The 2022 Aston Martin Valkyrie Could Be The Ultimate Wild Ride

The 2022 Aston Martin Valkyrie Could Be The Ultimate Wild Ride

Few cars have been as hotly anticipated as the Aston Martin Valkyrie. Or such a long wait is involved. The first announcement that Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing were going to collaborate on what was originally called the AM-RB 001 was back in March 2016. Since then, there have been first renders, announcements named Valkyrie. The track-only AMR Pro and Spyder variants, sadly unrealized plans to race it, an in-depth look at the Cosworth 6.5-liter V-12 that powers it, a trip through the configuration process, a simulator drive, and more of Aston’s Right-seat experience at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed ​​riding Shotgun to then-CEO Tobias Morse. Nor is it all going smoothly, with mounting delays and an as-yet unresolved legal dispute over deposits with a Swiss dealer group.

Now, finally, we’ve got it running.

Let’s start with the good news for the adrenaline-hooked billionaires who are still waiting to take delivery: The finished car fully lives up to designer Adrian Newey’s promise that it’s the most extreme license plate wearer ever. The vehicle will be factory-built and will be faster than most actual race cars. And although our first experience was limited to the 3.36-mile Bahrain International Circuit, it was in a completely street-legal car on road tires.

OK, so for US buyers, street-legal is a bit of a misnomer, as the Valkyrie can only be imported under “show and display” requirements – so it must not be used or used to haul lumber from Home Depot . But in Europe, Aston has faced the considerable cost and complexity of achieving perfect symmetry. It required what design director Miles Nürnberger proudly touts as the world’s smallest and lightest rear license plate lamp, which sits at the end of the rear-hung sequential gearbox casing.

The Valkyrie’s need to accommodate human cargo was always a low priority in the car’s packaging, with the Navy giving far greater importance to aerodynamic requirements. Yet while the passenger compartment is small, it could have been even smaller – Nürnberger recalls a meeting in which he managed to persuade the famed designer to free up an extra 8 millimeters of space (that’s 0.3 inches). remained, a concession that won him a round of applause from the engineering team. “No one could remember Adrian dropping off before 1 millimeter,” says Nürnberger.

However, that concession hasn’t created a roomy cabin; The Valkyrie is a car that is worn rather than seated in. Climbing requires an elegant shuffle on the sidepods and then drops into the carbon-fiber racing seat. Once you’re in place, a moveable pedal box allows taller drivers to find some legroom, but even with the seat’s modest amount of padding removed, an average-height driver’s helmet-clad The head still touches the ceiling when the door closes.

The 6.5-liter V-12 is unsurprisingly an extraordinary allure. In fact, it dominates the driving experience to the extent of stealing every scene. There’s a pause after pressing the start button on the steering wheel—then the engine cranks for several seconds to build up oil pressure before bursting into gruff life. It idles loudly even through the padding of a helmet at 1000 rpm, and has about 10,000 rpm to go before meeting its limiter. But rolling down the pit lane is a surprisingly gentle process; There’s a launch-control system, but, left to its own devices, the Valkyrie is powered exclusively by a 141-hp electric motor, fed by a 1.7-kWh battery made by Rimac and powered by a V- sits between 12 and seven. – Speed ​​transmission. (With no reverse gear, backing up is always done electrically.) The clutch soon engages to connect the engine to the wheels.

Our first lap on the track is mostly spent trying to accept the monstrosity of the display. The Valkyrie is a car beyond mere numbers, though, sounding a claimed 2.5-second zero-to-60-mph time and an electronically limited 220-mph top speed. Those figures are well within the range of reference for hypercars, yet the Valkyrie’s feel really isn’t. This is a car that makes the Koenigsegg One:1 refined and subdued.

Much of the sense of chaos is caused by a combination of noise and vibration of the Valkyrie when it is revived. The forged cogs that drive its camshaft are just inches on the other side of the firewall, and reaching the revved-up redline produces an almost painful screech. But it’s also the character of the engine and the immediacy of its reactions, the complete lack of delay between pressing the accelerator and feeling the response. With a combined peak of 1139 horsepower working against a mass of less than 3000 pounds, the Valkyrie is insanely fast. At the end of the circuit’s longest straight of 0.6 miles, the digital speedometer shows 300 km/h – 186 mph – and that’s using a conservative braking point. Yet subjectively it feels faster than that.

We spent little time in the chassis’ Urban and Sport modes, both of which are meant for road use. Selecting the most aggressive Track function causes both the active suspension to lower the ride height and brings up the option of a variable traction-control setting. So sharp, Valkyrie soon proves that corners can be more than a break in between with a chance to unleash hell on the straights.

Grip is one area where the Aston doesn’t feel superhuman. Riding on street-legal Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires means there’s less raw adhesion than riding on slicks. The hydraulically assisted steering delivers crisp, clear feedback, and turn-in is eager, but traction control intervenes hard when you’re trying to overlap steering and accelerator inputs. Yet it’s not fast or scary, even when pushed and with the traction control turned off. Higher speeds bring an additional helping of downforce from the active wings and diffuser – Aston claims a peak of 2400 pounds of downforce at any speed up to 135 mph. Faster corners can be taken when it feels like impossible speeds. (Fun fact: The flaps operated within the giant Venturi tunnels are colloquially referred to as “cat flaps” by Aston’s mechanics.)

Even surrounded by the cheery atmosphere and mechanics of the race circuit, there were issues. The car’s brake pedal had a dead patch at the top of its travel, and its resistance softened twice during big stops, although the actual level of retardation did not decrease. The Valkyrie’s engine also cut its redline when the coolant got too hot. Aston blamed the high ambient temperature of Bahrain, and driving in high gear for half a lap cooled things down and reinstated the correct rev limiter.

While racetracks are a lot of fun, they are a poor analog for figuring out how any given car will handle the real world. The Valkyrie will always feel massively compromised on normal roads. It’s cramped, hot and loud enough to damage the hearing of its occupants without ear protection. Cosworth also says that the engine should be rebuilt every 50,000 miles, a figure that we expect some owners will regard as a challenge rather than a threat. Yet none of this certainly diminishes the appeal of a pinnacle car, its many compromises a direct refusal to compromise its famed designer’s own vision. Which makes it a masterpiece.

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2022 Aston Martin Valkyrie
Vehicle Type: Mid-Engine, Mid-Motor, Rear-Wheel-Drive, 2-Passenger, 2-Door Coupe

Base: $3,500,000 (est. in Europe)

DOHC 48-valve 6.5-liter V-12, 1001 hp, 575 lb-ft + AC motor, 141 hp, 206 lb-ft (combined output: 1139 hp, 682 lb-ft; 1.7-kWh lithium-ion battery pack)
Transmission: 7-Speed ​​Automated Manual

Wheelbase: 109.0 Inches
Length: 177.4 inches
Width: 75.6 inches
Height: 41.7 inches
Passenger Volume: Barely ft.3
Trunk Volume: Suspicious Feet3
curb weight (CD Est): 2850 lb

Display (CD EST)
60 mph: 2.3 sec
100 mph: 3.8 sec
1/4-mile: 7.7 seconds
Top Speed: 220 mph

EPA Fuel Economy
United/City/Highway: US Not suited for highway use

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European Editor

Mike Duff has been writing about the auto industry for over two decades and calls the UK home, although he usually lives life on the road. He loves vintage cars and adventures in unlikely places, with career highlights including driving up to Chernobyl in a Lada.

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