It’s been a full year since Aston Martin revealed a prototype of its ultimate vehicle, the Valkyrie. Today, we see what twelve months of progress looks like with a near-production glimpse of the British luxury manufacturer’s mind-bending endeavor.
Aston Martin and its partner, Red Bull Advanced Technologies, have focused their efforts on the car’s aerodynamics, design, and cockpit. The Valkyrie will be one of, if not the, most aerodynamic production cars ever made. As such, form follows function with its teardrop cabin, massive wheel arches, and full length “Venturi” tunnels that run along the cockpit floor. Indeed the Valkyrie looks like a Formula One car with a thin coating of bodywork.
Exterior design highlights include F1-inspired headlights built within an exposed anodized aluminium frame. These beams are 30-40 percent lighter than the brightest Aston Martin road car headlights. In the name of weight savings, the Aston Martin ‘wings’ badge is neither a standard emblem nor a cheap sticker. The design team crafted a chemical-etched aluminium badge just 70 microns thick (which is 30 percent thinner than a human hair). The ‘lacewing,’ is 99.4 percent lighter than a normal Aston Martin badge.
At the rear, a center-mounted stop light (CHMSL) is built on the tip of a shark’s fin that runs the length of the car’s rear bodywork. At 5.5mm wide and 9.5mm long, it’s the thinnest CHMSL in the world.
Under the guidance of legendary F1 designer Adrian Newey, the entire car has been molded in the pursuit of aerodynamic perfection and downforce. The redesigned Valkyrie prototype adds openings in the body between the cockpit and front wheel arches to improve downforce. The Venturi tunnels draw massive amounts of air beneath the car to feed the rear diffuser. Because these tunnels contribute so much to the hypercar’s stability, they allow the upper body surfaces to focus on aesthetic appeal.
“I would say we’re around 95 percent of the way there with the exterior design,” says Miles Nurnberger, Aston Martin’s creative director of exterior design. “Much of what you see is actually the structure of the car, so this had to be signed off on 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.” In other words, we’re looking at a near-production body.
Inside, Aston Martin’s interior designers worked to maximize cabin space and to focus on driver engagement. The seats are mounted directly to the tub, with passengers seated in a ‘feet-up’ position (just like an F1 car). A four-point harness comes as standard, and a six-point unit is available. Everything the driver would need is accessible on the racecar-inspired, detachable steering wheel.
Visibility is also exceptional thanks to the design of the greenhouse. Door mirrors have been replaced with rear-facing cameras and live feeds on the A-pillars (we’ll see if the governing bodies are cool with that decision).
“It’s been a tremendous challenge to make the interior packaging work,” says Matt Hill, Aston Martin’s creative director of interiors. “We’ve embraced Red Bull Racing’s Formula One ethos and approached from a different angle than conventional road car design. We’ve been fighting for millimeters 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.”
Aston Martin hasn’t announced when the production version will be ready, but when it is, it will face of with Mercedes-AMG’s upcoming ‘Project One’ halo model.
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