The Valkyrie looks impossible from many angles, and that’s doubly true when you’re trying to work out how to get into it while being watched by a crowd of onlookers in Goodwood’s supercar paddock.
Beyond the high sides of the carbon tub the cockpit seems both tiny and distant. “There’s no dignified way to do it,” says Darren Turner, the former Aston Martin works racer who has took the Valkyrie for its previous run up the hill course. “Stand on the seat and then slide yourself down.”
I make my inelegant ingress and land next to Aston boss Tobias Moers, already strapping himself into the driver’s seat. The passenger’s side is little more than padding on carbon, and the footwell is narrow, offset by the teardrop shape of the passenger compartment and with an enforced raised-knee position that is more bathtub than car.
Yet it works: I fit, and there’s headroom, too – although I will need to pretty much sit on my left arm to give Moers room to work the squared-off steering wheel. A ride in a Valkyrie would be worth a considerably greater level of discomfort.
There are no fewer than four screens sharing the tiny dashboard – two for digital mirrors, which show a sea of mechanics’ legs in the paddock - plus a data logger to supplement the central display. The view forwards through the impossibly narrow windscreen feels like it should belong to a jet fighter rather than a car.
Conversational opportunities are limited at the bottom of the Hill. Moers is wearing the look of concentration you’d expect for somebody about to unleash a 1160hp supercar wearing road tyres on a narrow, damp track. We’re also both wearing earplugs inside our crash helmets, and as the engine fires I understand the need.
The starting procedure involves several stages as different bits of the electrical system are progressively energised, with some anxious looks from the support mechanics – the car failed to reach the top of the Hill during two of its previous runs. But it bursts into life on the first press of the start button with an uneven, high- pitched idle and plenty of vibration reaching the cabin from the Cosworth V12 mounted directly behind it.