Yesterday, Aston Martin gave us our first glimpse at a near-production-spec Valkyrie, and nearly rendered us speechless. Top Gear with the Valkyrie's designer, Red Bull F1 mastermind Adrian Newey, who revealed that the Valkyrie's engine is actually derived from an old F1 design.
The Valkyrie's internal-combustion engine is a 6.5-liter naturally aspirated V12 designed by Cosworth, but interestingly, it's "based loosely" on the 2.4-liter V8 the company used in F1 from 2010 until 2013 with teams like Williams. We've heard this motor will make around 1000 hp, but it's still in testing, so power figures likely aren't finalized.
What is certain is that it will sound unbelievably good—Newey insisted on using a 12-into-one exhaust system, because as he says, "that makes it sound like it’s revving twice as high as it actually is." As a reminder, this engine has an 11,000-rpm redline. It's probably going to sound like a V12 F1 car from the 1990s.
We've known for a while now that Ricardo—the same company that makes Bugatti's dual-clutch—would supply the gearbox for the Valkyrie, but that was it. Top Gear reports that it's a single-clutch unit designed by Newey himself that eschews a reverse gear. The Valkyrie will back up on electric power only.
The Valkyrie's most likely competitor, the Mercedes-AMG Project One, uses a 1.6-liter turbocharged F1-derived V6. Interestingly, Newey too thought about six-cylinder power for the Valkyrie, instead of going with a V12.
"I did some homework and came to the conclusion that weight wise there wasn’t much between them," Newey told Top Gear. "In terms of cooling requirements the V6 was worse, in terms of sound the V6 was worse and it would vibrate too much if you solid-mounted it to the chassis. Technically and emotionally the V12 was the better solution."
Are those remarks a subtle criticism lobbed at AMG? Newey probably wouldn't tell, but it's hard to argue with his logic.
Aston Martin also had some of its own ideas for the Valkyrie, but this is truly a Newey/Red Bull project. Aston wanted to use a version of the V12 from the One-77, but Newey put his foot down and insisted that it had to have a Cosworth-designed V12. Interestingly, Aston was even working on its own hypercar before Newey and Red Bull even approached the company with their concept.
Aston's in-house hypercar was around the same size as a LaFerrari, but Newey's proposal won. Newey doesn't have much love for the LaFerrari and its other hypercar rivals, the Porsche 918 and McLaren P1. They're "big, clumsy and heavy," he says.
The Valkyrie will also receive an active anti-roll system that's designed to keep the body level, so the aerodynamics can work more effectively. Newey and his team had to work closely with Aston Martin's designers to design gorgeous bodywork around the aero too. Everything going on under the body surface is all Newey, though.
The obvious comparison here is between Newey and the Valkyrie and Gordon Murray and the McLaren F1. Like Newey, Murray was a top F1 designer essentially given carte blanche to design the road car of his dreams. We'll have to see if the Valkyrie can live up to the mighty F1, but things certainly look promising.
The Valkyrie is more extreme than the F1, but then again, it appears to be more extreme than any other car we've seen before. It makes even a LaFerrari look conventional, which is something we never thought would happen.