Listen to the heart of Aston Martin's upcoming hypercar
The Aston Martin Valkyrie is one of the most eagerly anticipated road cars ever.
Designed by F1 genius Adrian Newey, it promises to be extraordinary.
But so far, hard facts have been a bit thin on the ground.
Now, however, we're here at Cosworth, to see and hear for the first time, one of the most crucial parts of the Valkyrie, its engine.
So here it is, in all its glory.
Six and half liters, 1000 brake horsepower at 10,500 RPM Naturally aspirated V12.
But as exciting as those numbers are, and as beautiful this is to look at, static, sleeping, that's not what we want.
We want to hear what it sounds like, so here it is.
Pretty extraordinary, I think you'll agree.
Fairly obviously from this unfiltered [UNKNOWN] revving over 2,000 rpm higher than a Ferrari H12 Super Fast, this is no normal road engine Engine.
It's not even a normal street car engine, whatever that might be.
So to get all the details about how this brand new V12 is being designed, we spoke to Bruce Wood, the managing director of Cosworth.
Let's start off the fact, this didn't actually start as a V12, cuz the first ones you tested were three cylinder.
Is that right?
That's right, absolutelly.
We know that to go from a blank screen to turning the first running engine was going to be of the order of 12 or 13 months.
And because of the sort of conflict of needing to meet emissions and needing to deliver such a high power-per-liter, we knew there was a very big challenge there.
What we did not want to do is wait 13 months to prove to ourselves that we'd met that challenge.
And so we took a 4-cylinder engine that we already had and we designed and manufactured a 3-cylinder cylinder head for that, which was an absolute replica of three cylinders of the Valkyrie design.
And we were able to get that up and running within about five months.
So from the start of the program, we had a three cylinder engine.
Which was an absolute quarter of the Valkyrie.
Because we have four catalysts.
So each catalyst serves three cylinders.
So by running a three cylinder engine, we were able to replicate every part of a genuine quarter of the finished article.
So say, within about five or six months of starting the program, we were able to say, yes.
We're gonna be able to deliver emissions And performance.
So that three cylinder delivered both 250 horsepower and the emissions passed effectively.
So that gave us a little bit of breathing space for the next seven months knowing that we wouldn't have to go back to the drawing board and fundamentally go back through all of our combustion simulation again.
Now, I believe, we'll get on to the carbon fiber on top in a minute and stuff.
But actually You're saying this is possibly the most complicated part of the whole engine.
Yes, because the engine is unique in the vehicle in being it's the only road car in the world with a fully structural engine.
So by fully structural, it's motor racing Formula One experience.
Essentially if you took this out, then- [CROSSTALK]
Exactly, take the engine out and there's nothing joining here, it just Flops down on the road, there's nothing joining the front and the rear if you take the engine out.
So [UNKNOWN] usually, not only does the engine structure and architecture have to sustain the internal loads generated by 12 explosions inside.
[LAUGH] But it has to take all of the vehicle loads.
And a vehicle like this with [UNKNOWN] at the helm Then aerodynamic loads will always gonna be enormous.
And so the arrow loads, if you imagine like trying to break the engine out of the car so they're putting these top mount is in compression, the bottom mount is in tension.
The gear box bolts rigidly on to the back of the engine.
All of the suspension load go into the gear box going to the engine.
So all of the cornering loads are trying to twist the engine of the back of the car It's a V12 so it's pretty long.
So ou have to take all of those loads from here into here.
And that was a really hard job.
The stiff part of the engine is always from the top of the top of cylinder head downwards.
Cause you've got quite a considerable [INAUDIBLE] in the cylinder head and then we get into the V and you've got this kinda torque tube which is a nice structure for stiffness.
But you've got to get those loads from here All the way into that stiff part.
And so design of this cam cover, which you might think would be a straightforward part in an engine, actually turned out to be a huge task.
And it's obviously something, the DFV all those years ago-
Yeah, the DFV pioneered that methodology of the engine being the structural part of the car.
Thing you said before, they obviously.
> They're all single seaters.
And this is-
That complicates it enormously, because we're very familiar with how to make a single stud or four stud structure work in a race car, but normally you'll just try to spend one pair of [UNKNOWN] narrower shoulders than mine.
In a [UNKNOWN] you're trying to span two occupants and so these engine mounts which have to align with the stiff part of the top so the engine mounts have to be fairly closely aligned with the edges of the top.
So that pushes these mounts way out from the stiff part of the engine.
I'll say that That was quite a challenge.
And you're saying there were other things you had to work around.
So there was some machining on the parts here.
