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Aston Valhalla development helped along by F1 team. Image by Aston Martin.

Aston Valhalla development helped along by F1 team
Aston Martinís first mid-engined production car is on schedule for 2024 launch thanks to F1-inspired process.
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2023-10-09: Aston Martin awarded £9m in funding for electric car platform

What's all this about?

For some cynics, it's the first tangible benefit that has come from Aston Martin competing in Formula One. Well, apart from some limited-edition F1-badged Vantages. And the development of the ultra-expensive, made-from-unobtanium Valkyrie.

Does that mean Fernando Alonso will be doing the test driving?

Actually, yes! Although before that happens, Aston Martin's road car engineers are leaning on the technical expertise of the F1 squad to help accelerate development of the Valhalla so that it meets its 2024 production deadline. The collaboration has focused on the lightweight carbon fibre used in its construction, the car's active aerodynamics and the driving dynamics that Aston Martin hopes will make the Valhalla the benchmark by which all other mid-engined supercars will be judged.

How are they going about it?

In terms of construction, the Valhalla will be the first production Aston Martin to use carbon fibre for its chassis. We say chassis, but it's more of a central cell. The F1 team has built cars from carbon fibre for a number of years (in its pre-Aston Martin days, when it was known variously as Racing Point, Force India, Spyker, Midland F1 and of course Jordan), but with a run of 999 Valhallas proposed, Aston Martin Performance Technologies was called upon as an intermediary to take the F1 team's carbon-fibre expertise and apply it to the relative mass production involved with the Valhalla.

The result is a central carbon-fibre cell that has been enhanced in the right places for crash safety, with moulded carbon-fibre sections bonded together in an autoclave for immense strength. Attached to that is the mid-mounted V8 twin-turbo powerplant, while up front there are twin electric motors. This combo makes a maximum of 1,012hp, with torque vectoring for the electric motors up front designed to enhance the Valhalla's handling.

Speaking of handling, is this where Alonso and Stroll step in?

Not yet... While the Valhalla has been seen at shows and in the pictures here, development versions are still being put together and won't hit the road until later this year. When they do, around 90 per cent of their development will have taken place virtually, using the same engineering and technology as the F1 team. The promise is that the Valhalla will deliver "pinpoint dynamics that will provide unprecedented driver engagement", thanks to the simulation tools that the car's engineers have used for its development.

But yes, the final phase will see Alonso and Stroll involved and able to add their contribution to the pre-production prototypes, as well as taking the car to the limit of its capabilities.

Hooray! What about the aerodynamics?

Of course, F1 relies heavily on aerodynamics to make a car perform to the best of its ability, and the Valhalla has benefitted from the same attention to detail. Engineers have used the same CFD (Compound Fluid Dynamics) software as the F1 team to help optimise the Valhalla's shape, although as you can see, it's a lot smoother in shape than any F1 car. That's because the aerodynamic package is integrated into the bodyshell, and there are adjustable wings front and rear, which Aston Martin claims can add 600kg of downforce when the Valhalla is travelling at 150mph.

The wings are largely hidden, while the Valhalla's floor has been sculpted to boost airflow, in the same way as the underside of an F1 car does. One neat feature is a set of louvres ahead of the rear wheels, which help draw air out from beneath the car to generate more downforce.

The F1 car also inspires the Valhalla's cockpit to an extent. It's not a single-seater, but the driving position will be set low like it is in the F1 car, with the pedals on a raised section of floor so that the driver sits almost horizontally.

Sounds uncomfortable. What does Aston Martin have to say about all of this?

Marco Mattiacci, Global Chief Brand and Commercial Officer of Aston Martin was on hand for this most recent announcement. ďAston Martinís vision is to build a range of exceptional, class-leading driver focused cars, crucial in the expansion of our product line-up. Our first series production mid-engine supercar will be transformational for the brand and the mid-engine segment. Valhalla represents Aston Martinís first joint development integration between our road car engineers and F1 team's engineering capabilities through Aston Martin Performance Technologies, and demonstrates Aston Martinís breadth of capabilities.Ē

Carlo Della Casa, Aston Martin Product Development Director, welcomed the new era of collaboration: ďThe knowledge and experience of the AMF1 team personnel at Aston Martin Performance Technologies combined with the skills and know how of our road car development teams has enabled us to bring direct F1 learnings to sports car development. Our target for Valhalla is to produce a supercar that will set best-in-class standards for performance, dynamics and driving pleasure. Having open access to the knowledge within the AMF1 team has been a huge advantage for us as we develop this incredible car.Ē

Expect to see development of the Valhalla commence in the real world later this year - when we'll likely see another press release with Alonso and Stroll demonstrating their involvement - while the 999-car production run is scheduled to start later in 2024.

Shane O' Donoghue - 30 Sep 2023

2024 Aston Martin Valhalla. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Valhalla. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Valhalla. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Valhalla. Image by Aston Martin.2024 Aston Martin Valhalla. Image by Aston Martin.

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