Moving the hypercar game forward another three notches is Aston Martin’s Valkyrie. With Formula 1 engineering genius Adrian Newey playing an instrumental role in the aerodynamics of the car, and Red Bull funding this elaborate project, the car would stand head and shoulders above most hypercars, even if it were to use a four-cylinder out of a Ford Focus. Thankfully, that’s not the case as Aston Martin chose to develop a brand-new engine of incredible capabilities to power the Valkyrie.
There’s something exceptional about rolling piece of art, engineering exercise brought to life, this wing on wheels. It’s among some pretty punchy competition, though, and to set it apart from the crème de la crème, it sports a newly-developed 6.5-liter V12 that revs to the stratosphere.
To hear it is one of those things that makes it hard to walk for the rest of the day. ” Nothing sounds better or encapsulates the emotion and excitement of the internal combustion engine more completely,” Dr. Andy Palmer, Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive Officer, said of the engine.
Old-School F1 Meets New-World Sophistication
Evoking some of the charm and energy of atmospheric engines powering Formula 1 cars from the nineties, this sixty-five-degree V12 spits out 1,000 horsepower and 548 lb-ft of torque, and makes those outrageous figure sans turbochargers.
Compare that to the 2019 Dodge Challenger Hellcat 6.2-liter Hemi, which is supercharged, and develops almost 300 horsepower less than the Aston Martin V12 of nearly the same displacement. That’s some serious normally-aspirated power.
Down the road, there will be even more power with a supplementary electric motor system, the details of which are yet to be announced. What’s more, this old-school gem revs to 11,100 rpm. Read that again, and then remind yourself that this is a 6.5-liter motor that powers a car with license plates and turn signals.
Optimized for Weight Savings
The Cosworth-designed engine sports internal components machined from solid material. These include titanium conrods and F1-spec pistons. Not only does this allow the use of material with ideal properties, but the ultra-fine machining process means greater consistency and components optimized for minimum mass and maximum strength. On that note, the V12 weighs in at just 454 pounds. The optimization process is best seen in the machining of the crankshaft, which takes six months and eighty percent of the original steel bar is shed. In the end, this attention to detail and quality results in a crankshaft half the weight as the one in Aston’s One-77, their previous flagship.
A Complement to the Entire Car
Better yet, the engine is designed to complement the entire car. Like an F1 motor, it is a stressed member of the chassis, increasing rigidity. Remove the engine and there’s no substantive connection between the cockpit bulkhead to the transaxle and rear suspension. The level of sophistication here, blended with a traditional approach to making power must be praised. Somehow, it meets emissions regulations, and without any turbochargers to dull the exhaust note or hamper the drivability, this motor might—and I’m not Jeremy Clarkson, so I don’t like to use this phrase—be the best in the world.