The world of ultra-high performance cars is a strange one. Stratospheric prices and small production runs mean that few will ever see one on the go; fewer still experience one from the driver's seat. The merciless march of progress pushes their specs longer and longer to the edge; 400hp could have been more than you ever needed in the 1970s, but would now be barely in a sporting sedan. And they often act as harbingers for the imminent global disaster – just look at the time of Ferrari Daytona or McLaren F1.
In the present era, we had to find a new expression to describe these four-wheeled exotics. To call them superbiles no longer enough, so now we have hypercar. A couple of years ago, McLaren, Ferrari and Porsche kicked off with a trio of hybrids, each costing more than one million dollars and nearly 1,000 horsepower.
As you can imagine in this form of weaponry, the next tranche of hypercars will be even more powerful and even more expensive. Each of the three largest currently has a connection to Formula 1. Mercedes-Benz has taken its many championship winning hybrid propulsion and packed it into a two-sided body, which calls it Project One. McLaren, who has a Formula One team, has barely taken his 3-person layout from his almighty F1 in the 1990s to Speedtail. And Aston Martin has merged with Red Bull and the legendary designer Adrian Newey to Valkyrie.
There has been much speculation about the latter. We have a good idea of how it will look when Aston Martin started sharing some images, even though it was called RB-001. But there was much more mystery about the engine and the hybrid system. Well, Tuesday we got a little more info. It will actually have a V12 petrol engine paired with an unannounced hybrid system. And that the V12 should be quite a motor.
Built by another F1 legend-Cosworth Engineering-it's a naturally aspirated 6.5L V12 with a 65˚ bench angle. At 10,500 rpm Minut it will generate 1,000hp (746kW), with another 500rpm to go before the reef limiter kicks in. Peak torque arrives a bit before that, 545lb-ft (740Nm) at 7000rpm. And if that sounds low, remember that there will be some electric motors to boost things even higher. And it does everything that meets the emission rules at the same time.
Many of the engine's internal systems are machined by metal blocks, such as the titanium structures, F1-spec pistons and a crankshaft that takes six months to make, starting as a solid steel bar of 6.7 inches (170 mm) in diameter and 30.5 inches 775mm) long. As with all F1 cars since Lotus 49 back in 1968, the engine is a fully stressed member, which means it is bolted directly to the firepath behind the cockpit.
Only 150 Valkyries will be built, with deliveries starting in 2020.
Lists picture of Aston Martin