Dubbed as the "brother of the Valkyrie", the car's goal is to establish a new benchmark for hypercars in 2021
Jim Holder
12 March 2018

Aston Martin is working on a hitherto secret project with the Red Bull F1 team to launch a mid-engined car to eclipse the LaFerrari and McLaren P1, Autocar can reveal.

The car, known as the “brother of the Valkyrie” by its development team, has been given the internal development goal of establishing a new benchmark for hypercars in the £1m price bracket in around 2021, ahead of any of the established players re-entering the market.

Both the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 were launched in 2013 and, while production of both has ceased, such halo cars are typically replaced at extended intervals. The gap between the launch of the Enzo and the LaFerrari was 11 years and, were such a gap repeated, it would mean the Aston-Red Bull car stealing a march on them.

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro unveiled

Confirming the project, Aston boss Andy Palmer said: “It’s correct - we have more than one mid-engined project underway - more than two, if you count the Valkyrie. This new project will draw on all the know-how we’ve taken from the Valkyrie, as well as some of its visual identity and engineering capability, and bring it to a new sector of the market.”

As the “brother of the Valkyrie” name suggests the opportunity to develop the second, ultra high-performance car with Red Bull has been made possible by the success of Aston’s initial collaboration with the F1 team, led by Adrian Newey. While it is loosely termed a hypercar, Valkyrie’s performance will be far in excess of any production car previously sold, putting it in a different league to the likes of the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 and even - its makers insist - newer special editions such as the McLaren Senna and potentially the Senna GTR.

There has been huge demand for the limited edition Valkyrie and its track-only AMR spin-off - both of which are sell outs despite price tags ranging from £2m-£3m, and despite the first cars not reaching customers until 2019. Consequently, Aston Martin has extended its co-operation with the Red Bull Formula 1 team to launch this new, £1m car project.

It is not clear how much the “brother of Valkyrie” and Aston’s upcoming, more mainstream 488-rival - set to launch in 2021 - will share in common beyond their basic layout, but it is expected that the former will launch as a halo product to showcase Aston’s skills in the mid-engined supercar market. Consequently, the “brother of Valkyrie” will likely be sold in extremely limited numbers, in order to add to its desirability: 499 LaFerrari’s were made, with 210 open-top LaAperta models later added to the run.

Aston Martin Valkyrie revealed 

It is likely both cars will use an all-new chassis architecture using a new carbonfibre monocoque and similar aluminium subframes, created using the knowhow developed during the manufacture of the Valkyrie.

However, Palmer declined to be drawn on the likely powertrain that will be used by the “brother of Valkyrie”, although there has been speculation that it could also be used as a halo project to showcase the electrified technology that Aston will bring to market around that time, albeit with a high-performance rather than efficiency focus. As such, a collaboration with shareholder Mercedes’s AMG arm is possible, as is an extension of the working relationship with Cosworth, which is developing the 1000+bhp 6.5-litre V12 in the Valkyrie. Either way, it is likely to use a V8 configuration.

The car’s development also underlines why long-time McLaren development driver Chris Goodwin switched camps at the end of last year, with the specific brief to hone Valkyrie now becoming a much longer-term role that puts him at the heart of the Aston and Red Bull tie up. Both projects also raise the prospect of taking him back into frontline racing, including a potential Le Mans project if he so chooses.

The creation of the “brother of Valkyrie” also raises the prospects of Aston Martin and Red Bull working together long-term on numerous road car projects. Aston boss Andy Palmer revealed to Autocar that as part of the arrangement for the second project he has set up a campus at Red Bull’s Milton Keynes facility for around 130 staff to work fulltime.

“We are laying down some pretty deep roots with Red Bull,” said Palmer. “It is a base that will be known as our Performance Design and Engineering Centre and that gives the perfect clue as to the kind of projects that will be developed there. Perhaps the biggest indications of our intentions is that our office is next door to Adrian’s.”

Aston has already recruited heavily in preparation for launching its 488 rival, which will go on sale in 2021. Development is being set up by Max Szwaj, who joined Aston from Ferrari as chief technical officer, and Palmer said that the car was being developed with an eye very firmly on the latest offering from Maranello.

“There are arguments that the McLaren 720S is the better car to drive, but we are aiming at the Ferrari because it strikes us as the most desirable package,” said Palmer. “The Ferrari has incredible dynamics and jaw-dropping looks - it has everything, and that has to be our goal, especially with our mantra that every Aston must be the most desirable in its class.

“That’s a challenge to Marek [Reichmann, head of design] and Max and their teams, of course - but they all have the track records in producing visual drama, handling and performance. They are two inspirational leaders, and they have built dream teams around themselves to deliver what we want, recruiting from Alfa, Ferrari and Maserati to ensure the chassis, engine and shape of the car are the best there are.

