From Valkyrie to Valhalla: Aston Martin’s hypercars come to life

By 12 months ago

The reveal of the Aston Martin Valkyrie, formerly known as the AM-RB 001, was met with as much scepticism as it was excitement. Could Aston really make this incredible set of numbers a running, driving, selling reality?

Three years on from the launch of the AM-RB 001, the Valkyrie is almost ready for both customers and Le Mans. Not only that, there’s yet another Aston hypercar bringing up the rear, with James Bond behind the wheel…

AM-RB 001 told us exactly what Aston wanted us to know. That it was a collaboration with Red Bull, that F1 design genius Adrian Newey was the brain behind it, and that it was 001 – the first of more to come. 1,000hp, 1,000 kilograms, a naturally-aspirated V12 and track performance to rival the fastest Le Mans cars. Scarcely believable at the time.

Then they named it and got more specific on specs. The Valkyrie should beat a one horsepower per-kilogram power-to-weight ratio, but the weight figure is to be closer to 1,200kg than to 1,000kg.

Incredibly, the Valkyrie got more extreme with the AMR Pro track-only variant. It looks like something you’d spy at the front of the grid at the start of Le Mans. Funny, that…

Before we heard and saw that V12, the Valkyrie still felt conceptual. Then the news, pictures and videos came out of Cosworth dyno testing the 6.5-litre V12 to beyond 10,000rpm. It’s a beautiful piece of engineering.

Around the same time, the facility that lucky buyers are using to create their dream Valkyrie was revealed. It was bittersweet to see, knowing we had neither an allocation of one of the 150 cars, nor the minimum £2 million required to make it happen.

As if one 1,000hp hypercar wasn’t enough, Aston announced the 003 at the Geneva Motor Show. A car to take on McLaren’s Senna, the 003, which soon became the Valhalla, is to get a twin-turbo V6 engine mated to a hybrid system, and put out around 1,000 horsepower. We should have known better than to assume how far from reality it was.

Answering the prayers of petrolheads the world over, Aston then confirmed that it would be adapting the Valkyrie for racing in the new hypercar class at Le Mans. The Valkyrie is to bring a V12 back to top-flight endurance racing in 2021.

Somehow the story of a pair of Aston Martin hypercars would feel incomplete if Bond didn’t get his hands on one. Yes, 007 should be getting a 003 as his company car. Quite how the MI6 budget stretches to such a car is a mystery. How will Adrian Newey feel about all those heavy gadgets?

Now once again Aston skeptics are eating their words. Even amidst the financial woes, it’s mighty impressive that these two enormous projects are proving the doubters wrong by going flat-out at Silverstone.

Valhalla and Valkyrie are words borrowed from Norse mythology. You might have heard them referred to in some of Marvel’s Thor comic books and movies.

Valhalla is a sort of Norse heaven, and a Valkyrie is a “chooser of the slain”. That means someone that scours battlefields looking for fallen warriors worthy of entry to Valhalla. They don’t pluck these names out of thin air, you know…

The Valhalla is still some way off. Aston refers to this running driving version as a ‘dynamic concept’. It’s a good indication of how Valhalla will look on the move, even if it’s not a verifiable representation of the finished article like the Valkyrie VP1 prototype.

This comes on the eve of the Valhalla’s North American debut at Monterey Car Week in the Quail display. It’ll be the first time Aston’s sophomore hypercar has been seen on the other side of the pond.

Aston reckons the Valhalla will be more suited to road use than its big brother the Valkyrie, even looking as it does and performing as they claim it will. “Though making greater concessions to practicality and road use, Valhalla remains true to the uncompromising engineering ethos laid down by its bigger brother.”

Even following in the wake of the incredible Valkyrie, offering over three-times as many units, Aston says the Valhalla is over-subscribed. It’s currently in the process of ‘hand-picking’ buyers to get the chance to own one of the 500 Valhallas it plans on building.

Even though this weekend arguably belongs to baby brother Valhalla, it’s worth an update on the car that started it all. This is verification prototype number one of the Valkyrie – the first fully representative running prototype. It debuted at Geneva and has been testing hard ever since.

What better stage on which to debut what Aston hopes will be the world’s greatest hypercar, than the interlude in the British Formula 1 Grand Prix? The Valkyrie took some laps with intrepid tester and master helmsman Chris Goodwin at the wheel, with the car sporting an appropriate Red Bull livery.

It’s been a long road getting the Valkyrie into the hands of customers. From sketches on an F1 design genius’s desk in 2014, to a generation-defining hypercar in 2019. Valkyries are expected to arrive in buyer’s special Aston-designed garages by the end of 2019. As for the Valhalla? That’s expected to be ready in 2021. Patience is the ultimate virtue…

Tags: Aston Martin
Ethan Jupp

I'm Content Editor at MR. Road trips music and movies are my vices. Perennially stuck between French hot hatches and Australian muscle cars.

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