The man who's thrashed the Aston Martin Valkyrie

09th July 2021
Ethan Jupp

It feels like we’ve been waiting an age for the Aston Martin Valkyrie’s 11,000rpm-revving 1,176PS-plus (865kW) V12 to come on song, probably because we have. Its first reveal was four years ago after all. But here at the 2021 Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard, it’s been seen – and heard – running flat-out for the first time.


The Valkyrie’s story is well known. Red Bull Technologies and Adrian Newey know-how and vision, executed under the Aston brand, to create the world’s most capable, most uncompromising, highest-performance hypercar. It combines a trick Cosworth V12 with aero trickery previously the preserve of endurance prototypes and a driving position that almost puts your knees above your elbows.

It’s a carbon-kevlar latticework born of no limits bar the rules of the road and the genius racing mind charged with creatively interpreting them. Everything is bespoke, almost everything breaks new ground. Needless to say, it’s quite unlike anything we’ve yet seen.

It’s not like Aston has exactly been at the height of its powers during the car’s gestation, especially financially, given how much this project will have cost. These tumultuous times have, through a number of overlaps, seen the project glazed in the colours of two F1 teams. Yet the result is here at the Festival to be seen and perhaps more to the point, heard. Does adversity breed innovation? More likely innovation has survived adversity. It’s like a dearly beloved friend that’s gone on a bender to end all benders, only to return with a sore head and somehow, a seven-figure reality TV contract. Reckless? Yes. But the inexplicable results leave us speechless. Perhaps if Aston is the friend, Red Bull Tech is the designated driver-come-agent...


I’ve not in all my years window shopping in the Supercar Paddock seen a car quite so able to render most of it a ghost town. Sitting in front of you, you don’t know where to look. It’s sculpted, porous, filed-down to an end of funnelling air through its extremities rather than around them. The door opening, we really don’t know how some people are even going to get in.

Then you hear it. Lower down in the revs, it sort of sounds like an 812 Superfast or a One-77. Of course, what would be approaching redline for a One-77, is jogging pace for the Valkyrie. As it climbs past 9,000rpm and into the tens, it’s as if someone’s picked the “play at 1.25x” option on YouTube.


Aston’s three-time Le Mans class winner and all-round good bloke Darren Turner has been here to chaperone the Valkyrie on its first ventures up the Hill, before Aston boss Tobias Moers and F1 ace Lance Stroll parade it on Saturday. We met up with him to get a few insights on what it’s been like bringing the Valkyrie to life, and driving it for the first time at the Festival.

“The car was prepped for the weekend, with brand-new Michelin Cup 2s. We wanted a dry surface to scrub them in and get them ready. What we got was moisture and mud. So I said to Mr JWW on the first run, ‘it’s not going to be the absolute full commitment’. But once you get past turn 2, you can really stretch it out. We put on a good show for the car. It’s been really enjoyable and the runs have got quicker and quicker. No shootout runs though, definitely not going down that route. My job is to make sure we’re all in one piece ready for Lance and Tobias on Saturday.

“It has to be compliant. We’re running in urban mode – up high, soft. Even driving in the paddock on the metal roads, if you’re in a racecar, it’s awful. In this, it’s nice! It’s lovely. I’ve been parallel parking all last week with the car, coming back from testing. You can take it down the shops, it’s comfortable. The low-speed drivability was actually really good from quite early on in testing. The thing I needed to get used to is the camera mirror, everything seems further away than it is.”


“In terms of its drivability,” Darren continues, “obviously we’ve been here with a Vulcan. Moving that around, it’s completely out of its window of what it likes to do. This, the Valkyrie, it’s easy!

“It really is another level of performance. The ages of the automotive world, you have the Ferrari 250 GTO in the ‘60s, the McLaren F1 in the 1990s. This feels like another entirely. It’s extreme and completely bespoke.”

“When we were away testing, you might go out and be following one in another area in the proving ground. That’s my favourite view, that rear, you can see fully how small and compact it is. You ask how they could possibly have got that V12 and the gearbox in with that underbody aero.

“We’re so close to the end now, customers will have them by the end of the year. They understand the wait and know we needed to get it right. There’s been a bunch of us, development drivers, that have had the pleasure of driving this car. I’m now looking forward to the people who’ve bought them being able to drive them.”

Photography by Tom Shaxson, Jordan Butters, Phil Hay and Nick Dungan.

  • Aston Martin

  • Valkyrie

  • Festival of Speed

  • FOS 2021

  • Darren Turner

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