Watch F1 Driver Max Verstappen Hustle the 1,160-HP Aston Martin Valkyrie
The road car is looking good—just as development of the racing version potentially hits the skids.
Racing the world's fastest open-wheel race cars may involve the constant shedding of blood, sweat, and tears, but being a Formula 1 driver isn't without its perks. A superb salary, visiting almost two dozen countries a year, and the chance to test hypercars before they go into production are just some of the cherries on top of the F1 driver's life. Red Bull Racing drivers Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon recently got to indulge in one of those aforementioned pleasures by driving a prototype Aston Martin Valkyrie at Silverstone Circuit, home of the British Grand Prix.
Red Bull got its drivers into the 1,160-horsepower, V12-powered Valkyrie test car by way of its title sponsorship deal with Aston Martin, wherein the Gaydon-based automaker gets to plaster its name on one of the most competitive teams on today's F1 grid. In return, Aston Martin also gets help from the F1 team's aero department with developing the Valkyrie's aerodynamics, which will make it one of the most track-capable road cars in history. Still quicker will be the Valkyrie's track-only derivative the AMR Pro, of which all 25 units have already been sold.
Aston Martin confirmed last summer that it planned to race a version of the Valkyrie in WEC's new LM Hypercar class at the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans, which also will field entries from Toyota and Glickenhaus. Unfortunately, news broke today from Autosport that Aston will reportedly delay its entry by at least a year in the wake of a larger financial reorganization that followed billionaire Lawrence Stroll's $500 million investment in the firm last month.
Sportscar365 reported that the issue comes down to Stroll's decision to turn his Racing Point F1 team into a factory Aston Martin outfit for the 2021 season and the investment required to make that happen without Red Bull's help. Stroll's son Lance is a driver for Racing Point. Little is known about the planned racing version of the car; Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer previously hinted that the specialists at Multimatic Motorsport, they of the Ford GT, might be involved. Now it looks like we'll have to wait even longer to find out more.
"I was here at Silverstone to watch the first runs of the Valkyrie at the British Grand Prix last year but of course it's always better to be behind the wheel yourself. To be one of the first guys to drive an insane car like this was really exciting. It was amazing to get a first taste of it," commented Verstappen, winner of eight F1 Grands Prix.
"Of course it’s still in the development phase but you can already feel the pace, which compared to a normal car is… pretty different! The Valkyrie and its levels of downforce are incredible, and it looks super aggressive. It was a lot of fun out there."
"It was incredibly exciting to have this opportunity and the first thing that struck was the visual aspect—it looks awesome! It also really feels like a racing car, added the Dutchman's teammate Alexander Albon, who received a midseason promotion from Scuderia Toro Rosso to Red Bull in 2019.
"Max had a go before me, so the anticipation was building, and to get a chance to drive it was really special and it feels really good."
"Obviously there's still some development to do, but already it feels very good, especially the balance between the corners. It's light; it feels sharp," Albon continued.
"Sure, compared to an F1 car, you're missing the outright downforce, but you still feel the G forces in the corners and it definitely reacts closer to an F1 car than a normal road car. It's pretty special. I just need to get my hands on one!"
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