Aston Martin AM‑RB 003 – Aston’s beautiful hybrid hypercar
Cementing itself as a company that builds more than just front-engine sports and GT cars, Aston Martin has revealed this, the new AM-RB 003.
The AM-RB 003 is the Valkyrie’s little brother, developed in partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies and pulling technology from the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15 Formula 1 car.
Where the Valkyrie has a 6.5-litre naturally aspirated V12 engine, with 1,000bhp and a 10,500rpm redline, the AM-RB 003 will have Aston’s in-house developed turbocharged V6 engine with hybrid assistance. It will, however, still have a carbon fibre monocoque chassis and a similar active suspension system.
Compared to the Valkyrie, the AM-RB 003 doesn’t have quite the same aerodynamic focus (much of the car’s downforce comes from the floor), but, still, it’s like comparing the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilli to the Carolina Reaper – it isn’t quite as extreme but both will still blow your face off.
What’s impressive, however, is how Aston’s designers and RBAT have still managed to create something so beautiful. Miles Nurnberger, Aston’s Design Director, said “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. 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.”
One of the car’s most impressive attributes is the incorporation of a technology called FlexFoil. Developed by FlexSys Inc. for use on aircraft and validated by NASA, FlexFoil allows the rear wing to change shape whilst the wing itself remains at the same angle, increasing or decreasing the level of downforce without massively affecting the level of drag or increasing turbulence. That’s quite a technology.
Aston says that one of the biggest differences between the AM-RB 003 and the Valkyrie is the size of the cockpit. The AM-RB 003’s cabin is more spacious and the doors wider, taking with them a section of the roof to make climbing in and lowering yourself into the driver’s seat even easier. There’s also a wider centre console between the driver’s and passenger seat (created using a 3D printer, a process that removes 50 per cent of the mass), a small “terrace” behind the seats to store a few small bags and “stowage areas for oddments such as a wallet or mobile phone”.
One curious interior feature is the infotainment system. Infotainment systems generally are not odd or curious at all, but the AM-RB 003 will utilise “bring-your-own” technology. Essentially, everything infotainment will be delivered through your smartphone. Interesting.
The turbocharged hybrid V6 will use the same Nexcel sealed oil system Aston first used on the track-only Vulcan. The entire oil system is contained in a small carbon-fibre box, allowing oil changes to be completed in just 90 seconds.
Aston’s CEO Andy Palmer is clearly delighted with the project: “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”. That supercar, if you haven’t seen it, is the Vanquish Vision Concept, a car that uses a version of the AM-RB 003’s engine but will be built to rival the Ferrari F8 Tributo, McLaren 720S and Lamborghini Huracan.
Just 500 AM-RB 003s will be built, the first of which should be built before the Vanquish Vision Concept arrives in 2022. Aston Martin has never looked more confident.