It’s been designed by a Formula 1 legend with the goal of lapping circuits as fast as a Le Mans prototype – but the Aston Martin Valkyrie still needs to be able to drive to the local shops.
The British brand is aiming to create the world’s fastest road car and that means it needs to be not only road-legal but also comfortable and capable of handling itself on freeways, back roads and in car parks. Which is why Aston Martin has begun road testing of the hypercar this week, one of the final phases of its development.
Part-time racing driver and full-time Aston Martin test driver, Chris Goodwin, is leading the program and will be joined by engineers from both the car maker and Red Bull Advanced Technologies (the company responsible for the energy drink company’s F1 cars). The team will be logging kilometres on a variety of roads around England to ensure it’s ready for production in the second half of the year.
Ensuring it will be compliant on the road is no easy task, because the Valkyrie is one of the most extreme cars ever built. Red Bull Racing’s technical director, Adrian Newey, a man responsible for championship-winning F1 machines at Williams, McLaren and Red Bull, has led its design. As such it features his trademark focus on aerodynamics and tight packaging, as well as other F1-style technical features. For example, the engine is a structural element of the car, bolted directly to the carbon fibre passenger cell and with the gearbox and rear suspension mounted onto it.
It’s no ordinary engine either, free from the restrictions of F1, Newey and the Valkyrie team opted for a custom-built 6.5-litre V12 developed by racing specialists Cosworth. It’s supported by an electric motor from Croatian experts, Rimac, for a total output of 865kW (1160hp) and 752Nm of torque.
Red Bull Racing duo Max Verstappen and Alex Albon sampled the Valkyrie at the Silverstone circuit early this year and came away impressed. Appropriately given this week’s latest testing, Verstappen’s comments when he was finished his track laps were: “To have this on the road is going to be insane.”
Only a lucky few will be able to experience just how “insane” the Valkyrie will be on the road, with Aston Martin only building 150 examples of the hypercar.