There’s no shortage of fast cars in the world. Speed and acceleration are more accessible than ever as the automotive arms race continues at pace, percolating down to everyday, mass-produced road cars. But, very occasionally, there comes a car that redefines the boundaries of performance – a radical reinterpretation of what’s physically possible when rubber meets the road. The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro is such a car, so when a select number of owners had the chance to take theirs out on track under expert guidance from Aston Martin’s professional racing drivers, it wasn’t an opportunity to be missed.
Originally shown as a concept at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show, Valkyrie AMR Pro was reared as an all-out Le Mans Hypercar contender under the guidance of Formula 1® frontman Adrian Newey. After the programme was halted due to uncertainty over the regulations, the project became an exercise in squeezing as much performance from the road-legal Valkyrie platform as physically possible. With just 42 examples made, including two prototypes, a select group of owners travelled to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for an exhilarating, albeit intensive, track driving experience behind the wheel of the 6.5 litre naturally aspirated Valkyrie AMR Pro.
From seasoned drivers to those climbing into a race-focused car for the first time, the four-day programme saw Aston Martin’s crack squad of top-tier championship-winning racing drivers – Andy Priaulx, Dirk Müller, Stefan Mücke, Darren Turner and Aston Martin F1 Driver Ambassador Pedro de la Rosa – help the new owners on their journey into understanding how to extract every ounce of performance from their new AMR Pros.
Beginning with a drivers’ briefing on Friday, the team’s introduction to the circuit was done behind the wheel of the hugely powerful Aston Martin DBX707 SUV, with a chance to get out and walk the key corners. After graduating from the DBX707, the drivers had the chance to further familiarise themselves with the track in the Vantage coupe, getting a feeling for the layout of the circuit and the conditions on the day. Back in the pitlane, the team switched reality for the virtual world behind the wheel of the AMR-C01 simulator under the guidance of the instructor team, before stepping into the race-spec Vantage GT4 to acclimatise to the circuit in a car with aerodynamics and slick tyres.
Gradually working their way towards the pinnacle of performance, the weekend at the track saw the group take passenger laps in the AMR Pro across the two days before slotting themselves into the driver’s seat. Borne from the partnership between Aston Martin, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and Newey, the Valkyrie AMR Pro is built around a bespoke version of the road-going car’s lightweight monocoque, using aerospace-grade carbon fibre. Designed to meet the exacting FIA safety standards required of a Le Mans race car, the AMR Pro boasts radical aerodynamics that generate extraordinary levels of downforce – 2,000kg of it, to be precise. Achieving that through complex underfloor aerodynamics, a large carbon-fibre front wing with manually adjustable flaps, a rear diffuser and a showpiece full-width passive rear wing, the AMR Pro has performance approaching that of a Formula 1 car.
Look beyond the impossibly futuristic styling and there lies more headline figures, emanating from the Cosworth-designed naturally aspirated 6.5-litre V12. As the most powerful naturally aspirated road car engine ever made, the AMR Pro has an extraordinary power output of 1,000bhp at 11,000rpm. At full power, the engine guzzles 625 litres of air every second and takes ex-F1 engine builders three working weeks to build and prepare for fitment. Put simply, the Valkyrie AMR Pro transcends the racing world, bringing performance that was previously confined to top-tier championships into the hands of enthusiasts.
Rounding off the programme with another full day of AMR Pro driving and skill enhancement, guests and owners were treated to Michelin-star hospitality throughout the weekend and even a unique artwork of their car by British artist Adam Gompertz. After all, as a brand rooted in luxury, an Aston Martin track day is about more than performance, even for a car as radical and racing-derived as the Valkyrie AMR Pro.