Aston Martin has released information about the combustion component of its insane Valkyrie hypercar's powertrain – and it's a doozy. Co-developed with Cosworth, this 6.5-liter V12 monster will make 1,000 hp, without the aid of forced induction – and in addition to its electric motors.
Nothing about the Valkyrie is remotely ordinary. This wild, street legal machine's aerodynamic profiles alone are utterly gob-stopping. And now we get our first glimpse at the motor. Well, one of the motors, at least; like just about anything playing at the very pointy end of the ultra-high performance market, the Valkyrie will be a hybrid. But its gasoline engine stands to be truly unique in its own way.
Dragging a thousand horses out of a production combustion engine is no mean feat; when Bugatti first did it in 2005 with the Veyron, it was an absolutely ridiculous achievement, opening up the new hypercar class with a bang. But Bugatti used no less than four turbochargers to get there.
Since the Veyron, several cars have elbowed their way into hypercar status, particularly as electric powertrains have proliferated. Making extraordinary power out of electric motors isn't what you'd call completely simple, but it's far, far easier than trying to do the same with combustion engines.
And turbos and electrics both suffer from the same rather earthy problem when it comes to performance car buyers: they might give you the speed, but purists will tell you something's missing from the soundtrack. A 1,000-hp quad turbo, some will say, is less emotional and involving and plain fun to drive than a 700-hp unit that's free to breathe and shout about the whole thing.
So when Aston Martin began planning a powerplant for its most outrageous road machine ever – and surely one of the wildest in history – it went to its partners at Cosworth with a request for a naturally aspirated, 1,000-hp V12 that could be homologated for the road.
And here it is: what Aston is calling "the ultimate expression of the internal combustion engine." It's a 65-degree V12 displacing an enormous 6.5 liters. It revs to no less than 11,100 rpm, making it an absolute screamer of a road car, and bangs out a thousand horses as well as 740 Nm (546 lb-ft) of torque.
It does all of this while weighing just 206 kg (454 lb), which means it's actually lighter than Cosworth's 3-liter Formula One V10 would be if it was scaled up to 6.5 liters. And it's also engineered in as a structural member of the frame, so it does extra duty holding the damn car together.
The block, cylinder heads, sump and structural cam covers are all cast, but most of what's inside has been machined out of solid metal, including the "f1-spec" pistons, and the conrods, which are machined titanium.
The crankshaft is produced in a torturous six-month process that boggles the mind a little as described by Aston Martin:
"Starting life as a solid steel bar 170 mm diameter and 775 mm long, it is first roughed out, then heat treated, finish machined, heat treated again, gear ground, final ground and superfinished. Upon completion 80 percent of the original bar has been machined away and some six months have passed."
But that's what it takes to create a crank strong enough to deal with a thousand ponies while being 50 percent lighter than the one Cosworth designed for Aston's own One-77 V12.
When it hits the road, the Valkyrie will supplement this motor's raging, screaming gasoline horsepower with some kind of battery-electric hybrid system, presumably one that'll deliver Earth-shattering torque to complement the car's wild top-end horsepower. For all we know, it might double the peak output – although the hyper-lightweight engine and carbon structure of the car might point to something a little less extreme.
Either way, you're looking at the genesis of a truly, exceptionally extreme machine here, and the Valkyrie seems poised to stake a claim as one of the iconic hypercars of our age.
Take a listen to the hair-raising song of the Cosworth V12 in the video below, and try to imagine the physical forces that'll come with that sound.
Source: Aston Martin
Update (Dec. 20, 2018): This article originally stated the "f1-spec" pistons were machined titanium. This was an error that has now been corrected. We apologize for this and thank the commenters who brought it to our attention.
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