Aston Martin Valkyrie, this is your life (so far): a timeline
Many revs, numerous delays, and the Le Mans car that wasn’t. Here’s the Valk’s story up until now
July 2016 – Meet the AM-RB 001
It’s summer 2016. The UK has just Brexited while the US is yet to crown a former reality show figure as its actual president. That’s how far back the Valkyrie’s life as we know it begins, when Aston Martin and Red Bull’s joint-effort hypercar first sees the light of day, albeit with a somewhat unsexy name. A mildly sanitised version of a car Adrian Newey designed for Gran Turismo, it goes without the ground effect fan but does promises 1,000bhp and 1,000 kilos. Game on. It’ll be ready by the end of 2018, we’re told…Advertisement - Page continues below
March 2017 – The Valkyrie name is born
Unsexy name fixed, as the AM-RB 001’s captcha code-esque moniker is smoothed out. “The Aston Martin Valkyrie is an incredibly special car that demands an equally remarkable name,” says Marek Reichman, Aston’s chief designer. “The connotations of power and honour – of being chosen by the Gods – are so evocative, and so pertinent to a car that only a fortunate few will ever experience.”
July 2017 – The production car lands
We get our cameras and notepads out in front of the Valkyrie in its production spec and can barely carry ourselves with appropriate decorum. “The Valkyrie isn’t a road car jacked up on F1 power figures, it’s an F1 car with its edges chamfered for the road,” says TopGear.com at the time. While there are no spec sheets, we learn that a 6.5-litre Cosworth V12 hooks up to an electric motor for 1,000bhp per tonne. It’ll cost £2.5m.Advertisement - Page continues below
March 2018 – The AMR Pro arrives
The track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro is revealed at the Geneva motor show in something of an Aston Martin product offensive. Red Bull’s Adrian Newey, a pivotal part of the project, says this: “The road car draws extensively from the knowledge I have gained during my career in Formula One. But the AMR Pro version has allowed me to work beyond the constraints of road legality, or indeed practicality.” An extreme car bears a yet more extreme spin-off.
December 2018 – We finally hear the engine
Turns out the car isn’t ready for sale by the end of 2018. But at least we get to hear its Cosworth engine at this point. And we’re drip-fed some firmer stats – on its own, the V12 produces 1,000bhp at 10,500rpm, 546lb ft at 7,000rpm and redlines at 11,100rpm.
January 2019 – The Track Performance Pack launches
If you didn’t manage to secure one of the 25 AMR Pro cars, but did whip down your deposit with requisite haste on a road-going Valk, then solace came with the option of adding a Track Performance Pack. It brings lightweight titanium brakes, 50mm lower suspension, more aero-focused wheels and – eek – ‘personalised pit accessories’ and a race suit to match your car. Even when surrounding a car as beautiful as this, the concepts of ‘money’ and ‘taste’ continue to have a fractious relationship.
March 2019 – Power output confirmed
We already know how much power the engine makes, but Aston suddenly has the good grace to feed us enough information on its supplementary e-motor for us to add them up to create total peaks of 1,160bhp and 664lb ft. Should be enough, huh?Advertisement - Page continues below
July 2019 – The Valkyrie laps Silverstone
Aston Martin test driver Chris Goodwin laps Silverstone in the first Verification Prototype of the Valkyrie during the 2019 British Grand Prix weekend, and exits in bullish spirits when asked he thinks the Valk can smash any Nürburgring lap records up. “I’d rather forget about all that,” he says. “We’ll just focus on making sure this thing has the correct ride, handling and powertrain performance.”
February 2020 – Red Bull’s drivers have a go
There are now two more prototypes, and somewhat bravely, Aston Martin keenly hands them over to a pair of Red Bull F1 drivers, namely Max Verstappen and Alex Albon. Max very succinctly describes the experience “a lot of fun”, while Alex opens up a tad more. “It’s light; it feels sharp. Sure, compared to an F1 car, you’re missing the outright downforce, but you still feel the Gs in the corners and it definitely reacts closer to an F1 car than a normal road car. It’s pretty special.”Advertisement - Page continues below
March 2020 – A Valkyrie hits the road
A prototype finally breaks free of the Silverstone paddock, though sticks close by, driving on local Northamptonshire roads. Bumpy, pernickety ones at that, as if to prove that yes, this really will be a car you can take out of its vacuum-packed storage in your wealthy supercar collection. Let’s cross our fingers most of the prospective owners are taking note.
March 2021 – We finally drive it… virtually
It’s approaching five years since the project debuted, and our first drive is yet to materialise. Luckily Aston lets us onto its £69,000 racing sim to try one made out of pixels. Which we promptly put into a pixelated gravel trap.
June 2021 – The AMR Pro officially launches
The AMR Pro turns from concept to reality, and with a slightly different look and higher 40-car production run. Aston had briefly dabbled with the idea of racing the Valkyrie at Le Mans, and this is basically the unused racecar, recycled but with the racing rulebooks binned. So it’s actually quicker. “The AMR Pro’s capabilities now exceed those of the machine designed to challenge for outright victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours,” Aston promises, targeting a 3m20s lap time around La Sarthe, which would put it right at the pointy end of LM24 qualifying.
July 2021 – Flat out at Goodwood
We not only see the stock Valk in motion away from Silverstone for the first time, but ride aboard with endurance racer Darren Turner as he pilots it up the Goodwood Hill in front of crowds jubilantly returning to the Festival of Speed. “My eyeballs are flattened into tiny Milky Bar Buttons, and the air squeezed from my lungs like a whoopee cushion,” says TG’s Jack Rix. It’s brisk, then.
Aug 2021 – Along comes the Spider
Is a convertible version of the most weight-focused hypercar of our era really appropriate? Well, at least infinite headroom is a little more befitting of the F1-car-for-the-road vibe. Aston confirms a run of 85 Valkyrie Spiders will supplement the 150 coupes and 40 AMR Pro editions, but doesn’t detail any weight gains brought about by its new door and roof panel setup.
Nov 2021 – The first customer car is complete
The first *actual* Valkyrie is complete ahead of customer deliveries a few weeks later. Just the three-ish years late, then, with then Aston boss Tobias Moers claiming the Valkyrie programme “has tested everyone who has worked on it to the limit.” Says a lot about just where the cars abilities must sit, then…