Autocar had exclusive access to a fully detailed, full-sized model of the Valkyrie, shown to a small group of customers at the Monaco Grand Prix last year. The car, pictured here, was used as a demonstrator for prospective owners keen to try the Valkyrie’s F1-style, raised-feet driving position and to begin deciding the specification of their cars. Meigh has met all of them, telling Autocar that buyers' tastes and specifications have varied dramatically.
Flashback: the 1970s version of the Aston Martin Valkyrie
Aston and Red Bull Racing expect to start making the planned run of 150 cars later this year, with a schedule to deliver the first Valkyries to customers during 2019. Jockeying for ownership has begun already; following advertisements purporting to offer Valkyrie build slots for sale, Palmer made clear that Aston would do whatever it could to resist premium market trading.
Aston’s designers and Red Bull Racing’s Newey have made considerable changes since the first iteration of the Valkyrie was unveiled at Aston’s HQ last year. The biggest alteration is a set of new openings between the cockpit and front wheel arches that are designed to increase downforce. Aston’s designers have had the unusual job of incorporating these slots harmoniously into the Valkyrie’s overall styling to ensure aesthetic quality as well as aerodynamic function.
“Much of what you see from outside is the actual structure of the car, which had to be signed off quite early," said chief designer Miles Nurnberger. "Non-structural areas were still subject to evolution as Adrian continued finding improvements.
“Ordinarily, the last thing we’d want is to cut a hole in one of our surfaces, but these new vents work the front wings so much harder that we’ve found a significant gain in front downforce. They have their own functional beauty, but we’ve finessed them without harming the way they work. They also work as windows through which owners can view our fabulous wing-section front wishbones.”
The extent to which the Valkyrie’s main proportions are shaped in the wind tunnel means it makes a complete break from supercars of the past. A low, two-seat, beetlebacked passenger pod with no rear window sits between two large, full-length venturi tunnels. They draw air from beneath the car to feed a very prominent rear diffuser. These tunnels are key to the car’s aero performance, said Aston design boss Marek Reichman, who has worked on this project side by side with Newey.
Despite their aerodynamic obsession, the Valkyrie’s creators are at pains to point out that this car is comfortable and surprisingly spacious, accommodating “a wide range of shapes and sizes”. Occupants must step over the lower aero structure to gain access through a pair of gullwing doors reminiscent of access to a Le Mans racer, but with larger openings.