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Yes any day now......that and the Tesla Roadster.


Good to be back in Greenwich after 16 months
 

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ASTON MARTIN VALKYRIE AMR PRO: THE ULTIMATE NO RULES HYPERCAR!

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  • New Valkyrie AMR Pro takes the ultimate hypercar genre to new extremes
  • Radical design is extreme evolution of Valkyrie Le Mans racer concept
  • Designed to be capable of lapping 24H Le Mans circuit in 3mins 20seconds
  • Features new longer wheelbase/wide track chassis and unique aerodynamic package
  • V12 powertrain power output of 1000bhp
  • Deliveries scheduled to begin in Q4 2021

28 June 2021, Gaydon, UK: First came the revolutionary Aston Martin Valkyrie road car. Now comes the radical evolution, in the sensational form of the new Valkyrie AMR Pro: a machine which takes a car designed to win the Le Mans 24 Hours as its starting point, then pushes further to explore extremes of performance unconstrained by racing regulations or registration for road use.

In 2019, Aston Martin, Adrian Newey, Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT) and engineering partner Multimatic worked intensively on an Aston Martin Valkyrie race car design, aimed at winning the 24H Le Mans race in the new Hypercar class. That well advanced design has now formed the basis of the radical new Valkyrie AMR Pro.

Where the original concept proposal - first seen at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show - was very much an exercise in squeezing as much performance from the road legal Valkyrie platform, the new Valkyrie AMR Pro benefits from the Le Mans project’s pure, race optimised chassis, aerodynamic and powertrain developments. Moreover, with its design and performance freed from race rule constraints, the AMR Pro’s capabilities now exceed those of the machine designed to challenge for outright victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Continuing the technology partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT), the Valkyrie AMR Pro is a car of unprecedented potency and mind-blowing capabilities. It uses a unique version of the Valkyrie chassis which is 380mm longer in wheelbase and 96mm wider in track at the front; 115mm at the rear. Valkyrie AMR Pro also features an aggressive aerodynamic package which adds an additional 266mm in length, and thanks to mastery of underbody and overwing airflow, generates extraordinary levels of downforce. Comfortably delivering twice the amount of downforce than the Valkyrie road car, the Valkyrie AMR Pro will achieve lateral acceleration of more than 3G.

In the pursuit of the lightest weight and fastest lap times, Valkyrie AMR Pro relies solely on a modified version of the sensational Cosworth-built 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine. Revving to 11,000rpm, this masterpiece of internal combustion is on-target to develop 1000bhp. Weight savings will come from deletion of the battery-electric hybrid system, plus a host of other weight saving measures, including ultra-lightweight carbon fibre bodywork, carbon suspension wishbones and Perspex windscreen and side windows. Together with an aerodynamic efficiency that exceeds Le Mans Hypercar regulations, the Valkyrie AMR Pro promises track performance approaching that of a Formula 1® car.

More details of the Valkyrie AMR Pro’s specification and performance will be released later this year, but with a target lap time around the 8.5-mile 24H Le Mans circuit of 3 minutes 20 seconds – blistering performance that would see Valkyrie AMR Pro battling with the front running LMP1 cars for the outright win in the world’s greatest endurance race.

Aston Martin Chief Executive Officer, Tobias Moers said: “The entire Aston Martin Valkyrie programme has been an extraordinary adventure in engineering. As an expression of the passion and expertise that can be found within Aston Martin and its closest technical partners, Valkyrie AMR Pro is a project beyond compare, a true ‘no rules’ track-only version. The Valkyrie AMR Pro is testament to Aston Martin’s commitment to pure performance and this performance DNA will be evident in our future product portfolio. Nothing else looks like it, nothing else sounds like it, and I am absolutely certain nothing else will drive like it!”

To complement the track-only Valkyrie AMR Pro, customers will receive the opportunity to attend a bespoke track day experience, hosted by Aston Martin at a selection of International FIA Circuits around the world. The experience will include track and pit lane access, support from the Aston Martin Valkyrie Instructor team, as well as FIA exclusive racewear and a VIP hosted dinner. Track days will be open to all Aston Martin Valkyrie customers, along with a selection of Art of Living experiences, driving some of the most challenging and dynamic roads across the UK and Europe, The Americas and beyond. Additional information on these exclusive experiences will be released later this year but they promise to showcase the Valkyrie in the most exhilarating way.

With extensive development work completed using powerful simulation tools, physical testing of the Valkyrie AMR Pro is due to commence imminently and to ensure that Valkyrie AMR Pro gives the ultimate driving experience, the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One® Team drivers will be involved from the start to develop the dynamic set-up of the car.

