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Aston Martin Valkyrie gets a track package, moves closer to production-ready

Aston Martin continues to trickle out news for the upcoming Valkyrie hypercar, and today it’s telling us about an AMR Performance Track Pack that will be on offer. We’ve previously told you about the Valkyrie AMR Pro, which is a track-only version of the car Aston intends to build. This new package will be on offer to the 150 lucky folks who will be buying the road-going version of the Valkyrie.

The Track Pack consists of a new front clam producing greater downforce, a second set of exterior body panels, a track-focused suspension lowered by 2 inches, titanium braking components and magnesium wheels with carbon fiber discs covering them. All this results in lap times that are supposed to be 8 percent quicker than the standard car — an impressive improvement over a car with bonkers performance to begin with. The only catch you might ask? With the Track Pack accessories fitted, the Valkyrie loses its road-legal status like the AMR Pro. You’ll need to hand the car over to Aston for them to put it back to street-spec after your track day is done.

Aston Martin also announced some customization options that will be available for the car. The only limit here is your pocketbook, folks, as Aston’s personalization program, Q by Aston Martin, will be helping buyers make the cars exactly the way they’d like. Four designer spec themes will be offered to those not interested in total custom work. Wherever you see paint or trim, carbon fiber is most likely possible. Colors and material choices on the interior will be up to your imagination, as well. The wildest option available appears to be the Gold Pack, wherein 24-carat gold livery is laid under the paint. Check out all the pictures of custom examples Aston has come up with on its simulator up above — this is going to be one sweet car, not to mention the 1,000 horsepower 6.5-liter Cosworth V12 that revs to 11,100 rpm.

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Cosworth briefly crows that Aston Valkyrie’s 6.5L V12 has record horsepower

It’s only natural that Cosworth would want the world to know that it’s building the world’s most powerful naturally-aspirated engine for the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro. The timing of when the world should know about it, that’s at issue. Yesterday the English engine maker’s official Twitter account posted a picture of the barely-there coupe and the line, “We’re famous for breaking records and our latest engine, the Aston Martin Valkyrie 6.5-litre V12, will be the world’s most powerful naturally aspirated road engine with 1,130bhp.” Two tags accompanied the post, #Cosworth and #AstonMartinValkyrie. About 90 minutes later, the tweet disappeared.

The likely issue is that Cosworth got ahead of Aston Martin’s official confirmation of Valkyrie outputs, something we’re more used to from patent offices and Chinese model makers. The question is what output is Cosworth really talking about, and which car.

All of last year, however, various reports had the street-legal Valkyrie making 1,130 hp. A Road & Track report attributed “nearly 1,000 hp” coming from the NA V12, the remaining 130 from a kinetic energy recovery system working the front axle. Hence, we’re not sure if Cosworth’s talking about its own engine alone at 1,130 hp, or its engine with the KERS. But then there’s this: At the launch of the Valkyrie AMR Pro during the Geneva Motor Show this year, Aston Martin said the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro would enjoy “a combined power output of more than 1100 bhp — more than the Valkyrie road car and a figure than comfortably exceeds the magic 1:1 power-to-weight ratio.”

The truth’s a mystery for now, which is just as Aston Martin would want it. If Cosworth’s engine really does make 1,130 hp on its own, that would be monstrous, and it would mean the automaker’s been playing a serious game of English understatement. Even if Cosworth included the hybrid help, however, an NA V12 with 1,000 ponies would take the crown. The only competition is the 6.5-liter V12 in the Ferrari 812 Superfast, and that’s 211 horses adrift. The quad-digit figures expected from Mercedes-AMG Project One and McLaren Speedtail require turbochargers, as does the just-teased V8 going into the Shelby Tuatara.

With the first of 150 Valkyrie road car deliveries scheduled for next year, we probably don’t have that much longer to wait to find out.

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Aston Martin Valkyrie could beat that new Nurburgring record, Red Bull F1 boss says

During last weekend’s Austrian Formula 1Grand Prix, Race Fans asked Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner about the Aston Martin Valkyrie. The question was whether the coming hypercar, a collaboration between Red Bull and title sponsor Aston Martin, could beat the stunning lap record around the Nürburgring just set by the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo. Horner’s answer: “I’m not sure a Formula 1 car could actually do it, but I think that the Valkyrie — certainly the track version of the Valkyrie — could be a contender.” That’s a qualified endorsement, but it still counts as support merely putting the Valkyrie AMR Pro in the conversation.

