New Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes get F1 drivers’ stamp of approval

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

If those who doubted Aston Martin would go through with the Valkyrie project hadn’t already eaten their words, they will now. Two new verification prototypes, VP2 and VP3, have joined VP1 in the physical testing program for the new hypercar.

And to get a second opinion on how the cars are coming along, Aston enlisted the help of Red Bull Racing’s finest F1 helmsmen, Max Verstappen and Alex Albon.

The three prototypes took to Silverstone, with Verstappen and Albon getting their first taste of the hypercar. Chief test driver Chris Goodwin was also on hand to shake down the new prototypes, as were Aston Martin WEC drivers Darren Turner and Alex Lynn.

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

Verstappen spoke of his initial experience with the Valkyrie, saying “to be one of the first guys to drive an insane car like this was really exciting. It was amazing to get a first taste of it”.

“Of course it’s still in the development phase but you can already feel the pace, which compared to a normal car is… pretty different!”

Aston Martin plans on completing testing with eight verification prototypes to assess different facets of the program for the car.

Sadly, we expect one or more of the prototypes to be used in crash safety testing.

Aston Martin Valkyrie prototypes tested by F1 drivers at Silverstone

“This event has been an incredibly important step in Aston Martin Valkyrie’s story,” said Aston Martin high-performance development driver, Chris Goodwin.

“To have three cars now running will see the rate of physical development for this exceptional hypercar increase exponentially.

“Both Max and Alex were both really positive of the direction that we’re currently taking and could see that the ingredients for an exceptionally high-performing car are already there ready to be untapped.

“To have that second opinion and validation doesn’t mean the hard work is done already, but this is a great step on our journey”. 

Deliveries are targetted to begin in the second half of this year. That’ll make for just under a four-year turnaround, from the reveal of the initial design buck, to keys in customers hands. Not bad given the ambitiousness of the project.

You could sum up that ambitiousness with a passing reference to the Valkyrie’s Cosworth V12 and its five-figure rev limit. You can hear that being put to the test in the embedded raw Instagram video below, shared by Aston’s Director of Design, Miles Nurnberger, or Red Bull’s video above, of the F1 drivers having a go.

The goal for the Adrian Newey-designed hypercar was for it to be, literally, generations ahead of anything else in terms of performance. Initial claims were of lap times comparable to Formula 1, and downforce comparable to LMP1 Le Mans prototypes. 

In performance terms, Vertappen’s assessment that it’s “pretty different” could be something of an understatement. Alex Albon’s claim that “it definitely reacts closer to an F1 car than a normal road car,” is probably more like it. 

We now know the Aston will be putting its fastest foot forward in the Le Mans Hypercar class in the WEC, the replacement for LMP1. It’s likely no coincidence, then, that the Valkyrie’s first outings onto a real-world race track happen to be the track where it will get its competitive debut.

It’s due to line up on the grid of the 2020 Silverstone Six Hours in September for its first taste of racing, and our first taste of the eagerly-awaited Le Mans Hypercar class.

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