All cars will be left-hand drive, with a production run of 40 cars plus two prototypes. First deliveries are scheduled to commence in Q4 2021.
 

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They say the maximum downforce of the road Valkyrie is 1800kg at maximum speed, the Valkyrie AMR Pro is "Comfortably double the downforce of the road car" so 3600kg of downforce for the AMR Pro!?

With such a strength they might have a problem with the tires with such a high pressure?
 

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I'm stunned...and a bit saddened by the (perceived) lack of interest in the reveal of this car. Hmm...
 

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I'm stunned...and a bit saddened by the (perceived) lack of interest in the reveal of this car. Hmm...
Car debuted years ago and it's track only. You can already probably buy LMP1 cars from someone or old F1 cars if you really want them. So while it's cool I guess, it's still just a race car at the end of the day and race cars with this performance have long since existed.
 

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Aston Martin

Starting with Aston Martin. Thanks to Yew Tree/Stroll’s multi million pound investment (Lawrence Stroll is now the Executive Chairman) and Mercedes Benz technology, Aston Martin has avoided an 8th bankruptcy, at least for now. Andy Palmer, the vast majority of Palmer’s team, and just under $5 billion in shareholder value are all long gone. What does remain is the new DBX (SUV) plus a new factory in Wales (St Athan) which was built to produce it and is running at around 40% of capacity, an epically delayed halo hypercar (the Valkyrie), a mountain of debt, and in the words of the current CEO Tobias Moers an “aged” sportscar portfolio. A comment that I’m sure was welcomed by all the Aston Martin dealerships globally as its sure to drive sales…………..

Speaking of sales, I got an email this week from an Aston Martin dealership in the US. They are offering 3 years free servicing with the purchase of a DBX. I checked the dealer’s website, and they currently have nine new DBX’s listed for sale and one used DBX. Based on past experience, if they are showing 9 DBXs for sale, they probably have twice as many in stock. 3 years free service isn’t something you offer on a new model that’s flying off the showroom floors. In the Q 1 2021 earnings call, Aston indicated that they would no longer be reporting retail sales. Eliminating this key piece of information gives Aston the ability to immediately revert back to bad old habits and start stuffing dealerships with cars if they are trying to manage earnings and hit certain targets to prop up the share price. I am surprised the financial analysts who follow Aston haven’t raised this as a major credibility issue given the history. It’s the financial equivalent of putting a recovering alcoholic in charge of guarding the wine cellar. It might be ok but there’s a big risk it doesn’t end well.

Unpacking the DBX saga a bit more, there are a few things that are hard to square. The new manufacturing facility in St Athan opened in December 2019 with 600 employees hired over the course of 2020. In March 2021, Aston made 1/3rd of the work force (200 employees) redundant which is not surprising as the factory is running at less than half capacity. In addition, the depth and breadth of options on the DBX is being cut back with most carbon fibre being eliminated. These are not the actions you normally see taken to support a massive success and the changes in options go directly against Moer’s statement on driving ASPs. In addition, Aston Martin had taken £18.8m in grants from the Welsh Government for job creation, skills training and research and development. When the grant was given, full employment at St Athan’s was expected to reach 750. Needless to say, the Welsh Government has to be less than happy with the current situation.

Moving onto the Valkyrie. If Aston Martin finally delivers a customer Valkyrie before the end of the year, it will have taken Aston longer to develop this car than it took Henry VIII to go through 4 wives or the Allies to defeat Germany in WW2. Both Moers & Stroll are on record as having promised the first deliveries will happen before the end of 2021, though Aston Martin also said the same for deliveries last year. From what I have gathered from a few different sources, that is likely to happen. These sources also indicated that given the massive problems Aston has had trying to get the electronics to work in the road cars, it’s now the track cars that are being prioritized as they will be built without the sophisticated electronics & hybrid system. Apparently, Aston has had major challenges getting the Valkyrie road car mules to run for more than 20 minutes at a time with the longest run being around 45 minutes so far. On a more positive note, I have heard that the Valkyrie is by far the quickest car (road or track) a few of the drivers have ever experienced. How many owners will be able to drive the track cars anywhere near the limit without the sophisticated electronics systems will be interesting to see.