Every part of the engine bay, if you like, is filled with a lot more than just the engine.
[LAUGH] So as you say, this is some proof machining there because the radiators comes up here.
An unnaturally overlap a lot of the so the head of clutch here.
Amazingly the torsion bar springs actually come up here and and run along this part of the center way and extend right to about here.
Every element of the packaging super tight going to right down under here diffusers are enormous.
The diffusers come right out here and tackle right in close.
This is a scavenge pump for the dry sump.
12 bays are scavenged, front covers scavenged, rear covers scavenged, cylinder heads are scavenged.
You need a lot of scavenged [UNKNOWN], but again, they have to be tucked right in close, right down as far as you can.
So kind of every part of the engine bay is occupied by something, and not always engine.
And there's something sort of missing from the front here that you might normally > expect to find moving around to the back.
I didn't know he was entirely happy about.
So the engine revs to just over eleven.
That determined that we needed a gear drive for [UNKNOWN].
So, to make a chain drive work at that speed, I wouldn't say it's impossible, but it would be highly risky.
A gear drive is a about a solution and all race engines are gear drive so we're very familiar with that.
But as the engine goes through, you know, speed range from idle up to 11,000 plus, it goes through many different resonances.
And so across the backlash of the gears, the gears are always rattling across those backlashes and that creates noise, it creates some [UNKNOWN] vibration Normally, you would choose to have the drives on the front of the engine because that gives you a fractionally shorter, a fractionally lighter engine, so that's the starting point.
Going back to what we're saying earlier about this being a structural element of the car, these four points are bolted rigidly into the back of a tub Well the back of the tub, imagine it's like a sort of skin of a drum, it's a large diaphragm.
By having the gear drive at the front here, all of that noise of rattling across the back lashes would've transmitted in the tub.
We did a lot of work with Southampton University and we used Studies and there was no question that putting the gears at the back was better for NVH.
You have this full length of the engine in which to dissipate some of that.
But it will certainly quiet a debate with Adrian and Aston's fact that it would be slightly longer and slightly heavier.
One of the [UNKNOWN] safety [UNKNOWN] this is beautiful art.
And he said that it has to be a beautiful engine.
It can't just be effective.
It's got to be lovely when you do eventually see it underneath the skin.
But As lovely as this is, Adrien Newry wasn't entirely happy with the way that this looked.
[LAUGH] Well certainly when we first discussed this, Adrien was slightly alarmed by the high polished finish.
And his first question was how much does that laquer weight?
From memory, the laquer weighed something like 80 grams.
And that was 80 grams too much.
So it's not going to be an option in the car, you can have your fully lacquered plenum, but you can have the option of a non-lacquered plenum to take the weight out.
And that's been the beauty of the whole thing.
Adrian I had a very purity of vision from the beginning and that's infectious, that purity of vision is what's driven the whole thing to be what it is.
I think we talking earlier about the weight of the engine, the weight target was.
Target was 200 kilograms.
And we've ended up a couple of kilograms over that.
But by setting that 200 kilograms, if we had've said 210, which would have been a lot easier, we would have been at 210.
By setting 200 > we've ended up just a couple of kilos over than that, and that's how the whole program has worked.
We set targets which are a little bit beyond what we think we can actually deliver.
It's that target setting and that kind of purity of purpose that will go down in history as one of the great iconic engines in cars.
But this is obviously, it's not just a pretty piece sitting on top.
So the plenum obviously has to contain all of the sort of dynamic movements from the pressure wave up and down the plenum.
So if you imagine you've got 12 trumpets in there sucking air, one fraction of a second.
And then with the valve overlap, you've got a pressure wave coming back up that trumpet.
So with the 12 cylinders, you end up with a very high amplitude pressure wave moving up and down the plenum.
And it's important to synchronize a pressure wave moving towards a trumpet at the time the trumpet is breathing in rather than the time it's breathing out.
So there's a lot of engineering going into the shape, in the interior shape particularly to get the pressure wave in the right place during the right cycle.
But then also the load's on the [INAUDIBLE] it's not just a thin [SOUND] it's not just a thin shell containing air.
This is several skins of carbon.
The construction is really just like a race car, several skins of carbon and then aluminium honeycomb and then more skins of carbon on the inside.
Because it's ast considerable peak pressures having to be contained within that Structure.
Taliking about, what materials are we looking at here in terms of the engines as a whole?
We purposely didn't choose anything like space age, that doesn't have that data in place yet for how or what that material will behaving in 50 years time.
So we've relatvely conventional materials, but kind of the cutting edge of those materials.
