A 20-strong field of Formula 1 cars weren’t the only high performance machines to take to the track during this year’s British Grand Prix weekend: the Aston Martin Valkyrie hybrid hypercar also made an unexpected appearance at the Silverstone circuit.
While Aston Martin’s most extreme road car to date had already been seen on static display (a close-to-production-spec prototype was one of the many cars it taken to the Geneva Motor Show in March this year), the Valkyrie’s Silverstone dynamic debut was the first time it had been shown in public moving under its own power.
During the build-up to Saturday’s qualifying sessions for the 2019 Formula One British Grand Prix, Aston’s chief test driver Chris Goodwin took the first Valkyrie “verification prototype” (i.e. a development vehicle that will be used to fine-tune the customer cars) for a quick shakedown run around the “home of British motor racing”.
While Goodwin didn’t take the hardcore hypercar to the ragged edge around the GP circuit, Formula 1 fans were treated to their first taste of the Valkyrie’s mighty 6.5-litre V12 petrol engine, which Aston claims produces a monstrous 1,000bhp at an ear-splitting 10,500rpm.
A closer look at the bodywork on the camouflaged test car suggests this isn’t any ‘normal’ Aston Martin Valkyrie. Judging by the more aggressive front splitter, the large Formula 1-style ‘barge boards’ behind the front wheels and the extra slots on the floor of the car, this particular prototype has the AMR Track Performance Package fitted, which isn’t road legal.
When Aston Martin first revealed Valkyrie clients would be able to specify the extra AMR add-ons for their car, the British company claimed the removable upgrades would make the hybrid hypercar roughly 8% faster around a race track than the vehicle in its road legal spec.
The Valkyrie’s Silverstone shakedown is also pretty significant in that it’s one of the first runs the car has made as part of its “intensive physical testing regime”. Should the rigorous development programme proceed according to plan, Aston Martin aims to have the first of the 150 customer cars delivered to their affluent owners before 2019 draws to a close.
Aston Martin’s journey with the Valkyrie won’t end when all 150 production vehicles are delivered, though. The car maker has confirmed it will compete at Le Mans in 2021 with a pair of race-ready Valkyries as part of a multi-year racing programme in the World Endurance Championship, and the lessons learned from the Valkyrie’s development will be transferred to its spiritual successor and forthcoming James Bond car, the Valhalla (formerly known as the Project 003) — a car nominated in the 2019 Sunday Times Motor Awards.
The Valkyrie’s appearance on track follows another debut for a next-generation hybrid hypercar with Le Mans ambitions. In June 2019, a prototype of the Toyota GR Super Sport was filmed taking to the track at the Fuji Speedway in Japan. Toyota’s two-seater track monster is expected to be powered by a version of the Le Mans-winning Toyota TS050 LMP1 car’s hybrid setup.