Valkyrie reveals more of its secrets
DEVELOPMENT BUCK GIVES BUYERS FIRST CHANCE TO GET BEHIND WHEEL OF NEWEY HYPERCAR
WE STILL DON’T KNOW much about the nuts and bolts, but Aston Martin has shared some tantalising new images of the Valkyrie hypercar. The shots are of the latest development buck, which features opening doors and a full interior mock-up. Though not the finished item, it’s said to be 95 per cent there, at least so far as the exterior styling is concerned.
As expected, the uncompromising genius of Red Bull’s Adrian Newey is evident in the radical sculpting of the Valkyrie’s underbody aerodynamics. Never has anyone attempted to channel air so aggressively or harness it so completely in a road car application. Consequently, the upper surfaces of the Valkyrie remain blissfully free from clutter.
The cockpit sits between two enormous venturis feeding the rear diffuser. It’s hard to believe it will accommodate two 98 percentile adult males, but having sat in the buck ourselves – and spoken to customers who have done the same – we can confirm that the claims are true.
To maximise space, the seats are mounted directly to the tub, with the steering wheel and pedals adjustable. You sit in a reclined, F1-style driving position, which is a lot more comfortable than it sounds: once you’ve spent a few minutes in the car, even the raised position of your legs and feet feels entirely natural.
The dashboard is devoid of instruments. Instead, vital signs are displayed via an OLED screen on the steering wheel. All the controls are wheel-mounted, too, while the wheel itself is detachable to ease ingress and egress. With a roof-mounted air intake for the engine and no rear window, there’s no requirement for an internal rear-view mirror. No door or wing mirrors either. Instead a pair of cameras feeds a rearward view to displays mounted at the foot of each A-pillar.
According to Matt Hill, Aston Martin’s creative director of interiors, the Valkyrie’s cockpit required a rethink on packaging: ‘It’s been a tremendous challenge to make it work. We’ve embraced Red Bull’s F1 ethos and approached from a different angle than conventional road car design. So you start from a position where you think something is impossible and work at it until you find a way to make it work. We’ve been fighting for millimetres everywhere. 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. They’re also genuinely surprised at how the car just seems to swallow them.’
Being an Aston, the extraordinary aero, painstaking packaging and war on weight don’t come at the expense of some delightful details. Among them are the headlights, which have been stripped back to the bare essentials. Instead of hiding components behind cladding, the lowand high-beam elements are attached to an exquisite exposed anodised aluminium frame. The result is a piece of art that also happens to be 30-40 per cent lighter than the lightest series-production headlights available to Aston Martin.
Then there’s the Valkyrie’s ‘wings’ badge. With the regular enamel item considered both too heavy and aerodynamically compromised, the Aston design team developed a chemical-etched aluminium badge just 70 microns thick. That’s 30 per cent thinner than a human hair. Nicknamed the ‘lacewing’, it is attached to the painted body and covered with a perfectly smooth coat of lacquer. If that’s the effort expended on something as apparently inconsequential as a badge, imagine how extraordinary the finished car will be.
Left and above Exterior styling is said to be 95 per cent complete; cockpit is at an earlier stage of development, but the design team have already worked a minor miracle on the packaging