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Future models - Aston Martin - AM-RB 003

Geneva show: Aston to build sub-Valkyrie hypercar

New Aston hypercar codenamed AM-RB 003 to slot in between Valkyrie and next Vanquish

Aston Martin logo6 Mar 2019

ASTON Martin has announced its intention to build an all-new hypercar, codenamed AM-RB 003, which will slot in between the torch-bearing Valkyrie and the forthcoming new-generation Vanquish in its burgeoning mid-engined supermodel family. 
 
Debuting at the Geneva motor show this week and slated for production in late 2021, the AM-RB 003 is, as the name suggests, the third model Aston Martin will produce in collaboration with Red Bull Advanced Technologies after the Valkyrie and Valkyrie AMR Pro. 
 
Previously known in-house as Project 003 and set to rival the likes of the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder, the AM-RB 003 was presented in Geneva as a near-final design concept and is already well into development, with Red Bull tasked with optimising the chassis and aerodynamics.
 
Production will be limited to 500 coupes worldwide with pricing at around £1 million ($A1.86m).
 
Specifications are still to be divulged but the 003 will be built around a carbon-fibre structure and with carbon-fibre bodywork, and Aston has confirmed it will be the first model to use its new in-house-designed hybrid powertrain combining electrification with a twin-turbocharged V6 petrol engine.
 
The latter is being touted as potentially a 3.0-litre unit with a combined power output of around 800kW, however this is all speculation at this stage. 
 
For now, Aston is talking only in general terms, promising the AM-RB 003 “will incorporate concepts and technologies taken directly from F1 and applied to the epoch-making Aston Martin Valkyrie, providing it with performance to meet and surpass the performance demands of existing top-end hypercar rivals”.
 
As you can see, ‘Number 3’ strongly resembles the Valkyrie but Aston design director Miles Nurnberger was quick to point out that it is “very much its own car”.
 
“We were quite deliberate in AM-RB 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,” he said.
 
“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 Red Bull Advanced Technologies on Aston Martin Valkyrie has had on our approach to everything that’s come since.”
 
There are obvious similarities in styling and aerodynamic treatment, the 003 featuring a pronounced front keel and massive rear diffuser, with the underfloor generating the bulk of the downforce.
 
However, Aston says the new model will also benefit from next-generation aircraft morphing technology, to create a variable airfoil across the entire rear wing.
 
The British car-maker claims it will be the first to introduce this cutting-edge aerospace technology – known as FlexFoil and apparently validated by NASA – in the automotive industry and enables the car’s downforce to be changed “without changing the physical angle of the entire element, resulting in a seamless design with high performance, improved efficiency and reduced wind noise”.
 
A major point of difference is seen in the cockpit of the 003, which is easier to access (via LMP1-style doors which open forwards and take a section of the roof with them) and is roomier and more comfortable and practical than the Valkyrie. 
 
There is a wider centre console, luggage space behind the seats and further concessions made with oddment stowage areas and so on, although the underlying emphasis is to create a “uniquely stimulating, dynamic and focused driving environment”.
 
This essentially means that Aston has built the cockpit around the driver using what the car-maker calls ‘apex ergonomics’, where plenty of thought has gone into the positioning and design of various elements such as steering wheel, pedals, instruments and switchgear. 
 
There is a display screen mounted on the steering column, for example, to allow an unimpeded view through the tiller without any rim block. 
 
Without weight figures, there is no way to tell just how much liberty Aston Martin has taken when striking a balance between hypercar performance and occupant comfort and convenience. 
 
But its commitment to lightweight construction is evident with measures such as a 3D printed centre console that is said to remove 50 per cent of the mass. 
 
Presenting the 003 in Geneva, Aston Martin Lagonda president and group chief executive Andy Palmer said: “When Aston Martin secured the services of Red Bull Advanced Technologies to embark on the extraordinary journey that became Aston Martin Valkyrie and Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro, it was always my hope that it would lead to a long-term collaboration. 
 
“As these projects enter an incredibly exciting phase with the commissioning of the first running development prototypes, it gives me tremendous satisfaction to confirm that this exceptional partnership is continuing with the AM-RB 003 – a hypercar that not only draws from the ethos and DNA of Aston Martin Valkyrie, but will in turn influence Aston Martin’s first series-production mid-engined supercar.”
 
This is a reference to the forthcoming new-generation Vanquish, also shown in concept form in Geneva this week and scheduled to reach production in 2022.

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