It’s been a few years since Aston Martin premiered the stunning Valkyrie hypercar — but the Valkyrie isn’t old news. This exclusive Aston boasting 1160 horsepower from its hybrid powertrain is finally approaching production, with deliveries expected later this year. With the Valkyrie about to ride, the British marque isn’t resting on its laurels. At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show press preview days, attending auto journalists had a first look at the next Aston Martin mid-engine hypercar: AM-RB 003.
The Valkyrie clearly influences the look of AM-RB 003, but it is more than simply an evolutionary design. “We were quite deliberate with Project 003 to not disguise its lineage, but we were equally emphatic that it would be a distillation of Aston Martin Valkyrie and not a dilution,” said Aston Martin Director of Design Miles Nurnberger. “The design isn’t as extreme in some areas, but it pushes just as hard in others, and is even taking certain ideas and concepts a step further. That’s a natural function of design evolution, but also testament to just how great an influence working with Adrian Newey on Aston Martin Valkyrie has had on our approach to everything that’s come since,” Nurnberger noted.
Although there’s no denying that AM-RB 003 is one sexy-looking machine, the shape and design are driven by aerodynamics. While most of the downforce is generated from the underfloor, this hypercar also makes use of next-generation aircraft morphing technology that can create a variable airfoil across the entire rear wing. The technology is called FlexFoil — developed by FlexSys Inc. — and has been proven by NASA through extensive performance and acoustic flight testing. AM-RB 003 will be the first use of this advanced aerospace technology in the automotive industry.
With FlexFoil, the car’s downforce can be altered without changing the physical angle of the entire wing. This results in higher performance, improved efficiency and reduced wind noise. It also virtually eliminates drag and turbulence associated with today’s active wing designs.
Full details about AM-RB 003’s powertrain are not being released at this time, although motivation will come from an all-new Aston Martin turbocharged V6 hybrid engine. Given that the Valkyrie boasts more than 1,100 horsepower, educated musings suggest that engine power for AM-RB 003 will be in a similar realm.
While the performance aspects of AM-RB 003 are extreme, the car also emphasizes improved practicality as well as road use. One major manifestation of improved usability is increased cockpit size. The center console has been widened to provide more space between driver and passenger, and there is even some luggage space behind the seats. Aston designers also added other small storage spaces for phones and such. It seems odd to address comfort and luggage capacity in a vehicle such as the AM-RB 003 — but then again, it IS an Aston Martin.
The cabin has been simplified with a clean design. All gauges and displays are mounted on the steering column, with the majority of controls on the steering wheel. This includes the start-stop button. The infotainment system is described by Aston Martin as “bring-your-own technology” — in other words, displayed via the driver’s smartphone.
AM-RB 003 makes use of LMP1-style doors which open up and forwards. Not only do these doors add to the exotic-look of the AM-RB 003, but they create a wider opening for easier ingress and egress.
Like the Valkyrie, the AM-RB 003 is built around a lightweight carbon fiber structure. Bodywork is also sculpted out of carbon fiber. With active aerodynamics that include morphing aero surfaces, the AM-RB 003 is designed to deliver high levels of downforce. To further improve handling, the car is fitted with an active suspension system and electronic stability systems designed for extreme precision and control on the road or track.
Still a Prototype
The AM-RB 003 on display in Geneva is still considered a prototype — design and features will continue to evolve until the vehicle is ready for production in late 2021.