Aston Martin Wants to Set a Renegade Nurburgring Lap Record With the Valkyrie06/20/2019
Less than a week ago, Aston Martin confirmed it would be taking its 1160-horsepower V-12 hybrid-powered Valkyrie hypercar racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021. It seems the Circuit de la Sarthe isn’t the only place where the British company will attempt a lap record: In an interview with Australia’s CarSales.com, CEO Andy Palmer confirmed the Valkyrie road car will go to the Nurburgring, as well as Silverstone and Spa, to set lap records—perhaps under some unconventional conditions.
“We already know it will be f**king quick there,” Palmer told Carsales.com. “I’m thinking maybe we’ll do something cool—like turning up to an open session, something crazy like that.”
Usually when a manufacturer wants to set a record at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, it rents out the full track, along with timing and safety crews. This gives manufacturers free reign of the track, but it can be extremely costly, and track rentals are in high demand during the months when the weather is good.
The open sessions Palmer refers to are the Ring’s “tourist” events, where anyone with a driver’s license and a road-legal vehicle can pay a fee to do a lap. Tourist sessions can involve heavy traffic, as throngs of drivers (of widely varying skill!) rush the track. And during tourist sessions, drivers can’t actually run a complete lap: They enter the track toward the end of its longest straightaway, past the start-finish line, and exit several hundred meters before the start-finish. Drivers are required to exit at the end of every lap, meaning it’s impossible to get a complete lap of the full course during tourist sessions.
So if the challenges are so steep, why bother? When asked if a Nurburgring lap time really matters, Palmer brought up an interesting point:
“I’d really love to say ‘no,’ in most cases a Nurburgring lap is not important,” he told CarSales.com. “However, in some markets, I’m thinking China strangely, a time around the Nurburgring is important to the prowess of a supercar.
“In reality we’re not developing it for that,” Palmer continued. “It’s not what it’s meant for but we’ll probably end up setting a time.”
Currently, the Nurburgring production lap record is held by the 770-horsepower Lamborghini Aventador SVJ with a time of 6:44.97. That car also has a mid-mounted V-12 engine, though it lacks hybrid assistance.
Palmer confirmed to CarSales.com that Aston Martin will take the Valkyrie to attempt to set production car lap records at Silverstone and Spa Francorchamps—both Formula 1 tracks.
“Silverstone and Spa are so far where all the development work on our Valkyrie simulators have been done,” Palmer told CarSales.com. “It’s amazing how fast you can take Eau Rouge —it’s not flat, but only needs a small lift, so far we’ve found that the biggest limitation has been the road tires.”
We can’t wait to see this car on the move.
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