In terms of the track Valkyries, Aston has outsourced the development & production of the car to Mulitmatic (Multimatic also built the latest Ford GT) with instructions to get it done as quickly (and if the rumors about Stroll’s instructions are true, as cheaply) as possible. Multimatic will also likely be doing the final development and most of the production on the road Valkyries with final assembly planned at Aston Martin’s Graydon facility. Continual failed crash tests by Multimatic have not helped speed development along, and its believed they are struggling. Last I heard, neither Valkyrie variant had passed crash tests yet. In addition, Aston has only bought 30-40 of the Valkyrie’s Cosworth V12s to date so the actual number of cars that can be produced right now is fairly limited. Needless to say, the relationship between Aston Martin & Red Bull (way back in the middle of the last decade, the Valkyrie was originally conceived as a joint project with Red Bull’s Adrian Newey as the chief designer) has turned bitter and toxic. Red Bull has not been involved at all since the end of last year. How this is going to end is anyone’s guess but I’m sure there will be plenty of finger pointing. Neither Stoll nor Moers have any “ownership” of the project and seem to view it as an unwelcome stepchild that they just can’t wait to get out of the house. Just to make it even more interesting, apparently there is no love lost between Moers and Multimatic. This might have something to do with Moers’ experience in his prior job on the almost equally delayed Mercedes AMG One, which Multimatic was also working on.

The recent lawsuit Aston Martin filed against the Swiss company Nebula, is quite interesting. Nebula had helped to finance the development of the Valkyrie and sign-up customers in return for future royalties. Aston is claiming Nebula withheld customer deposits on the Valkyrie and is writing down £15 million against 2021 earnings as a result. This would be roughly equivalent to the deposits on 30 Valkyries. Nebula is claiming that it has done nothing wrong. Needless to say, this has the potential to get very messy and drag out over an extended period. What is clear is Aston Martin wants out of the royalty agreement. From a purely business perspective, Aston is taking the risk that the cost of litigation and potential settlement will cost less in the long run than the royalty payments.

It is also possible Moers could be warming up shareholders for a much bigger hit, given there is potentially more ugly news to surface with the Nebula dispute. That figure could easily be in the £50 million plus range, given that more deposit holders have also been refunded recently. In addition, you have the Valhalla depositors who have been requesting refunds as that project has gone badly off the rails. Based on Moers recent statements, if the Valhalla ever does see the light of day, it will be a far cry from what was originally presented. All this will likely put increasing strain on the Stroll – Mercedes relationship.

Going back to Tobias Moers and Lawrence Stroll, it doesn’t seem like it is all smiles in paradise anymore. After lots of bold and bombastic claims in 2020 about creating a great luxury brand, the “British Ferrari”, Stroll has kept a much lower profile in 2021. In Stroll’s most recent comments to the Times of London, he mainly focused on making Aston a proper luxury brand, aligning supply with demand, and expounding on the tie up with Mercedes Benz: “A company of this size needs a big brother — to think they don’t is wrong,” Stroll said. It’s a fascinating statement given his two closest and more successful competitors, Ferrari & McLaren, are both completely independent. Reading between the lines, it appears that Mercedes are now calling the shots at Aston Martin whether Stroll likes it or not. This is not that surprising as Aston Martin can’t really survive without Mercedes support and Stroll’s Racing Point/Aston Martin F1 Team is also heavily dependent on Mercedes for technology. Basically, Mercedes has Stroll over a barrel as any profitable exit for Stoll is going to be heavily dependent on Mercedes support.

Tobias Moers, who came from Mercedes, appears to be more of a Viceroy, than trying to settle in as an indigenous CEO. Moers has not moved his family to the UK, and he is still commuting from Germany. In the last earning call, he seemed tired and uninterested in sparing with the financial analysts. The nicest thing Moers has said about Aston’s current lineup is they are “OK” but he has also called the current portfolio “aged”. Moers has granted very few interviews and has done little to become the public face of the company. All of which are indicators he is not planning to stay. What he has done is streamline the manufacturing side of the business and kill off the V6 engine project, leaving Aston totally dependent on Mercedes for its powertrains going forward. Stroll’s vision of becoming the British ‘Ferrari’ is clearly not shared by Moers and I don’t recall him ever referencing it. My guess is Moers will stay through the end of the year, declare that he has stabilized the business, then go back to Mercedes. For Mercedes this is a win win, they will have a true inside view on if they should acquire Aston Martin and if they decide not to, they can walk away without having put £1 into the business.


Source: Catching Up with Aston Martin, Ferrari & McLaren | karenable
 

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Its on its death bed. I was just in LA for a few days and I don't remember seeing a single one. G Wagons, Rolls SUV, Maybachs, and Cayennes all over, not a single DBX that I noticed.
 
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