COSWORTH’S screaming naturally-aspirated V12, developed for Aston Martin’s Valkyrie, is one of the most impressive engines of the modern age. However, the development process ended up inadvertently creating something arguably even more jaw-dropping.
The 6.5-litre V12 which will hold the Valkyrie together – literally, it’s a stressed member – revs to an incredible 11,000rpm, and produces 735kW. While these kinds of stats aren’t unheard of, they are traditionally reserved for top tier motorsport categories like Formula 1, so seeing them attached to a road car is pretty wild.
Read next: Aerodynamics: the new supercar battlefront
However, potentially outshining that feat of engineering is the engine Cosworth designed as a proof of concept for the Valkyrie, which was a 1.6-litre naturally-aspirated three-cylinder, pumping out 186kW, all while meeting emissions regulations.
For reference, the new Fiesta ST’s 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder makes 147kW with the aid of forced induction.
Cosworth’s managing director explained how the three-pot came into existence to Henry Catchpole from Carfection.
“We know that to go from a blank screen to having the first running engine was going to be of the order of 12 or 13 months,” he said.
Want more? Aston Martin’s Valkyrie interior revealed
“And because of the sort of conflict of needing to meet emissions, and needing to deliver such a high power per litre, we knew there was a really big challenger there. What we did not want to do was wait 13 months to prove to ourselves that we had met that challenge.
“So we took a four-cylinder engine that we already had, and we designed and manufactured a three-cylinder cylinder head for that, that was an absolute replica of three cylinders of the Valkyrie design. And we were able to get that up and running within about five months.
“So from the start of the program, we had a three-cylinder engine, which was an absolute quarter of the Valkyrie, because we have four catalysts, so each catalyst serves three cylinders, so by running a three-cylinder engine we were able to replicate every part of a genuine quarter of the finished article.
“That is to say within five or six months of starting the program, we were able to say, ‘yes, we’re going to be able to deliver emissions and performance.’
“So that three-cylinder delivered both 250 horsepower and an emissions pass, effectively.”
So while the multi-billionaires of the world line up for their V12 monster, please, Cosworth, put the three-cylinder into production, and allow us mere plebs to enjoy it.