Let’s compare, shall we? The 919 Hybrid Evo is based on the 2017 World Endurance Championship-winning 919 Hybrid. Freed from motorsport regulations, Porsche Motorsport upgraded numerous performance bits. The 2.0-liter, turbocharged V-four-cylinder went from 500 hp to 720 hp. The two KERS units went from 400 hp to 440 hp. We don’t have a figure for downforce, but items like active aero, a larger front diffuser, optimized turning vanes, and larger rear wing increased downforce by 53 percent over the WEC car, at the same time being 66 percent more aero efficient. It weighs 849 kg dry, or 1,868 pounds because Porsche threw out everything that didn’t contribute to speed.

The Valkyrie specs we know of so far state a weight of 1,000 kilograms, or 2,200 pounds. Powering that is a custom, naturally aspirated, 6.5-liter AMR Cosworth V12 with more than 900 horsepower, augmented by a kinetic energy recovery system contributing around 230 hp. According to Autocar’s sources, the Valkyrie could generate up to 4,000 pounds of downforce at an aerodynamically-limited 225 miles per hour. That boggling number comes courtesy of Adrian Newey’s prowess at making changes such as openings between the front wheel arches and the cockpit that work the front wing harder. The two-seater coupe’s unrestricted top speed is 254 mph.

Note, though, that the Valkyrie AMR Pro will be more powerful, lighter, and could have even more downforce. And since Aston Martin and Newey continue to work on the hypercar, specs could get even better before deliveries begin. Right now, Horner’s suggestion doesn’t seem all that outrageous.

We’ll also wait to see if the Mercedes-AMG Project One pokes its nose in the ring, too. Not long ago, AMG chief Tobias Moers said it’s “reasonable to speculate” the F1-inspired hypercar could claim an absolute lap record around the ‘Ring. But that was before Porsche went ahead and did it. Even if Aston Martin and Mercedes-AMG don’t put up an official challenge, we’ll probably get an idea of what’s possible when the FIA’s new “Hypercar” class begins racing in 2021.

FIA introduces ‘Hypercar Concept’ for World Endurance Championship

One of the most common jabs at hypercars is the question, “Where can you drive them to their potential?” Imagine the answer being: to the checkered flag in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We’re not there yet, but the FIA World Motor Sport Council took a step closer to the possibility during its second annual meeting in Manila, the Philippines. One of three initiatives the WSMC announced for the 2020 World Endurance Championship was “Freedom of design for brands based on a ‘Hypercar’ concept.” This “Hypercar concept” would replace LMP1 as the premier class in the WEC.

The dream, of course, would be seeing racing versions of the AMG Project One, Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro, Bugatti Chiron, Koenigsegg Regera, McLaren Senna GTR, Pagani Huara BC, and the rest of the gang trading paint and carbon fiber through Dunlop in a heinously expensive version of “Buy on Sunday, sell on Monday.” The reality is that we don’t have all the details yet on the set of regulations called “GTP,” but the FIA wants race cars more closely tied to road cars, albeit with the performance level of today’s LMP1 cars.

Exterior design freedom would shelter internals designed to reduce costs, the FIA planning to mandate less complex hybrid systems and allow the purchase of spec systems. One of the FIA’s primary goals is lowering LMP1 budgets to a quarter of their present levels. Audi and Porsche budgets exceeded $200 million, while Toyota – the only factory LMP1 entry this year and next – is assumed to have a budget hovering around $100 million. Reports indicated that Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford, McLaren, and Toyota sat in on the development of the proposed class. If the FIA can get costs down to around $25 million, that would compare running a top IndyCar team and have to be hugely appealing to the assembled carmakers.

The initiative represents another cycle of the roughly once-a-decade reboot of sports car racing to counter power or cost concerns. The FIA shut down Group 5 Special Production Sports Car class in 1982 to halt worrying power hikes, and introduced Group C. In 1993, Group C came to an ignoble end over costs; manufacturers were spending $15 million on a season, back when that was real money and not one-fifth of a Ferrari 250 GTO. Then came the BPR Global GT Series that morphed into the FIA GT Championship, which would see the last not-really-a-road car take overall Le Mans victory in 1998, the Porsche 911 GT1. That era would be most aligned with a future hypercar class. After that, the FIA created the LMP classes that would take those previous stellar budgets supernova.

We’ll get more details on the proposal next week when the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the Le Mans organizer that worked with the FIA on the ideas, hold’s its pre-Le Mans press conference.

