It looks like Aston Martin is finally going ahead with the production of its long-announced hypercar, the Valkyrie. Thanks to the heavy investment of the Stroll family, the all-singing, all-dancing, Adrian Newey beast is destined for the road. But what’s this? AM pulled a rabbit from their hat at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and rolled out the Aston Martin Valkyrie Spider.
Now, as many of you know, I’ve got a thing for convertibles. They work in so many ways. But, above a certain speed, I like the idea of having a roof over my head. And given the speed and performance potential of the Aston Martin Valkyrie, I might consider two roofs.
To get everybody up to speed, the Aston Martin Valkyrie is the brainchild of Adrian Newey, the F1 aerodynamicist and technical director who has had success everywhere he’s worked. March, Leyton House, Williams, McLaren, and now Red Bull: they wouldn’t be where they are today, with rooms filled with trophies, if Adrian Newey didn’t put them there. But, like a lot of race car designers, he’s always wanted to do a road car. Enter the Aston Martin Valkyrie.
A lot of boutique exotic car companies throw around terms like “comparable experience to that of an F1 car” and “cutting-edge of hypercar design and engineering,” but when Newey says it, you better believe it. And when Aston Martin opens up the bank account, you better take it seriously.
Engine & Powertrain
But just how seriously? The engine room is the best place to start: specifically, a hybrid V12 powertrain putting out nearly 1,200 horsepower. And then the bodywork, which is carbon fiber everything. There are huge, full-length Venturi tunnels that run either side of the cockpit floor that produce extraordinary levels of downforce, and I do mean extraordinary: greater than 3,000 lbs. of downforce at 150 mph, to be exact. Take the roof off, and the Valkyrie Spider will reach a top speed of 205 mph; put it back on, and the Valkyrie Spider will hit 217 mph.
When Aston Martin said the Valkyrie Spider is capable of “delivering LMP1 levels of performance,” they were not exaggerating.
“Right from the very beginning of the Aston Martin Valkyrie project, we were driven by exacting targets that went way beyond any previous road car, and the Valkyrie Spider brings that same ethos to the open cockpit hypercar category,” Newey explained. “What you see is a simple removable roof panel, but the challenge of remaining true to the Valkyrie concept was anything but.”
Precise Design & Engineering
In other words, they didn’t just hack off a section of the roof and call it good. For starters, they had to re-do the doors from the hardtop’s gullwing entrances to the Spider’s flip forward and out gates. What’s not so obvious are the revisions to its carbon-fiber structure, the recalibration of the active aerodynamic and active chassis systems, and the overall design and integration of the roof (comprised of a carbon fiber central panel and a pair of polycarbonate roof windows, hinged on either side). There are also modifications to the carbon-fiber tub.
“Maintaining aerodynamic performance with the roof removed was of paramount importance, likewise keeping any unavoidable weight gains to an absolute minimum whilst maximizing enjoyment for the driver,” Newey said.
Aston Martin Valkyrie Spider Availability
Aston Martin won’t be making many, but more than I expected, with 85 examples rolling out of the shops in Gaydon, UK, with first deliveries scheduled for the second half of 2022. The Aston Martin Valkyrie Spider will be available in either left or right-hand drive, depending on your preferences.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.