• Sun. Mar 12th, 2023

Aston Martin Valkyrie unleashed on track

ByGurinderbir Singh

Mar 9, 2023

Intended to serve as a full stop or exclamation point to conclude the automotive industry’s obsession with petrol-powered supercars, the Valkyrie promised to deliver F1-rivalling performance to anyone with a driver’s licence.

And at least $5 million.

And a very close relationship with their local Aston Martin dealer.

The marque promised to deliver the world’s fastest car – not in terms of acceleration or top speed, but in how fast it could race around a circuit.

The car’s troubled development took years longer than planned, and resulted in significant upheaval at the brand’s UK headquarters.

Originally championed by motorsport-mad chief executive Andy Palmer, the Valkyrie’s troubled development contributed to him parting ways with the company.

Likewise, the car was designed in part by Red Bull Racing guru Adrian Newey as part of a partnership between the racing team and car maker that no longer exists.

Red Bull now plans to build a rival supercar.

Aston Martin promised to take the Valkyrie racing at Le Mans, then pulled the plug on its endurance racing efforts to focus on F1, under the direction of company chairman Lawrence Stroll.

Whose son, Lance, drives alongside Fernando Alonso for Aston Martin’s Grand Prix outfit.

We’ll never get the chance to drive the Valkyrie – and you’re unlikely to spot one in Australia, as it does not comply with local road rules.

But a handful of veteran motoring writers had a chance to experience the car.

Writing for Evo magazine, Richard Meaden said it was “impossible not to be starstruck” by the Valkyrie.

The race-car like “feet-up” driving position makes entry difficult – many owners will need to remove the steering wheel to squeeze into the cockpit – and the F1-like steering wheel is complex.

But the star of the show is a naturally aspirated V12 engine that spins beyond 11,000rpm – 2000rpm more than highly-strung machines such as Porsche’s 911 GT3.

Rev it that hard, and the Aston delivers a staggering 836kW of power.

“The speed the Valkyrie gains between corners is of another magnitude to any road car I’ve ever driven on track,” Meaden said.

“The combination of hybrid-assisted shove exiting corners and searing top-end rush as you push to 11,000rpm through the gears is insanely intense. “

Pistonheads’ Mike Duff said the “World’s fastest car” was “1,000 per cent faster and more exciting” than anything he had experienced before.

And that the track-only AMR Pro version represents “a pinnacle of the combustion era”.

Top Gear presenter Chris Harris was “just in awe of what it can do”, and said “the world is definitely a better place because this exists”.

Like Duff, he preferred the AMR Pro model that replaced road-ready tyres with racing slicks, and active suspension with simpler shock absorbers. Wild aerodynamics on the track car replace legally compliant bodywork on the “far more compromised” road car.

Even so, the Valkyrie represented “one of the most special motorcars I’ve had the pleasure of driving,” Harris said.

Hagerty presenter Henry Catchpole said the Valkyrie was “an incredible achievement”, and “a landmark” in the same spirit as the McLaren F1 and Bugatti Veyron.

But critics were united in pointing out a significant flaw in the car. The engine, which is similar to what F1 cars had before adopting hybrid power, is painfully loud.

Duff said that driving the car without hearing protection “would quickly lead to the risk of hearing loss”.

Meaden said the “horrendous cockpit noise” was “a major problem”.

But Top Gear magazine writer Ollie Marriage was less bothered.

“Luckily Aston Martin supplies the Valkyrie with a set of state of the art headsets with intercom,” he said.

“It’s fabulously single-minded and a marker in the sand to all that might want to follow …

“If you want perfection, buy a Toyota.”

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