The Aston Martin Valhalla has made its North American debut at this year’s Monterey Car Week, in the event’s highly exclusive “Quail” enclosure. The British brand’s McLaren Senna rival was first previewed in concept form at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, and is due for launch in 2021.
Production of the Aston Martin Valhalla will be strictly limited to 500 examples, with each costing around £1 million. The project is a collaborative effort between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing, borrowing technology from the latter company’s Formula One racing experience.
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The Valhalla shares some of its DNA with the Aston Martin Valkyrie, including the inspiration for its name. Both nameplates are derived from Norse mythology; according to legend, female figures known as “Valkyries” select the worthy souls of fallen warriors, and lead them to them to a palace-like afterlife, known as “Valhalla.”
Technology-wise, the Valhalla adopts the Valkyrie’s wide, exposed front bumper, pronounced haunches and large rear bumper. Like the Valkyrie, it’s based on a carbon fibre monocoque and clad in carbon fibre panels to keep weight to a minimum. Despite this, Aston’s design director Miles Nurnberger said the Valhalla is a “distillation of the Valkyrie and not a dilution.”
The Valhalla features a range of active aerodynamic fixtures to deliver “outstanding” levels of downforce, including a new technology called FlexFoil. The tech, which is a first for a production car, has been validated by NASA and is used on the car’s rear wing to improve the amount of downforce generated by physically altering the shape of the wing at speed.
Following the launch of the Valhalla 003 Concept, Aston boss Dr. Andy Palmer told Auto Express: “People will view Valkyrie in the same context as LaFerrari and Senna – its not. It’s a different world altogether. I don’t think there has ever been a car like Valkyrie and I don’t think there will ever be again, because legislation won't allow it.
“The 003 is the bridge – it’s in the £1million area so does directly compete with Senna and LaFerrari. It uses Valkyrie technology and aerodynamic construction and matches that with a V6 which will be used in our Ferrari 488 competitor.”
Aston Martin is yet to announce full performance and engine specifications for its new hypercar, but it has confirmed the Valhalla is driven by a turbocharged V6 petrol engine and a battery-electric hybrid system. It’s expected to be paired with a KERS system, similar to that found on Formula One cars, to boost performance under hard acceleration.
As the Valhalla has been designed as a road car, its interior features several changes over the Valkyrie’s. A section of the roof has been incorporated into the dihedral doors to make getting in and out easier, while a redesigned 3D-printed centre console gives passengers more shoulder room.
A digital instrument cluster sits atop the steering column, while Aston Martin’s solution to in-car entertainment is to “bring your own,” with the Valhalla offering a smartphone mount in place of an integrated infotainment system for maximum “simplicity and flexibility.”
The Valhalla is the latest “V-badged” car in the British brand’s line-up, following a seventy-year tradition dating back to the high performance variant of the 1951 Aston Martin DB2, which was unofficially badged as the Vantage. Since the fifties, a host of “V-badged” cars have joined the fold, including the Virage, the Vanquish, the Vulcan and the Valkyrie.
Palmer added: “The ultimate mid engine car is an F1 car, but I didn’t fancy running an F1 team – Red Bull is a perfect partner for us. We have a design studio on the Red Bull site and have 130 engineers based there doing advanced engineering for the cars. So the legitimacy of our mid-engine range comes with working with [Red Bull F1 designer] Adrian Newey and the team and the osmosis of having your lunch with an F1 team.”
Palmer also recently hinted on social media that the Aston Martin Valhalla could feature in the forthcoming James Bond film. Whether or not it will be driven by Bond himself is yet to be confirmed.
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