It's been a little while since we heard anything about the Aston Martin Valhalla, but the British brand has been busy behind the scenes making it a reality, and with some high-profile help.
In an update about the incoming hypercar, Aston has talked about all the virtual work that's gone on to advance the Valhalla's handling, with 90 per cent of "dynamic characteristics and vehicle set-up" completed in the simulator, something Aston Martin F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll - son of Aston boss Lawrence Stroll - have provided "valuable input" for.
"The elite level skills and knowledge of drivers like Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso can take vehicle dynamics to a new level as they continue to push the car to the extreme edge of its performance capabilities," Aston reckons. We wouldn't be surprised if at least one of the pair gets involved with final testing, which will begin soon - the first working prototype is taking to the road later in 2023, ahead of a 2024 production start.
To go with the news, there's also a fresh batch of images. It looks to be much the same from the outside, but the interior has been further developed, gaining a new steering wheel and a tablet-style infotainment system. The cabin also gets F1-inspired ergonomics, including a false floor to raise the driver's heels, and a carbon fibre bucket seat that reclines heavily to echo the driving position of Aston's AMR23 F1 car.
Aston first showed a Valhalla concept four and a half years ago, and it was intended to be a lightly watered-down Valkyrie. The hypercar returned a good while later later looking entirely different, featuring a huge vaned grille at the front and using a different platform.
Originally, an Aston Martin-developed 120-degree V6 dubbed the ‘TME’ was touted as the primary power source. We later learned that Aston Martin had “no plans to complete the V6 programme,” partly because it’d be tricky for it to comply with incoming EU7 emissions regulations. The production car will instead use a 4.0-litre, twin-turbo, flat-plane V8. It’s good for 740bhp and revs to 7200rpm.
Sound familiar? It should: the Mercedes-AMG GT Black Series uses an engine of that configuration with a little less power. Although the press release merely refers to the Valhalla’s engine as a “bespoke” unit an Aston spokesperson confirmed it’s related to the AMG lump.
It will have been radically reworked for this mid-engined layout, and it drives the rear wheels via a new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. There’s no reverse gear, a weight-saving measure made possible by the two motors coming into play whenever you need to back it up.
They’re pretty helpful when driving forward, too, bringing the total power output to 937bhp. There’s one motor for the front axle, which is used in the car’s electric-only mode, and another at the rear. Aston Martin hasn’t said how big the battery pack is yet, but with an electric-only range of nine miles, we reckon it’ll be smaller than the ~7kWh units fitted to the Ferrari 296 GTB and McLaren Artura.
In its EV mode, the Valhalla can travel up to 80mph. Or if the V8 is firing away, you can hit 217mph, dispatching 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds on the way there. Aston Martin is also targeting a 6min 30sec Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time.
The V8 and its electrical counterparts all sit in a brand-new carbon fibre tub. At the front of this is a motorsport-style pushrod suspension setup which places the dampers inboard, with the height-adjustable shocks themselves coming from Ford GT manufacturers Multimatic.
Rather than litter the Valhalla with ungainly wings and other aero devices, Aston Martin has opted for more subtle but still incredibly effective methods to reduce lift. Thanks in large part to underbody management of airflow in conjunction with massive venturi tunnels, the Valhalla generates 600kg of downforce at 150mph. Again, there's some F1 input at play here.
Want one? The last time we checked, the Valhalla's price was going to be around £580,000 plus taxes, but we suspect that figure has been punched some way north since then. Production will be capped at 999 units.