Aston Martin’s new hypercar codenamed AM-RB 003 could be called be Valhalla, CEO Andy Palmer hinted.
The hypercar was closely previewed in concept form at the Geneva auto show last week. The car slots below this year's Valkyrie hypercar and above the Vanquish mid-engine supercar, which was also previewed as a concept in Geneva.
The car is due in 2021 and will be the first to use a new V-6 hybrid and turbocharged gasoline engine developed in-house by Aston Martin.
"Valhalla is a name we have registered in our naming book," Palmer told Automotive News Europe in Geneva, without confirming the name.
The production version is expected to cost more than 1 million pounds ($1.31 million). It will be limited to 500 units and will rival the McLaren Senna and Ferrari's replacement for the LaFerrari hypercar. The car will have performance to "meet and surpass existing top-end hypercar rivals," Aston Martin said.
As with the Valkyrie, the hypercar was developed with Red Bull Advanced Technologies, which is a division of the UK-based Red Bull Formula 1 team.
Palmer cited the work of Red Bull's chief engineer, Adrian Newey, in influencing the design of the 003. "One of the things about working with Adrian is the F1 obsession with weight, beyond anything I’ve seen in the car industry. It's changed our thinking," he said.
He cited the cockpit where in place of an infotainment screen is a holder where the driver can place their own smartphone. "In those kind of cars, you are trying to out to take weight out where you can. You have already got the smartphone in your pocket," Palmer said.
Both the AM-RB 003 and the two Valkyrie models are about setting the stage for the Vanquish mid-engine supercar. "It's about creating credibility and authenticity in that mid-engine segment that we've never played in before," Palmer told Automotive News Europe last year.
Valkyrie elements that appear on the AM-RB 003 concept include the large air intake at the front and prominent rear diffuser, both included to give "outstanding" levels of downforce.
New for the AM-RB 003 is an aerodynamic technology across the rear wing Aston Martin calls FlexFoil that borrows from aircraft engineering. This changes the car’s downforce without changing the physical angle of the wing, Aston Martin said, without initially going into detail. The result is a reduce in the drag from current active wings, it claimed.
The new V-6 turbocharged hybrid engine is a change from the hybrid V-12 unit in the Valkyrie. No performance figures were given for the new unit, which marks Aston Martin’s return to designing engines in-house. The new engine features a Nexcel sealed oil system which allows oil changes in under 90 seconds, Aston Martin said. The technology was used on Aston Martin’s track-only Vulcan hypercar, but this is the first on-road application, it said.
Like the Valkyrie, the AM-RB 003 is built on a carbon-fiber chassis clad in bodywork made of the same material. The cabin is larger than the Valkyrie’s to increase the space and comfort in a vehicle that is expected to have a more general usage than the track-focused Valkyrie. The doors open upward and forward and include a piece of the roof for easier access.
Inside the two-seater, the cockpit has been designed for simplicity to better focus the attention of the driver. A 3D printer was used to make center console, which Aston says removes 50 percent of the mass.
The car uses an active suspension system that helps give the chassis "next-level precision, control and driver connection," Aston Martin said.
The automaker recruited arguably the UK's two best test drivers, Chris Goodwin from McLaren and Matt Becker from Lotus, with the aim of making its mid-engine cars handle as well as established rivals from McLaren and Ferrari.