Approximately three-and-a-half years have passed since British automaker Aston Martin revealed its AM-RB 003 concept during the 2019 Geneva Motor Show. Last summer we learned the initial details of the carbon-fiber-bodied production version, subsequently dubbed “Valhalla” and originally slated to begin arriving in customers’ garages in the second half of 2023. The company has now pushed that timeline into the second half of 2024 as it continues to finalize the mid-engine monster. In an exclusive chat with MotorTrend, product development director Carlo Della Casa revealed other updates to the car, which the company expects will deliver track-blitzing performance and daily drivability.

Power (and Other) Changes

When we last checked in on the 2024 Aston Martin Valhalla, Aston said its Mercedes-AMG-sourced 4.0-liter twin-turbo flat-plane-crank V-8 produced 740 hp. Combined with a 400-volt hybrid system featuring an electric motor on both axles, total combined peak output was an expected 937 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Impressive figures, certainly, but at least one of them just became better.

The ICE V-8 recently registered 812 hp during a dyno run, Della Casa said; combined with the electric motors, the powertrain now peaks at 1,012 hp. (There is no updated torque figure at this time.) Equally noteworthy, the company is investigating chassis revisions to perhaps accommodate dual front motors. Such an architecture would provide torque vectoring on the front axle, matching the same on the rear and improving handling. However, this tasty change remains undecided as development continues.

The gearbox is a bespoke eight-speed unit from well-known supercar supplier Graziano, and it will hold the distinction of being the first dual-clutch transmission installed in a production Aston Martin. Its software is being tuned in-house by Aston to, as Della Casa described, deliver the best driving experience when it comes to the “experience and connection between the between hybrid system, transmission, and engine.”

Inside the cockpit, the Valhalla will not feature a movable pedal box, as seen originally, with a fixed box taking its place. To compensate, the unmovable driver’s seat installed in show-stand versions of the car will be made to slide; Aston said this more conventional design is better suited to a production car and a wider range of driver sizes.

Weighing In

Along with the 2024 Aston Martin Valhalla’s increased power output, recent revisions to the car’s carbon-fiber monocoque will further improve its weight-to-power ratio. Just a month or so ago, Della Casa said, engineers were able to reduce the structure’s weight from 331 pounds to less than 220 pounds, a massive improvement. According to the development boss, the Valhalla’s targeted curb weight is about 3,640 pounds, a number that would make it about 200 pounds lighter than Ferrari’s SF90 Stradale hybrid. Again, that’s a massive advantage when it comes to driving dynamics.

Aero Update

Last year, Aston Martin said the Valhalla’s drag-reduction-system-equipped active aero package would deliver about 1,322 pounds of downforce at 150 mph. That’s a big number for any road-legal car, and Della Casa now projects it at more than 1,433 pounds. However, he was keen to point out the figure isn’t final as Aston continues to define the precise aero and performance characteristics it wants to achieve.

“It’s a number we are investigating; could be more, could be less depending on the last bits of design we are doing, particularly for the front,” he said.

All About the Driving Experience

On paper, the above bona fides make the Valhalla driving experience a “no s***, Sherlock” proposition in the context of outright performance, but Della Casa wanted to make it clear Aston Martin doesn’t intend for it to be a driver-punishing race car that just so happens to qualify for a license plate.

Despite the extreme powertrain output, big aero, a reclined-and-legs-flat, Formula 1-style driving position; minimalist interior; and pushrod front suspension with dampers mounted transversally inboard the chassis (the rear is a multilink setup, with two designs undergoing testing); Della Casa said the Valhalla represents “a new area in the market.”

“There are supersport cars or hypercars; we are pitching a new segment that is both, a middle way—and not as a compromise,” Della Casa said. “You can drive very comfortably but can immediately turn the car into a ‘race car’ by lowering [the adaptive suspension] and having [lots of] downforce. It’s a supercar with hypercar levels of performance. Drivers must really be engaged, even at low speed. You’ll immediately feel you’re driving something special; it’s going to be exciting at 40 or 60 mph. The performance and price are why it’s a new segment we are defining.”

Speaking of Price

One thing that hasn’t changed for the 2024 Aston Martin Valhalla is its starting price of “no less than $800,000.” Customers will begin ordering their cars beginning in 2023 ahead of those Q2 2024 deliveries, with production capped at 999 examples. Well, at least 999 roadgoing examples, that is.

Although Della Casa said no variants are in the works, Aston’s philosophy says owners should track this specific model. Additionally, the Valhalla is meant to “let our normal customers close the gap to a pro, more than the focus being to set the best time by a pro driver. Our customers, gentlemen drivers, they need to close that gap, and we think we are going to design a car that does that and lets them get very close to a pro driver.”

That sounds to us a lot like sports car racing …

“The opportunity given by a car like this is huge, immense,” added Renato Bisignani, Aston’s head of global marketing and communications. “At the moment we’re just focused on getting this car right, but there is definitely intention to look at a dedicated customer race program. Or it could evolve into a track-only program.

“There is internal interest in this approach,” he continued, “and we’re building that interest with new-to-the-brand-customers—and you can really only do this with a mid-engine car, [something] we haven’t done for the past 109 years.”

Meanwhile, as somewhat of a rarity in today’s limited-edition big-bucks automotive space, not all 999 Valhallas are sold. From what we’ve seen at this point, it’s fair to suspect this won’t be the case in the coming months once the final production specs are settled and demo drives begin.

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