some allocations for the Valkyrie and the baby Valkyrie but decline to give further details, "It shows that Indonesian economy is doing good," Irmawan says.
Aston Martin itself is currently in the middle of doing a product offensive since it launched the second century plan that will see the brand launch seven cars in seven years. The plan itself started when the brand launched the Aston Martin DB11 in 2016. The plan will make the brand become a more sustainable business as it has a broader line-up of cars. According to the brand’s annual report in 2016, it expects to deliver up to 6,400 cars this year and aims to increase it up to 9,800 units in 2020. To expand its volume, the brand will soon introduce its first SUV, the Aston Martin DBX. According to Miles, the car design has been completed and it is currently in the engineering and prototype stage, “We will show the car later next year,” Miles says.
The SUV is also built from scratch and he describes the car proportion as a sports car first and a SUV second. “With its sculpture and features you will recognize it instantly as an Aston Martin,” he notes. Soon the brand will also become a unique one in the luxury automotive realm. Aside from producing performance cars, it also will also create a car for the luxury market with the Lagonda brand, which plans to offer electric models. “With Aston Martin and Lagonda we now have a unique capability. Ferrari can’t make a Rolls-Royce and Rolls-Royce can’t make a Ferrari, Aston Martin has a unique vision with Lagonda as well. We can make a car like the Valkyrie and a Rolls-Royce rival with the Lagonda, that’s our exciting future,” Miles says.