Elsewhere on the WMSC docket, the FIA approved aero changes to 2019 Formula 1 cars to improve overtaking. An even bigger shock: the FIA World Rallycross Championship will go electric-only from 2020. The WRX will use silhouette cars provided by Oreca, powered by two 500-kW electric motors sourced from Williams Engineering, and a common battery. Ex-World Rally Championship maestro Sebastien Loeb, now a World Rallycross team owner and driver, said of that move, “We don’t dream about electric cars, but if the future for all cars is to be electric then it’s normal that we’d make the swap. And in this case I think Rallycross is the best series to do it because it’s very short, you have a lot of power, very fast cars and an intense fight…”

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Aston Martin working on mid-engine Valkyrie ‘brother’ to rival McLaren P1

We know about the Aston Martin Valkyrie and the Valkyrie AMR Pro (pictured). And we know Aston Martin is planning a mid-engine rival for the Ferrari 488 and McLaren 720S. Now Autocar reports that the English luxury maker is working on yet another mid-engine model, a hypercar to outdo the McLaren P1 and Ferrari LaFerrari and stand up to the coming McLaren BP23. The newest addition to the small carmaker’s grand plans is said to be known internally as “brother of the Valkyrie,” and came about because of the sellout success of both the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro.

Both “brother of Valkyrie” and the 488 competitor are expected to use a carbon monococque with aluminum subframes. Both will use lessons from Aston Martin’s tie-up with the Red Bull Formula 1 team, especially in packaging. Both are due to hit the market around 2021. And both will be products of the carmaker’s Performance Design and Engineering Centre, a base of 130 engineers set up at Red Bull F1’s Milton Keyes headquarters. However, the former car will fight in the £1M-plus price bracket ($1.4M-plus) where various manufacturers have made amazing hay with warp-speed daily drivers, and will be a limited edition “in order to add to its desirability.”

We remain in the dark on powertrains for both cars, but outsiders expect both to use a V8. When it comes to the “brother” car, Aston Martin’s working relationship with Mercedes-AMG means it could tap the 4.0-liter V8 used by the DB11 and the Vantage. Apparently that engine can be wrung out to 800 horsepower with help from an ultimate EQ Boost setup. That still wouldn’t be enough to compete in the segment, though, so the “brother” could become a demonstrator for Aston Martin’s electric know-how — a rolling showcase that could turn its halo light on a potential electric sports car. Or perhaps there’s another option that turns to Cosworth, the company helping develop the 1,000-hp 6.5-liter V12 in the Valkyrie.

Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer wouldn’t say much more about the junior supercar powertrain than, “In our portfolio today, we don’t have an engine capable of giving us the output we require. Whether through collaboration with AMG or whether by ourselves, we have to find an answer.” He told Australian outlet Motoring that it would involve hybrid assistance with power as the aim and “a fringe benefit on efficiency.” That sounds a much more likely case for the AMG motor, where an 800-hp ceiling gives Aston Martin room to tone things down and still bare fangs at rivals. As an aside, the Vanquish is expected to “move into true front-engined supercar territory,” which will make brand space for every offering in the lineup.

Aston Martin raided its main competitors’ personnel departments last year to give it the best chance of beating those competitors. Last year Max Swaj, who was head of innovation and body structures at Ferrari and Maserati, and Joerg Ross, who was head of advanced engines at the two Italian camakers, jumped ship for England along with a third, unnamed engineer. Then it nabbed Chris Goodwin, McLaren’s test driver of 20 years, to provide the kind of feedback that’s made superstars of the 675LT and 720S, and who was last photographed in the McLaren BP23 due next year.

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Aston Martin Valkyrie gets insane 1,100-horsepower AMR Pro model

We still have yet to see the final production version of the road-going Aston Martin Valkyrie hypercar, but that hasn’t stopped Aston from creating an even more extreme version of the already radical car. It’s called the Valkyrie AMR Pro, and it’s lighter, more powerful, has more downforce, and is only for use on the track.

Powering the Valkyrie AMR Pro is a version of the standard car’s naturally aspirated hybrid V12. In this guise, Aston says it produces 1,100 horsepower, more than the standard car. That engine won’t have much to carry around, either, since Aston is aiming to have the Valkyrie AMR Pro weight just about 1,000 kilograms, or about 2,200 pounds. To hit that weight, Aston is using lighter carbon fiber for the body, carbon fiber control arms, a lighter exhaust, polycarbonate windows, molded seats, and it has removed the HVAC fan and infotainment system. Fortunately, Aston is including heater elements in the windows so that they don’t fog up in wet or cool weather.

The Valkyrie AMR Pro’s body shape is different, too, and it has been changed to increase downforce. It has usual changes such as large front and rear wings. It also has a tall center fin like that found on prototype and F1 race cars. The body itself is wider, too. All told, Aston expects the car to produce over 2,200 pounds of downforce. The combination of all these performance enhancements means the car can achieve a claimed top speed of 225 mph, as well as cornering forces of over 3G.

Aston Martin didn’t reveal pricing, but it doesn’t matter. Aston already sold all 25 Valkyrie AMR Pros it will build. The company says that they’ll be delivered sometime in 2020.

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