Palmer has also previously revealed to Autocar that the 488 rival will have an all-new powertrain, but he remains cagey on specifics. The price differential to the “brother of Valkyrie" means that it may not employ hybrid technology, or use as bespoke a powerplant, although McLaren has shown that such a strategy can be possible. “In our portfolio today, we don’t have an engine capable of giving us the output we require,” he told Autocar. “Whether through collaboration with AMG or whether by ourselves, we have to find an answer.”

The 488 rival will be built in Gaydon alongside the DB11, the Vantage and the Vanquish, which is to move into true front-engined supercar territory when it is revealed later this year. Also planned is the DBX SUV for 2019, to be built at Aston’s new factory in St Athan, Wales, and two Lagonda models; a saloon is likely first, in 2020, followed by an SUV in 2022.

Such is Aston’s rate of growth that it currently has around 400 job vacancies open, mostly in engineering. Palmer confirmed that part of the appeal of spreading the firm’s base to Milton Keynes and St Athan was that it was no longer vying with neighbour Jaguar Land Rover to attract talent. “We’re enjoying incredible growth, but we have to be innovative in attracting the talent to do that,” he said. “But the key point is that Aston is getting more desirable by the day - we are proving to everyone that we are a serious player.”

Read more 

Aston Martin's St Athan plant on course for 2018 DBX prototype production

Aston Martin Rapide S review 

Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro unveiled 

Aston Martin Valkyrie revealed 

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Comments
12

12 March 2018

 The Valkyrie is function over form, each part is designed to do a specific job, beauty, line, shape, passion does not come into its USP.

Peter Cavellini.

13 March 2018

We laughed at Dany Bahar's plans with Lotus, and they were generally tame by comparison to Aston's plans.

 

DB11 was well received, but it's honeymoon period is over.   They're spending money they don't have on Red Bull Racing.   Trying to start a new factory in Wales to produce an SUV that hasn't been market tested.   And there's at least two mid-engined cars being developed beyond the Valkyrie. 

 

V8 Vantage has polarised opion.   Many hate the new look.   If the DB11 had a short honeymoon period, this one will be fleating.

 

And the new Vanquish too.

 

Under Andy Palmer and designer Marek Reichman, Aston doesn't necessarily face a brilliant future.   Ambitious, yes, but there has to be more substance to their sales, and ability to create a desireable product.

 

12 March 2018

In McLaren's case hypercars are a regular feature. First the P1 in 2013, then the Senna this year and then the BP23 later on this year.

12 March 2018

 Have we reached the limit now?, Cars can’t go much faster safely with a Human interface, a Human can’t process fast enough to cope.......

Peter Cavellini.

12 March 2018

5:00 m/s is achievable @ NBR. Then after that, the probability would be autonomous vehicles.  

/EX

12 March 2018
I've spent 20 years really not liking Aston, what with an overly generic design and a hideously laboured Bond thing.

But blimey, it is hard to fault where they are now, and where they are heading. Suddenly very formidable.

24 March 2018
eseaton wrote:

I've spent 20 years really not liking Aston, what with an overly generic design and a hideously laboured Bond thing. But blimey, it is hard to fault where they are now, and where they are heading. Suddenly very formidable.

I absolutely get what you're saying.  I've commented so many times on here of Aston's mainstream cars, if any Aston may be called mainstream, that they just keep making the same car over and over, so it's a real change for the better to see them break that mould and move in a new direction.  I think the partnership with Red Bull Racing has given Aston a fresh perspective and a shot of inspiration to break out from their safe zone.  I hope the evolution continues theoughout their range and the stagnation is a thing of the past.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

12 March 2018

Delighted to hear the positive news coming out of Aston Martin. Clearly their market segments are continuing to grow in size worldwide, and they can be confident over future growth. Delighted to hear about the large numbers of jobs being created and of course all the amazing new hardware that will be brought to life

I do hope this is all backed with committed shareholders, investment and capability and that Andy Palmer isn't doing a Dany Bahar x Lotus number on the industry. I've been impressed by Palmer (and team to date) and look forward to following their progress.

12 March 2018

I love the direction Aston are taking here. They've got a great heritage so there's no reason why they can't aim to be challenging Ferrari and Porsche at the absolute top of the tree. The Valkyrie is likely to be the halo car of all time. If it's as good as it promises to be there's no reason why they can't pull of a slightly sanitised version for around half the cash.

Great to see a British marque aiming so high.  

13 March 2018

 

There’s a gap in the range.  We need a hyper SUV.  Sub 7 minute Ring time, climbs Brecon Beacons, pulls a horse box, optional cage for your falcon, and you can bespeak upholstery incorporating Megan Fox’s discarded underwear, or indeed Beckham’s; in the 1%, taste knows no limits.  Not less than £1 million because we don’t want proles buying it.

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