Driving the Aston Martin Valkyrie on the Red Bull F1 simulator
At the Geneva Motor Show this year, almost all unnoticed thanks to the launch of the 003 and Vanquish, Aston Martin showed the first fully working Valkyrie.
Which looks every bit as extreme as promised.
It also announced a few more tantalizing facts and figures for the brain child of Adrian Newey.
Maximum outputs will be 1,160 brake-horsepower at 10,500 RPM and 664 pounds for the torque at 6,000 RPM.
Most of that comes from the glorious naturally aspirated 6.5 liter V12 which can rev to 11,100 RPM.
But it's augmented by a hybrid system with batteries from Remac and an electric motor by Integral Power Train Limited.
This can deliver 160 break horsepower, and 206 pounds foot.
And all via curved style boost system.
Anyway, far away from the bright lights of the motor show, I've been given the chance to drive the Valkyrie.
Not in the real world, but in perhaps the closest thing to it, the Red Bull F1 simulator.
So here we are at the Red Bull F1 HQ.
Probably should have turned up in not my Renault Clio they're not really welcome around here in the car faction Honda Civic type would have been better.
Anyway this, this is really cool.
I like not too far from here.
I go mountain biking somewhere up here so I've seen the building lots but this is gonna be the first time I've ever been in.
Red Bull F1's track record is pretty extraordinary.
Four constructors, and four drivers championships, 59 race victories, 60 pole positions, and over 4,300 points from 265 starts No wonder their trophy cabinet is slightly bigger than mine.
Adrian Nui has of course been integral to these successes, as his expertise in aerodynamics and packaging now being transferred into the Valkyrie.
Before I go into the Sim I have a chat to Chris Goodwin who's put eight and a half thousand virtual kilometers on the Valkyrie under the watchful eyes of Red Bull Advanced Technologies.
Even with his previous experiences, he said that Red Bull's approach has been on a different level.
Debriefings with up to 19 incredibly intelligent engineers can be he says, quite intimidating.
Leading the project from the Red Bull side is their Head of Vehicle Science, what a cool title that is, James Napton and here, are some of the mind boggling facts he imparted.
5000 lines of code to parameterize the vehicle model for each action simulator.
18000 channels available for data logging resulting in 700 gigabytes of simulated data accrued to date.
The simulator itself is a genuine Red Bull F1 Chassis steering wheel and pedal box mounted on a Hexapod platform, and all the software is developed by Red Bull I'm not sure if all my eyes is on [UNKNOWN] back in the day will be much help.
So we've come through the doors that we're not normally allowed to come through and into this dark room.
And Chris this is the stuff I'm gonna be driving, what's gonna happen now?
well, it's in your hands, but you're going to experience A lot of the work we've been doing here, behind the scenes, for the past year, and also the amazing delta, the difference, between current benchmark high-performance road car world.
So you set us up with a road car, a generic road car, that is at the top of what's out there at the moment, roughly speaking.
So I'll drive a few laps in that.
Yeah, you're gonna experience a model of something that the Red Bull advanced technologies team have put together, and it's going to deliver the lap times at the top of the leaderboards in all of the publications and so on, to give you a baseline for what is the benchmark.
Currently in 2019 for road cars.
And then we're gonna get you out into a working model of where we have been with the Valkyrie.
We're on the development curve.
We've got more time to go, and this is something that we achieved a while back so it's not the peak of where we've reached, but we wanna just show you Kind of what we're talking about here which I again I think, unless you driven this car and experience what you can do and how it does it.
So it's important on what you do, but it's also important how you do it and how it feels along the way.
And unless you done that is very how to communicate it, your communicator.
[LAUGH] Right, right.
Let's go see how I'll fit in it now.
Whilst I'm getting comfortable, or as comfortable as a tall man can while seriously thinking about whether a second set of knees might be advisable, we thought we'd give you a bit of a musical interlude.
Because perhaps the least realistic thing about being in the sim is the sound.
So we thought we would just remind you about what that naturally aspirated V12 might actually sound in real life.
The spine-tingling is simply from Cosworth And not an inappropriate soundtrack for someone sitting in an F1 tub anyway first up put my laps in the reference card the best of the current crop.
It felt a little front end limited in terms of grip while dealing with the roll and subsequent yaw through the quicker corners was pretty tricky.
