ASTON Martin has confirmed it is planning to launch a mid-engine supercar inspired by, and positioned below, the forthcoming Valkyrie beyond-hypercar and aimed directly at Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini.
“Valkyrie is the start of a mid-engined dynasty, if you want to call it that,” Palmer said, “the reason we’re doing it is to create a halo car, but also to create DNA for a mid-engined sportscar range.”
Before we get too excited, this is an aspiration rather than a signed-off program, with Palmer telling Wheels that Aston would have to carry on hitting sales and revenue targets to unlock the funds necessary to take it to the engineering stage. But there’s no doubt that he wants to make it happen – and that, like the Valkyrie, Red Bull Racing will be involved in the development of any production version.
“The project is in the design studio right now, but the mandate for that car – or cars – is basically how do we ensure that it’s beautiful, how do you make function follow form rather than the other way around,” he told Wheels on the company’s stand at the Geneva Motor Show.
“It will need to be fantastic; it will have to compete with some bloody good rivals…. Doing Valkyrie starts to give us some ideas about what they should look like.”
Timescales are surprisingly close, presuming son-of-Valkyrie gets shown a green light, with a production version set to take its place behind the forthcoming DBX crossover in Aston’s action-packed model plan. That would suggest a launch around 2020.
Although it’s too soon to expect confirmation of powertrain, Palmer dropped some very broad hints the car would be built around a V12 engine, citing the Ferrari F12 when asked to nominate an obvious rival.
“You’ve got to build a brand carefully; we’re starting with a car between two and three million on price in the Valkyrie,” Palmer told us, “you build credibility by moving downwards one step at a time.”
There’s no doubting the car will be aimed squarely at the existing supercar elite, with Palmer giving a neat precis of his view of the rarefied marketplace Aston occupies.
“When I joined we looked at what high net worth individuals buy, there’s a huge variety, and to some extent the scale goes from practicality to emotion. So at one end you’ve got something like the Ferrari FXXK, which is pure emotion and zero practicality, and the other is the Porsche Cayenne, which reverses it.
“Historically Aston was clustered in the middle, and that’s why we’re broadening it. So we’ve still got the traditional models, the DB11 and then the new Vantage and Aston Martin Vanquish. But I want to go after the Cayenne and Bentayga with the DBX at one side, and on the other I want to make these pure emotional models.
“The Valkyrie has gone off the chart, but there’s room below it to create this grouping where we don’t play at all today.”
Given Aston’s enthusiasm for giving its brawnier models names starting with the letter “V”, and Palmer’s obvious enthusiasm for taking the fight to his enemies, we’ve even thought of a suggested name –the Aston Martin Vendetta.