So the cylinder head, for example, cast aluminum alloy, but it uses an aerospace alloy, which has a fatigue life better than a conventional casting alloy.
But now, it isn't even used typically in motorsport.
It's very hard to cast, it's very expensive.
This is one of the few.
Few engines in the world where you could sensibly use it.
And then entirely, presumably still titanium and that sort of thing inside.
Yes, it's titanium rods and titanium valves.
In the motor racing world, for an engine delivering these sort of performance figures, you would use leaded bearings.
But, of course, in the road game automotive space, you're not allowed to use leaded bearing shells.
So we have bearing shells with a polimar overlay.
Which, again, that's at the very cutting edge of what polymer overlay bearings can do because the load is too high for a conventional aluminum bearing.
So we've gone for the polymer overlay bearings.
And now that's what brings us on to the testing where we're standing.
[UNKNOWN] where we are standing.
So we're in one of three test cells, test cell nine that we've used for this program.
We've been running for about a year.
We've been running on three cells.
One of them has been doing calibration for the mission's calibration.
One has been doing performance development.
And the other's been doing durability running.
So kind of setting out into this program, it's absolute flagship car for us to model.
It's not a track day special.
And so every part of that has to be a Proper, for want of a better description, road car.
You have to be able to get in it and punch the button and drive it to the shops if you want to.
You have to be able to get in it and drive to Monaco if you want to.
So it had to be tested in that proper, if you like, real world durability.
And the target we set ourselves was 100,000 kilometers, cuz you gotta prove that, and this is where we prove it, on the [UNKNOWN] ourselves.
[SOUND] So the endurance test for the engine is 220 hours, and that 220 hours, we've done lots of simulation to say that the duty cycle in the 220 hours simulates 100,000 kilometers of probable real world road Use.
The [UNKNOWN] testing is partly sourced in [UNKNOWN], partly [UNKNOWN], partly very high duty road testing.
But then also [UNKNOWN] motorway at 70 miles an hour because actually.
That's where resonance [CROSSTALK].
We were talking earlier about the resonances that go through the gear train.
You can't push all of those resident's outside of the rev range.
You have to make sure they're therefore in a part of the rev range where you're not going to be sitting continuously.
That full test.
And that was the second one.
And when you just hear it running for 20 or 30 seconds to think that it's done 220 hours of that.
[UNKNOWN] piston speeds of Piston speeds about 25 26 meters per second which is absolutely Formula One speeds.
In terms of usability is where you were saying the clutch is obviously, I know the end sort of the engine, but the flywheel as well.
Yeah it's got to be every day usable and if you're sitting in traffic, and I'm sure we've all seen it and and you've probably experienced it.
In the car [LAUGH] You could end up in that sort of kangaroo hoping.
Because a carbot clutch would have been the easiest solution, but-
Exactly, so we actually shyed away from that, ansd so it's very important to the smallest, lightest clutch we could, and the lowest in hersher because that's
It's very important for the crank dynamics.
Obvious solution would be a common carbon clutch.
Carbon common clutches are notoriously sort of a light switch, on and off.
And again it's very important that that didn't happen, that you could actually sit in traffic and you could pull away cleanly.
So we ended up using a centered clutch Which has been a more painful engineering solution because it's certainly bigger and higher that initial.
But it will give a better driving experience.
I'm sure this is part of a hybrid system we see where it's all gonna be attached to this eventually we'll get to the details that next year.
The hybrid part of it was integral part of the the design from the beginning electric motors of course are fantastic devices because the full torque from stationary basically.
And so, certainly the way the vehicle drives, the way it pulls away is dramatically assisted by the electrification element.
Because you have, a [UNKNOWN] engine going from 1,000 RPM to 11,000 Of a huge rev range spread.
And so the electrification element is critically important in the way the vehicle's gonna drive and the way it's gonna feel.
Thank you so much,
That has been fantastic getting all the details of this.
I can't wait to hear it out on the road.
Yeah, me too, it's gonna be a thrill to see it in
Then hear it on the remote.
Okay, thank you.
So there we are.
The incredible, the beautiful V12 for the Valkerie.
All those numbers, all those details They're just so, so cool.
But the one thing that's really gonna live with me is the sound, hearing it on that [UNKNOWN].
Those cells are meant to be soundproof, only things like F1 engines, or [UNKNOWN] engines can be heard outwith them.
[SOUND] And that, that engine, revving to 11,000
[UNKNOWN] We're gonna find out all sorts of other technical details over the next weeks, months.
The arrow, the suspension, the hybrid system.
But for now, what I'm really pleased about is that that engine, the heart of the car, passes the crucial test.
Makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
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