Nonetheless by the end I felt like I'd strung a decent fairly fast lap together.
Now it was time for the main event, the Valkyrie.
All right, this is weird.
For somebody of my height sitting in here in an F1 tub, it's very, very cool, but also slightly curious.
So, here we are
Press the ready button, okay, thank you very much indeed.
Toggle off and just pull away.
Now you got six gears, so paddle's on the back of the wheels.
Coming up towards the bus stop push the cane,
Second gear through here.
It is weird because you've got the wrap around screen so you really can look around you get your sight lines through the corners.
So drove a sort of a base setup road car that wasn't a Valkyrie to start with around here.
Just so you can get an idea of the performance.
And it's extraordinary just, well, how much faster a straight line this is.
And then also, the grip, but also the driveability.
I'm gonna concentrate through here.
So we're off on up through the ridge there onto the long straight up here and try and pick a late breaking point we're gonna break at 150 pounds.
Third gear it probably brakes even a little bit later through there, patient through here.
It's just say how drive full this feels, and it doesn't feel completely, way in sitting in a F1 tab with kind of performance that we've got here.
As you can see here, I'm saying plenty of half finished sentences as I concentrate very hard Possibly harder than if I was driving a car in real life, despite there being no danger if I crash in here.
That's because although the wraparound screen and the moving platform do a good job, it's still not an entirely natural feeling, and you have to learn rather than feel some of the limits.
It's worth saying, however, that I spun the other car much more than the Valkyrie.
The Aston felt far more stable and amazingly easier to drive.
The graphics in here aren't as beautiful or detailed as something like the latest Forza, but then I'm not judging this as a computer game, and the sim isn't designed as such.
The important thing for me is that I can immerse myself in the driving dynamics as much as possible, and try to get a sense of what the car can do.
So actually sitting in the simulator, I feel like I've got better.
I'm kind of,
Feeling my way around it.
You do just get lost in it.
The most difficult thing for me is probably judging the braking, because that's the most difficult things you get an idea of the g-forces and the loads you're putting in.
But you can feel just when you lock up.
Right, let's try and get this better.
Yeah on the throttle really early through there fifth gear on the exit pour it smoothly into here.
This is rather better than Gran Turismo 4 I have to say.
Wow so that was faster through that outside, it just takes it.
Whoa we don't break until the [UNKNOWN] is right at the last minute, and spun it.
There we go.
It was probably gonna be a good lap as well.
Just as well we can't show you a full lap.
If you're wondering why we didn't show you a full lap, well, it's because that was one of the stipulations put in place by Red Bull and Aston Martin.
They don't want their competitor to know just how fast the valkyrie going to be, even with me driving it, However they did give me 2 tense slicing snipped of information, I hit 210 mph at the end of the camel straight, 210 mph And even more extraordinary, I was 29 seconds faster around a single lap than I was in the virtual model of the current best.
By my calculations, that must be getting on LNP1 pace, and remember, that's on a road tire.
What's more, development isn't even finished yet, and there's a no-holds barred AMR version.
Well, that was a pretty extraordinary and very intense when I'm in sim in a couple of hours.
Half of an hour sim itself to get in use to the base model start with the valkyrie, and just trying to work out what's different and what's going on.
It's just a crazy experience really.
Things I can take away from it, well obviously, there was a big difference.
The thing I really liked was just how early you get on the throttle and just the grip [UNKNOWN] in those middle and end [UNKNOWN] high speed corners as well.
And the speed that you're coming into the corners, I was hitting 210 miles an hour Down at the end, an straight after [UNKNOWN] It's, the nice thing was that the car, actually, for me, and of course this may just be the way it's been set up in the simulator, and I don't know until I drive a physical real car, but the impressive thing was just how drivable it felt I was spinning it all the time, I'm not gonna pretend that was down to any particular skill on my part.
So yeah, it's tantalizing.
And now I really, really, really want to drive a [UNKNOWN] that's what I wanna do, of course unless I've been signed up, lovely for them to be Test driver for Red Bull.
For me to get used to, in terms of seeing cars [LAUGH]
Literally loud as all- [SOUND]
That must just literally be [UNKNOWN] somewhere at the moment.
[INAUDIBLE] It's [UNKNOWN]