Science or Art? Aston Martin’s Lead Designer Explains the Valhalla Supercar

“This is like a bargeboard on an F1 car; it’s keeping the car stable and

“This is like a bargeboard on an F1 car; it’s keeping the car stable and attached to the ground,” he explains, gesturing toward the flank of the Valhalla. “Just the same as high pressure air at the front creates lift, you have to exit the low-pressure air and turn it into high pressure air to force the car down. The wing at the side divides the air and then it shoots it out of the back. Effectively, you’re sucking down at the front because you have high pressure air being relieved at the top and high pressure exiting, hunkering the car down at the rear.”

Different from the previous model, the Valhalla has a fully deploying wing, which raises up about 240 millimeters to create a breakaway point for airflow off the roof. The snorkel, which is derived from F1 engineering, provides a clean-air breathing tube for the V8. Unfortunately, that snorkel also brings a challenge: while the mid-engined Valkyrie was built as a coupe and then a spider, Reichman says the Valhalla “probably won’t” be offered as a convertible as the next model in that lineage.

“It’s very difficult with a snorkel like that. I’m not saying never, but there isn’t a plan,” Reichman says.

Another F1 touch on the Valhalla is the presence of two large exhaust pipes that sit in the center of the rear of the car. The pool of hot air exiting here helps to draw cool air over the top of the car, which is key for performance in an area that can get to about 1000 degrees Celsius, Reichman says. Zirconium coats the pipes to protect the carbon fiber tub from the intense heat.

Even the grille, which generated some questioning when the design was revealed, has an important function for engine cooling.

“My role is to create a muscular form that represents Aston Martin,” Reichman says. “Aerodynamics alone can’t sell a car; as attractive as it may be, no one buys a coefficient of drag. The designer’s job is to take all of the science and say, ‘Yes, and that idea could look like this.’” 

The chief designer recognizes Lamborghini as a “shock and awe” automaker (and not as an insult) that turns heads, but that doesn’t mean it’s what he wants for Aston Martin. He sees the future as a continuation of the meticulous attention to detail that represents the elegance of the Aston Martin brand. Reichman sees a new impetus and passion under F1 billionaire team owner Lawrence Stroll (his son is driver Lance Stroll). It won’t surprise me at all to see more technologies bleeding over from the racing side to the production side in the future.

“Even when you start to sketch, you have an understanding of the art of the possible and impossible,” Reichman says. “You’re always trying to push the boundary and change. Valkyrie taught me a lot and I used a lot of those influences and the language in this car as well.”

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