Aston Martin, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and project partner AF Racing have been working intensively to further develop the Valkyrie hypercar’s aerodynamics, body styling and cockpit packaging.
As Matt Hill, Aston Martin’s creative director of interiors, said of the Valkyrie’s cockpit design, “It’s been a tremendous challenge to make the interior packaging work. We’ve embraced Red Bull Racing’s Formula One ethos and approached from a different angle than conventional road car design. In this instance, we’ve started from a position where you think something is impossible and work at it until you find a way to make it work. “We’ve been fighting for millimetres everywhere, but the battle has been worth it, as it’s been fantastic seeing customers try the interior buck for size. They love the ritual of getting in and how it feels to be sat behind the wheel. They’re also genuinely surprised at how the car just seems to swallow them. You really do have to sit in it to believe there is genuine space for two large adults.” The teardrop-shaped cockpit’s upper body surfaces and lower tub contours are described by the designers as following the envelope of space available between the huge full-length Venturi tunnels that run either side of the cockpit floor. “Drawing huge quantities of air beneath the car to feed the rear diffuser, these tunnels are the key to generating the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s extraordinary levels of downforce while keeping the upper body surfaces free from additional aerodynamic devices that would spoil the purity of the styling. “To maximise interior space the seats are mounted directly to the tub, with occupants adopting a reclined ‘feet-up’ position reminiscent of today’s Formula One and Le Mans Prototype race cars, ensuring driver and passenger are extremely safe, perfectly supported and feel completely at one with the car. A four-point harness comes as standard, while an optional six-point harness will be offered for those who intend to do more track driving.” Keen to keep distractions to a minimum and focus the driver on the road ahead, the design team decided to locate all switchgear on the steering wheel, with the vital signs shown on a single OLED display screen. The steering wheel is also detachable, both to aid ingress and egress, and to serve as an additional security device. Great attention has been taken with the glasshouse design to ensure forward and peripheral side-to-side vision is virtually uninterrupted. “To avoid any unwanted aerodynamic disturbance or stylistic ‘clutter’, traditional door mirrors have been replaced by discreetly mounted rear facing cameras in each of the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s flanks. These feed two displays which are positioned at the base of each A-post to mimic the view provided by conventional door mirrors. The all-enveloping bodywork and roof-mounted engine air intake means there is no rear window, negating the requirement for a rearview mirror.” The essence of the original Aston Martin Valkyrie exterior design remains unchanged, but a pursuit of downforce and aerodynamic efficiency (by Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey) prompted many detail changes to the bodywork. One of the biggest changes in this latest model are openings in the body surface between the cockpit and front wheel arches. It was then the job of the design team to integrate these new apertures into the overall design and ensure they had aesthetic merit as well as aerodynamic function. While aerodynamics and downforce are “the dominant story”, Aston Martin Valkyrie features other attractive details. The headlights, for example, take inspiration from the pure functionality of a Formula One car’s components; and the same approach was taken with the Aston Martin “wings” badge that adorns the nose. “With the regular badge considered too heavy, and a simple sticker not befitting for a car of the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s quality and cutting-edge nature, the Aston Martin design team came up with a chemical etched aluminium badge just 70 microns thick. That’s 30 per cent thinner than a human hair, and a remarkable 99.4 per cent lighter than the regular enamel wings badge.” The badge (nicknamed the “lacewing”) is then attached to the painted body and covered with a perfectly smooth coat of lacquer.