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Aston Martin: Valkyrie produces “too much downforce”

By Louis Cordony, 21 Mar 2019 News

Aston Martin Valkyrie too much downforce news

Valkyrie’s insane aerodynamics explained by Marek Reichman

The Aston Martin Valkyrie’s mission statement when it launches later this year is to be the fastest thing on the road. Full stop.

Key to this will be a groundbreaking aerodynamic package that will ape F1 levels of performance at a circuit.

But Marek Reichman, Aston Martin’s Chief Creative Officer, has revealed its humungous levels of downforce were actually a challenge during development.

“The car generates too much downforce at low speeds,” he revealed to MOTOR while in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix.

“Imagine, it’s counter-intuitive. It has too much downforce at low speeds so that’s it’s becoming draggy. So you’ve got to vent that air out.”

He explains under channels that feed its massive rear diffuser actually divert air at low speed, instead cooling and lightening the load on the car’s ferocious 6.5-litre V12 hybrid powertrain.

“As you get faster the vent closes and you generate your downforce,” he says. “And because of the speed, you don’t need as much air flow to cool the engine.”

While it’s hard to comprehend that a road car would ever have that problem, the Valkryie will reportedly load its chassis with 1800kg worth of downforce.

This was not his only challenge as the brand’s chief designer. There’s also the obvious need for beauty while accommodating Red Bull Racing F1’s design mastermind Adrian Newey.

“The one thing that drove Andy [Palmer] insane, it was never the first answer, it was the seventh answer always. Because it would be Adrian, me, Adrian, me.

“The compromise was neither of us wanted to compromise but at the end of the day we had to produce a car.”

While the two had very aligned ideas on the project, there was one little thing Reichman would change from an aesthetic point of view. It concerns the car’s rear fenders.

Opinion: Valkyrie promises to be a masterpiece

“I would have wanted a little more flow through there but actually what Adrian needed to do was channel the air so you have more of an upright section, a little bit like a Le Mans prototype.

“The more than I looked at it, I thought you know what it’s part of the catch with the car. And that became an accepted compromise, because it came part of the character of the car. Without Adrian I would have had a smoother section.”

It sounds like a small thing, but as he explains earlier in our chat, “every single surface is acting for aero. Every single millimeter, is having an effect, on the underside. Upper. Stability. Cooling.”

“There isn’t one area where you can kind of say, well, that doesn’t matter. It all compounds if one area does something it compounds somewhere else.”

After all, his company has promised the track version Valkyrie, the AMR Pro, will deliver lap times to qualify in Formula One’s top 10.

And while such a claim has only been verified by simulations at the moment, confirmed outputs of 853kW/900Nm and a sub-1000kg kerb weight promises they’ll be able to do it. Bring it on.